Extraordinary Ordinariness

This has been the kind of year where achieving the ordinary becomes extraordinary.

In the midst of pivoting, repositioning, and focusing around COVID-19, other remarkable efforts have been quietly going forward. Today, I would like to celebrate our students, staff, and faculty who have continued their research despite the obstacles and limitations of the pandemic.

Their dedication. Throughout the lockdown, “essential personnel” continued to come to campus to ensure that animals were fed, cells were grown, and clinical samples were tested. Because of their willingness to do this, most research programs will be able to go forward with a minimum of disruption and with valuable resources intact. Thank you to everyone who has stocked, fed, watered, plated, washed, and done one of the hundreds of other things needed to preserve years of research and protect their ability to resume.

Their patience. Thank you to all of the students who have weathered interrupting their work mid-stride. We know that the progress you make or the delays you face impacts the timeline of the rest of your lives. We will do everything we can to help you catch up and move forward.

Their perseverance. Disease and injury do not stop for pandemics. Our phenomenal researchers have continued to overcome difficulties to clarify scientific questions and develop better treatments for patients. Productivity has been impressive: over 1,200 journal articles published, more than 800 new and competing grant applications submitted, and new awards totaling nearly $120 million were received in the first half of this year. This year. This work-from-home, wear-a-mask, nothing-is-normal year.

Thank you and congratulations to all of you who are moving our research forward, keeping our resources intact, and ensuring that we have a vital and meaningful place to return to when we are all able.

This is the kind of year to remember that everything matters, even when not celebrated on a daily basis. Thank you for all you do to ensure the Medical School continues to progress, learn, and grow.

Here are just a few of our most recent examples of research progress and achievement: