There are many heroes

Knox reached out to some of our graduates who are working in the healthcare industry for their perspectives on the COVID-19 pandemic.

From Patrick Dooley ’11, laboratory supervisor, Massachusetts General Hospital’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, Boston.

I help with the final signout of clinical neurodegenerative cases both histologically and neuropathologically, while also facilitating researchers with their neurodegenerative disease research by dissecting frozen, formalin-fixed, and fresh tissues. I also supervise the maintenance, implementation, and transfer of our current databases, assist with data analysis and lab publications, and keep track of over 2400 frozen and fixed brains donated to our institution.

The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed my role at work, from working 90 percent in a wetlab to working 100 percent from home on database management, data reconciliation, and analysis.

The pandemic has hit research facilities incredibly hard, especially those with time-sensitive experiments such as animal models, ex vivo cell models, and animal behavioral studies. This will have a large impact on research facilities moving forward, especially those like Alzheimer’s Disease Centers, that rely on postmortem tissue donations. Because of the shortage of both personal protective equipment (PPE) and COVID-19 tests, we have not accepted any new specimens due to a lack of testing postmortem individuals.

While medical workers are indeed essential and heroes, we should take this unprecedented event to look at retail workers, grounds workers, sanitation workers, etc., and realize that they are just as essential and just as heroic.

I’m looking forward to enjoying more outdoors time, and the efforts that will help us deal with the world post-pandemic.