Research and Projects

Projects that contribute to a better understanding of the pandemic among researchers and decision-makers and that develop tools to advance pandemic research.

Original Research Contributions

COVID-19 and combined sewer overflow events in the Merrimack River Valley (Mentor: Dr. Ann Aschengrau): Testing the hypothesis that CSO events are associated with an increased incidence of COVID-19 infections in communities in the Merrimack River Valley.

COVID-19 and Blood Type (Yuqing Bai, Zhou Yan, Mentors: Dr. Ellie Murray, Dr. Michelle Caunca): This project critically evaluated the existing research into whether there are associations between ABO blood type and COVID-19 incidence and mortality, to support the use of ABO blood type as a marker for COVID risk or severity. The pre-print is being updated as new research is published. 

COVID-19 and Medication Adherence (Mentor: Dr. Ellie Murray): This project sought to describe the level of adherence in COVID RCTs, assess whether appropriate adjustments for non-adherence have been made, and provide support to trial teams who want to adjust for non-adherence. However, after reviewing over 50 trials, the project has been paused due to a nearly complete lack of information about intervention adherence in the COVID RCT literature.

COVID-19 and US mortality (Dielle Lundberg, Jacob Bor, Mentor: Dr. Andrew Stokes) An investigation of excess deaths compared with what would be expected in the absence of the Covid-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 and Pregnancy:

  • Exploring the relationship between COVID-19 infection and cardiovascular risk factors and outcomes among pregnant women (Mentor: Dr. Samantha Parker Kelleher)
  • Studying COVID-19 among pregnant women through the Boston University Pregnancy Study Online (PRESTO) (Mentors: Dr. Elizabeth Hatch, Dr. Amelia Wesselink, Dr. Lauren Wise)

Personal Protection and Transmission:

  • Mask usage:
    • Collecting data on face mask usage in Massachusetts and modeling the impact of face mask use on COVID transmission, accounting for heterogeneity in mask type, quality, adherence, etc (Mentor: Dr Ellie Murray)
    • Publishing research about the relationship between mask usage and time-lagged COVID incidence rates throughout the United States
  • Personal protection policies matter, but are they enough? (Mentor: Dr. Martha Werler) Quantitative analysis of the effect of adherence levels on personal protective policies at the state level.

Information and Misinformation

  • Media Content Analysis (Conor Nistler & Mohannad Salaghur; Mentor: Lynsie Ranker) As part of an interdisciplinary team led by Dr. Lei Guo (Assistant Professor, Emerging Media Sciences), students from the Corps are helping to examine news coverage of COVID-19 including the topics and the framing of the topics/issues in news coverage of the pandemic. Specifically, Corps students are assisting with qualitative coding to better inform the computer algorithms used in the machine learning content analysis. Future directions include evaluating changes in topic coverage and issue framing during the course of the first COVID-19 wave in the United States during Spring 2020.
  • Twitter & Misinformation: (Mentor: Dr. Ellie Murray) Evaluating the relationship between the emotional content of tweets, their viral spread, and the factual content of the tweets.

Resources for Researchers

COVID-19 & Dementia: Revelations on risk of mortality and the infrastructure for gauging it (Dr. Jennifer Weuve, Cami Cameron): This presentation, for the 2021 meeting of the Society for Epidemiologic Research, outlined the risks of COVID-19, and the social response to it, borne by persons with dementia.

Disability and Long Covid Database (Mentor: Dr Eric Rubenstein): The database will update with brief synopsis and analysis of the newest scientific research on two emerging areas vital for public health COVID research.

Typology of COVID-19 Data Visualization (Mentor: Amanda Buenz Makulec): This project collects commonly used examples of data visualizations from data journalism and consumer-facing COVID reporting portals to develop a typology and timeline of COVID-19 charts.

Visualizing State Policy Responses to COVID-19 (Sarah Lincoln, Leona M. Ofei, Hana Do, Caredwen Foley; Mentor: Dr. Ellie Murray): This data visualization includes information about state-level policies regarding the closures and openings across industries. (This resource is no longer being updated as of March, 2021.)