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The UC Santa Barbara community unites in response to COVID-19

As UC Santa Barbara continues the important work of education and research during COVID-19, your partnership is a significant force in our success.

UC Santa Barbara’s supportive culture and recognized excellence propel creative energy and community impact. In this moment, fundraising to mitigate the effect of COVID-19 on our community and the world is our highest priority. Private support is key to moving forward.

Together with our alumni and supporters, UC Santa Barbara can protect our community and pursue solutions. Please join our philanthropic effort to keep our community healthy and strong. #UCSBTogether

Give Now to UCSB's COVID-19 Response

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Support Research and Testing

Our faculty join colleagues across the UC system on more than 300 research initiatives designed to combat the pandemic. UC Santa Barbara experts are studying coronavirus mutations, infection prevention, community mobilization, the impact on world economic markets, and the practice of digital education. Here, the world’s greatest minds join together to develop solutions to our most daunting challenges. Your support enhances this effort.

Support for COVID-19 research includes but is not limited to:

  • Medical equipment enhancement
  • Research on the Identification of COVID-19 on surfaces
  • Research Tracking the Spread using Big Data and computer science
  • Virology research
  • COVID-19 testing research
  • Other new COVID-19 related research

Give Now to UCSB's COVID-19 Response

students stydying in the library

Protect Students’ Health and Education

While the world faces new challenges, our mandate remains unchanged: to provide a world-class education. By meeting basic needs, we help undergraduate and graduate students advance on the path to graduation. Our students rely on UC Santa Barbara for far more than an education. 

Your support will help provide both undergraduates and graduate students:

  • Financial assistance, supporting grants for new educational and emergency needs, as well as scholarships, fellowships, internships, and awards
  • Educational resource assistance, supporting technology needs for remote learning, learning assistance and tutoring, CLAS
  • Housing and food security, including housing vouchers, transitional housing and meal plan scholarships
  • Health and wellness resources, including COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, safety trainings, protective gear and equipment and counseling for the campus community

Give Now to UCSB's COVID-19 Response

How Gauchos Stay #UCSBTogether

UC Santa Barbara Lights the Way

Campus news and information on how faculty, staff, and students are making an impact

A screenshot of a Zoom meetin with 12 squares of participants.

Undaunted by COVID, Physics Circus beefs up its interactive learning experience for school-aged children

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, teachers everywhere found themselves dealing with the challenge of reaching students in spite of the lockdowns and social distancing rules that abruptly split classrooms apart.

Such was the case for the volunteers behind Physics Circus,(link is external) an interactive science outreach program offered to school-aged children by the university’s Department of Physics.

Sunlight shining through a tree.

Researchers urge a closer examination of sunlight’s efficacy in inactivating the SARS-CoV-2 virus

In a letter in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, a team of researchers from UC Santa Barbara, Oregon State University, University of Manchester and ETH Zurich examines another of SARS-CoV-2’s well known characteristics — its vulnerability to sunlight. Their conclusion? It might take more than UV-B rays to explain sunlight inactivation of SARS-CoV-2.

A COVID-19 virus.

UC Santa Barbara, Cottage Health roll out COVID-19 variant surveillance collaboration

In an effort to get ahead of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and its variants in Santa Barbara County, UC Santa Barbara and Cottage Health have launched parallel, collaborative COVID-19 virus variant surveillance projects.

A person wearing a mask with a bandaid on their arm from a vaccination.

Online discussion with campus experts explores the science behind the COVID-19 vaccines and other interventions

The arrival and rollout of the first COVID-19 vaccines has sparked numerous questions about how they work and about their safety and efficacy. In an hourlong virtual discussion and Q&A session, a panel of UC Santa Barbara scientists shared their expertise regarding the vaccines and other, non-pharmaceutical interventions that help mitigate the spread of SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

A happy dog with its tongue hanging out.

Dogs’ highly evolved noses can rapidly detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus

For some 15,000 years, dogs have been our hunting partners, workmates, helpers and companions. Could they also be our next allies in the fight against COVID-19?

Read a COVID-19 shot in the arm.

Medical and microbiology experts discuss the science behind the current COVID-19 vaccines

The Current spoke with Dr. Scott Grafton, M.D., UC Santa Barbara’s COVID-19 coordinator and a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences, and Chuck Samuel, the Charles A. Storke Professor and Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, about how the vaccines work, how effective they are and how scientists were able to make them available so quickly.

Read Rounding the Corner.

The Economic Forecast Project updates the community on the state of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout

The emergency use authorizations granted last month to Pfizer and Moderna for their COVID-19 vaccines by the Food and Drug Administration pave the way toward Santa Barbara County’s economic recovery, according to UC Santa Barbara economics professor Peter Rupert.

A COVID-19 testing swab.

With the addition of the campus’s new CLIA-certified lab, the COVID surveillance testing team is running 4,000 tests per week

COVID-19 is fast. To beat it, we must be faster. That’s why UC Santa Barbara has established its own CLIA-certified laboratory, enabling the speedy clinical-level testing and medical diagnosis needed to help stem the pandemic tide.

A COVID-19 virus illustration.

Researchers uncover evidence that UV radiation from sunlight reduces COVID-19 transmission

Scientists, policymakers and healthcare workers are eager to discern to what extent COVID-19 may be seasonal. Understanding this aspect of the disease could guide our response to the pandemic.

California COVID Notify.

Campus to participate in smartphone exposure notification system pilot program aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19

Beginning Monday, Nov. 16, UC Santa Barbara will become one of five campuses to join California COVID Notify, a pilot program of a smartphone-based COVID-19 exposure notification system. The program is a collaboration between UC and the State of California to assess use of the technology on a voluntary basis as a means of reducing the spread of the virus.

A UCSB physics lab with instruments set up with remote controls.

Faculty and staff in the physics department configure a sophomore lab course to work via remote control

For many of us work has gone digital, meetings virtual and Zoom is the way du jour. Yet, with schools and universities transitioning to distance learning, some classes are tricky to convert.

Two women wearing masks greating eachother by bumping elbows.

Graduate Division to host symposium on student research projects on COVID-19 and its impacts

When the Graduate Division launched its Multidisciplinary Research on COVID-19 and its Impacts (MRCI) Program in June, the idea was straightforward: provide $2,000 mini-grants to an individual or team project that explores, analyzes and responds to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A dollar bill with Benjamin Franklin wearing a medical face mask and surroiunded by COVID-19 virus.

Economic Forecast Project webinar examines the COVID-19 pandemic’s ongoing impacts to housing, jobs, and small business

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak setbacks upon us that have far-reaching consequences. As we work to adjust to the new, socially distanced normal, we’re faced with “trickle-down” effects that expose vulnerabilities in our local socioeconomics.

a COVID-19 virus in a droplet.

Researchers model the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in various temperatures and relative humidities in typical indoor situations

UC Santa Barbara researchers Yanying Zhu and Lei Zhao hope to arm people with better knowledge of how SARS-CoV-2 spreads as the seasons change. Their new study investigates the secret of this virus’s unusual success: its transmissibility, or how it manages to get from host to host. The dominant mode, it turns out, changes according to environmental conditions.

A person sitting in front of a computer doing remote learning.

Reimagining Instruction for the Student Experience, a recent seminar for faculty, sets the stage for a robust and rigorous fall quarter of distance learning

Remote instruction, by very definition, is not the same as in-person coursework. But can it be just as challenging and engaging as face-to-face education? Affirmative, say many faculty at UC Santa Barbara, where fall courses, which begin next week, will be conducted via distance learning amidst the continuing pandemic.

a syringe being filled with a vaccine.

Researchers uncover early results about an existing tuberculosis vaccine that has been hypothesized to help against the coronavirus

While scientists race to develop and test a vaccine effective against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, recent studies have indicated that countries with widespread BCG vaccination appear to be weathering the pandemic better than their counterparts. This has led many researchers to suspect that BCG vaccine, which immunizes against tuberculosis, might offer protection against COVID-19.

a table with many blue pawns representing the general public with the occasional red pawn representing an asymptomatic carrier of COVIS-19.

Surveillance study reveals how COVID-19 can travel silently through a community via asymptomatic carriers

In July, after weeks of steady but relatively slow increases in COVID-19 infection rates in Santa Barbara County, the number of cases per day began a steep climb, setting records with alarming frequency. By month’s end, the cumulative number of new cases had about doubled.

UC Santa Barbara researchers detected early signs of that surge, and in a population where the SARS-CoV-2 virus is largely invisible, but still potent: asymptomatic carriers.

A window being opened.

Mathematicians describe the interplay between COVID transmission and air circulation

Most COVID guidelines have stressed the 6-foot physical distancing rule, with the idea being that the virus spreads through large droplets produced when we talk, cough or sneeze. Relatively heavy, these droplets tend to fall to the ground before they travel more than a few feet.

More recent evidence suggests that the virus also travels in smaller droplets and aerosols, which can linger in the air for hours.

A woman with headphones on at her home office in a video conference.

Embracing remote research can benefit postdocs and their research teams

As the uncertainty around reopening college and university campuses this fall continues, those who work, study, teach and conduct research are navigating the uncertain terrain of the “new normal.” They are balancing physical distancing and other COVID-19 prevention practices with productivity, creating home workspaces and mastering communications and teamwork across time and space.

A mailman wearing a surgical mask pushing his mail delivery cart.

Researchers to study pandemic’s impact on the underserved in second project of Pahl Initiative on the Study of Critical Social Issues

By nearly every measure, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a disproportionate toll on the disadvantaged. How this disparity might be addressed will be the focus of new research at UC Santa Barbara through the Pahl Initiative on the Study of Critical Social Issues in the Division of Social Sciences.

Illustration of coronavirus outbreaks across the United States.

Project provides a deep learning tool to forecast COVID-19 trends by community

A pair of researchers in UC Santa Barbara’s College of Engineering, Xifeng Yan and Yu-Xiang Wang, have developed a novel forecasting model, inspired by artificial intelligence (AI) techniques, to provide timely information at a more localized level that officials and anyone in the public can use in their decision-making processes.

Colorful branches lit up by LED lights.

Materials scientists work on the semiconductors that could transform how we disinfect surfaces, spaces, personal protective equipment — even the air we breath

As cases of COVID-19 spiked wherever large groups breathed recirculated air in closed spaces, such as ships, hospitals, churches and prisons, it became ever clearer that solutions are needed to disinfect masks for reuse, as well as to decontaminate shared surfaces and spaces and neutralize the virus in recirculated air.

a technician holding a testing swab and vial.

Researchers and medical staff collaborate to detect asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 on campus

In an effort to study the potential spread of COVID-19 among its students, faculty and staff, UC Santa Barbara is piloting a research surveillance testing program, with a focus on members of the campus community who are asymptomatic for the novel coronavirus.

a map showing areas of virus outbreak.

Researchers receive funding to improve COVID-19 models

As COVID-19 shutters cities and towns across the world, people aren’t behaving like epidemiologists are used to, and the models scientists would typically employ to predict the disease’s spread need to be revamped.

a pipette dropping liquid into test tubes.

Scientists develop a faster, less expensive COVID-19 test that can be deployed in the field

Max Wilson, along with colleagues Kenneth S. Kosik, Diego Acosta-Alvear and Carolina Arias have developed a CRISPR-based test that promises to be just as sensitive as conventional tests, but also faster and deployable in the field.

A mother and dayghter separated by a window.

Seminar series examines the COVID-19 crisis from multiple perspectives

A continuing weekly seminar series, “Issues, Approaches, and Consequences of the COVID-19 Crisis,” brings together experts from UC Santa Barbara and Cottage Health System to examine varied and various topics related to the virus’s effect on our lives.

Lillian Hannahs, a cutter and draper in Theater and Dance, sews masks for health care workers.

Department of Theater and Dance staff use lockdown time to make masks for health care workers

In ordinary times, the behind-the-scenes team in UC Santa Barbara’s Department of Theater and Dance specializes in bringing art to life. Nowadays, the deft fingers of the costume staff are working their magic for people on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic: They’re sewing masks for health care workers.

an image of a coronavirus

Ultraviolet LEDs prove effective in eliminating coronavirus from surfaces and, potentially, air and water

As COVID-19 continues to ravage global populations, the world is singularly focused on finding ways to battle the novel coronavirus. That includes UC Santa Barbara’s Solid State Lighting & Energy Electronics Center (SSLEEC) and member companies. Researchers there are developing ultraviolet LEDs that have the ability to decontaminate surfaces — and potentially air and water — that have come in contact with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

a graph with the COVID-19 virus as the background

Computer science student builds a website to track the epidemiology of COVID-19

While sheltering at home this spring quarter, one enterprising undergraduate is using the skills he’s learning at UC Santa Barbara to make sense of the pandemic sweeping the globe. Second-year computer science major Eran Naveh has put together a website that tracks cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., allowing users to compare how the disease is impacting different states.

Holly Roose meets with Promise Scholar Ramón Ríos to make a weekly study plan

A tumultuous path to higher education inspires Promise Scholar program director’s mentorship of more than 500 students

Holly Roose knows what it’s like to persevere through personal setbacks in pursuit of education — her own journey took her from high school dropout to Ph.D., to director of UC Santa Barbara’s Promise Scholars program.

Now, even in the face of a global pandemic, she has not stopped her work mentoring those scholars — more than 500 of them.

a bottle of reagent

Scientists provide essential COVID-19 testing supplies to Cottage Health System

In support of efforts to battle the COVID-19 pandemic locally, UC Santa Barbara researchers have donated essential supplies to Cottage Health System, to aid with testing for the novel coronavirus.

Professors Max Wilson, Carolina Arias, Kenneth Kosik and Diego Acosta-Alvear, all from the university’s Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, have donated 600 “reactions” to Cottage Hospital to help the medical facility cope with the fast-spreading virus in the community.

Parts for a face mask on a 3D printer.

Researchers begin 3D-printing protective gear to aid local medical facilities

The university’s California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI) has begun 3D-printing face shields to augment other protective equipment worn by health professionals. They join a growing trend of scientists and engineers who have sidelined their own work in favor of supporting the community through this crisis.