Since Purdue went online in response to the recent outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, some labs have seen research suspended, while other labs are being directed to study the ongoing pandemic.

Theresa Mayer, executive vice president for research and partnerships at Purdue, sent a campuswide announcement to communicate research guidelines.

While most research has been suspended, the University allows an exception for critical research, according to one of Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb’s executive orders on COVID-19.

“One of the highest priorities is our ongoing research that focuses on really trying to address solutions to the COVID-19 crisis,” Mayer said.

A team of more than 20 researchers is actively working to provide solutions, such as designing new ventilators and producing personal protective equipment, Mayer said.

Some researchers were not able to stay on campus due to the pandemic. According to the Purdue research website, labs are still open, but all face-to-face human subject research has been suspended.

David Savage, a second-year doctoral student in the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, planned to start fieldwork in Colombia over spring break before the COVID-19 situation prevented that.

“It’s put me behind the timeline I wanted to be on with some of my research and data collection,” Savage said.

The lab that Savage works in, the Center for Global Soundscapes, is starting to study the effect of stay-at-home orders on the environment soundscape, but it is not progressing him toward finishing his thesis.

“People who are doing this kind of research with human subjects, where you have to go and talk to people, it doesn’t really work out to do that online,” Savage said. “It can depend on the exact kind of research.”

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