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With more questions than answers currently circulating about the current global pandemic of the COVID-19 virus, Dr. Bruce Smith of Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine discusses zoonotic diseases, their origins and how humans can better deal with them.


The purpose of vaccination is to stimulate the immune response to prevent a disease. A person who is rendered resistant to a disease by vaccination is termed “actively immunized.” Active immunity may also result from recovery from a natural outbreak of a disease. Immunity transferred from plasma from a donor, which contains antibodies from a prior infection or vaccination is referred to as “passive immunity.” This type of immunity is immediate, but only temporary and is used mainly for treatment of hospitalized individuals. Various laboratories are also developing synthetic antibodies called “monoclonal antibodies” in cell cultures, which can be mass-produced for treatment of seriously ill patients.


The rise of quantum information processing has the potential to vastly improve communication security by offering next-generation encryption technology. On Monday, June 15, a team of Chinese researchers published the latest results of their work in this area, highlighting how they used quantum physics to send a “key” to encrypt and decrypt messages from one ground station to another about 700 miles away through a satellite. This technique is known as quantum key distribution, or QKD. Mark Adams, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering in Auburn’s Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, is a researcher in the Alabama Micro/Nano Science and Technology Center, who works in the area of quantum information processing, including QKD. Adams explains how QKD works and highlights Auburn’s role in advancing this technology.


Melissa Pangelinan, an assistant professor in Auburn University’s School of Kinesiology, is the director of the Pediatric Movement and Physical Activity Lab. The lab uses state-of-the-art brain and body imaging, as well as neurocognitive and movement assessments, to better understand how movement ability and physical activity participation affect brain and motor development in children, adolescents and adults with and without developmental disabilities. The goal of her research is to develop age-appropriate interventions that will promote motor competence and physical activity participation, which will in turn impact the long-term development of brain and physical health in those with and without movement difficulties.


June is National Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat Month and is a great time to consider adding a feline friend to the household. Dr. Diane Delmain of Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine says cats are delightful, playful companions that can provide years of loving friendship, but there are several things to consider when finding the right cat.


The COVID-19 pandemic has caused breaks in the food supply chain, resulting in shortages of products, like beef and pork, or even elevated prices of meats in some areas. Between scarcity and rising prices, Americans may be considering a change in their food consumption. Mike Greene, an associate professor in the Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Hospitality Management in Auburn’s College of Human Sciences, has conducted extensive research on the Mediterranean diet, a more plant-based food plan. He even created a Mediterranean diet tour of Italy and Greece, giving students an immersive study abroad experience at the source of the diet trend. Greene explains why it could be beneficial for Americans to rethink the foods they currently eat.


The African-American community has been hit harder by the COVID-19 pandemic than other populations. Onikia Brown, associate professor and registered dietitian in Auburn’s College of Human Sciences, shares the health and environmental factors that drive those disproportionate results.


The COVID-19 pandemic upended the fashion industry and temporarily closed retailers and manufacturers worldwide. Consumers had to turn to online retail, but even then, quantities were sometimes limited and deliveries were delayed. Pamela Ulrich, Under Armour Professor and head of the Department of Consumer and Design Sciences in Auburn’s College of Human Sciences, explains the impact and where the industry goes from here.


The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in transformative changes throughout society, including how people view social status, which professions are considered crucial and how wealth is valued. Auburn Assistant Professor of Social Work Anthony Campbell says he expects some social and perceptual shifts to be temporary, while permanent changes could include how we involve the use of technology for communication, education and health care. Campbell, who earned his doctorate from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, discusses the pandemic’s effects on the nation from a variety of perspectives.


It is axiomatic that decisions relating to opening up the economy and relaxation of mitigations in the current COVID-19 era and assessing the effectiveness of preventive measures should be based on real-time evaluation of the incidence rate of the infection. By definition, incidence is the number of new cases in a population identified within a specific time period.


The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the U.S. food system, leading to a rise in food insecurity rates and increasing the demand at food banks and food pantries nationwide to feed more people than ever. Food insecurity occurs when a household has difficulty providing enough food due to a lack of resources. Alicia Powers, managing director of Auburn University’s Hunger Solutions Institute in the College of Human Sciences, explains how the pandemic will continue to affect food insecurity rates and offers resources to those in need, including a new initiative to be launched by End Child Hunger in Alabama this month.