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Biology Alumna Marisa Dunigan ’15 Presents COVID-19 Research

Dunigan, a Research Supervisor of Integrated Genomics Operation at Memorial Sloan Kettering, spoke to a packed ‘Zoom room’ about her work developing coronavirus antibody tests.

Dunigan gave a broad biological overview of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and debunked myths regarding its origin, explained its infectivity, and educated the students on how the human immune system reacts to viral infection. Later in the discussion, Dunigan explained the work she and her team have taken on at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center with regard to COVID-19, including their efforts to create an antibody test and the development of a COVID-19 testing process for the hospital community.

This event was organized by the Science Society student club and was sponsored by the 2020 Co-Curricular Program Fund.

“I thought the presentation and discussion were incredibly informative and relieving, seeing as many people are getting tested for the virus,” explains Science Society President Jordan Barnett ’21, a double major in Biomedical Sciences and Psychology, who organized the event. “I believe the students, faculty, and staff who attended enjoyed learning about something that is affecting all of us. All in all, I am honored that Marisa was willing to share her expertise on the research surrounding the coronavirus and that the event was able to happen in a safe and healthy manner.”

Dunigan graduated from MMC in 2015 with a B.S. in Biology and minor in Chemistry. She is now the Research Supervisor of the Sample and Project Management team in the Integrated Genomics Operation at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan. Her team manages genomics projects for the basic and translational research communities. They also handle the accessioning of samples into the lab as well as the initial quality control measures prior to downstream processing.

“Marisa crafted an extraordinarily lucid and all-encompassing explanation of the virus for our students,” says Alessandra Leri, Professor of Chemistry in MMC’s Department of Natural Sciences. “We could not be prouder to call her our alumna!”

Published: November 30, 2020