2020: The Year of the Scientist

2020 was the year of the scientist. In a culture where we primarily celebrate the accomplishments of artists or the affluent, this year we celebrated the accomplishments, knowledge and capabilities of scientists and, in a sense, science.

It is always fun to be working on research that is topical to the well-being of humankind. This year more than any Lovelace Biomedical has played an important part by participating in the world’s response to COVID-19. Implementing our combined expertise in aerosol drug delivery and infectious diseases, our staff and collaborators rapidly became a leading laboratory in the evaluation and development of new therapeutics to help fight the virus. In record time, the laboratory and collaborators have built suitable animal models and stood up trained staff to perform studies that showed the benefit of new therapies that are currently being used on humans to help fight the disease. It was a team effort, and one we remain in the midst of. Our team has helped to advance drugs from many of the leading companies that are fighting this disease; including antiviral medications, antibodies, vaccines and more. We will continue this fight as we move into the next year, and continue to be a part of the world’s ability to response to current and future infectious diseases.

It’s important to recognize not just the scientific leaders and companies that have received appropriate recognition for the work that they have done, but also the technical support staff and ‘feet on the ground’ that have and continue to meet the challenges of our nation and world. Those of us at Lovelace Biomedical have been as much a part of this year as any, and the staff should be proud of their accomplishments.   First of all, they showed up for work. They were an important part of the mobilization of efforts to help fight the pandemic; which includes both working directly on studies to help identify and advance new drugs for SARS-CoV-2 as well as working to ensure that other important scientific programs kept the rest of the science going; and kept the lights on.

Working conditions at Lovelace have been interesting, and I would say that our staff rose to the occasion to define and implement the proper way to work within a pandemic from the beginning. Whether it was sanitation, safety, PPE management, employee compliance with safety rules, diagnostic screening and the tireless work of human resources to monitor and inform. Of course, we remain in the middle of a very complex situation that won’t get any easier any time soon. Please continue to be exemplars of business continuity, both for the nation and for the important clients that work to advance medications for not only COVID-19 but also other important diseases that have not gone away.

Jake McDonald, Lovelace Biomedical