Join the Chapman Univerisity – Schmid College summer seminar series on the biology of SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus causing the COVID-19 pandemic. The series will take place on Fridays throughout the summer from 3:00 to 4:00 PM PST. Each week a different faculty member will lead the discussion on a given area relating to the biology of SARS-CoV-2.

The seminar series is open to all students, regardless of previous biology background.


Seminar Schedule

melissa rowland-goldsmith7/10/20 – Molecular biologists offer a “wartime service” in the effort to test for COVID-19
Dr. Melissa Rowland-Goldsmith

With many laboratories closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, molecular biologists needed to reinvent themselves, but how? This seminar will discuss how molecular biologists adapted their labs and skillsets to test people possibly infected with SARS-CoV-2 and the molecular biology behind one of the most commonly used testing techniques.


cedric owens7/17/20 – The role of structural biology in fighting the novel coronavirus
Dr. Cedric Owens

Structural biology is the study of the shapes and dynamics of proteins and other biomolecules, and is one of the pillars of drug design. This seminar covers some of the most significant developments in the structural biology of SARS-CoV-2 and how they relate to drug and vaccine development.


dr. jennifer totonchy7/24/20 – Vaccines for and immunology of COVID-19
Dr. Jennifer Totonchy

Everyone’s hopes for going back to a normal life hinge on gaining immunity either by infection or through a vaccine. What do we know so far about the immune response against SARS-CoV2 infection? Are those who have recovered now immune? What are the vaccine candidates being tested, and how will they work?


dr. elaine schwartz7/31/20 – COVID-19 drug development
Dr. Elaine Schwartz

All over the world, research is being conducted to develop a preventative vaccine or therapeutic prescription drug that would alleviate the severity of COVID‑19. Currently, several hundred drug companiesbiotechnology firms, university research groups, and health organizations are developing vaccine candidates and potential therapies. Dr. Schwartz will go over the many approaches researchers are using to develop a drug for COVID-19.


dr. marco bisoffi8/7/20 – Developing a point-of-care diagnostic test specific for SARS-CoV-2 using surface acoustic waves
Dr. Marco Bisoffi

Testing for SARS-CoV2 has become a cornerstone activity in the COVID-19 pandemic. Two major testing platforms are the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which is RNA-based, and the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), which is antibody-based. In this seminar, Dr. Bisoffi will present a point-of-care device that can do both.

dr. jeremy hsu8/14/20 – Evolution of SARS-CoV-2
Dr. Jeremy Hsu

Where did SARS-CoV-2 come from? What has been the impact of mutations on the virus? Are there different strains? This seminar will touch upon the evolution of this virus as well as how evolutionary techniques can be used to study the transmission and spread of SARS-CoV-2.


Questions regarding the seminar series – Contact organizer Dr. Jeremy Hsu at

Cover Photo: U.S. Department of State Website