Dr. Daiyuan ("Daisy") Zhang, Del Mar College, adapted to her college's lockdown by planning projects her students could do online. Her webinar describes three projects her students complete that are related to SARS-CoV-2.
1. In the first project, students go to the NCBI Virus Lab, find the reference sequence for SAS-CoV-2 and use it as a query in a nucleotide BLAST search to investigate where the virus came from and look at mutations.
Students use primer-blast to design and evaluate primers for PCR.
2. In the second project, students investigate the question of whether ACE2 polymorphisms affect the phenotype of infection. The SARS-CoV-2 virus infects cells by binding to the ACE2 protein, located on the outside of certain cells. Are genetic variants of the ACE2 protein related to the severity of the disease (COVID-19)?
3. The last project is focused on experimental design. Students research the tools they would need to make an anti-SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. They research potential vectors and host cells, learn how to engineer the vectors and introduce the virus into the host, learn how to grow the host cells, and research tools for scaling up protein production.