College of

Department of Translational Neuroscience teams up with local crafters

By Lisa Hayes, co-founder of Crafters Combating COVID

As we all adapt to new ways of connecting with our community, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine and a group of local crafters have teamed up to solve a problem and fulfill a statewide need.

Jack Lipton, PhD, Chair of the Department of Translational Neuroscience The role of a community-based medical school during a pandemic is no different than at any other time,” said Jack Lipton, PhD, professor and chair, Department of Translational Neuroscience. “To educate, innovate, and care for the communities we serve, in the communities we serve. Our boots are always next to our neighbors’ boots, and very much on the ground.”

While Department of Translational Neuroscience faculty primarily focus on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease research, Lipton said his department’s responsibilities extend beyond their research endeavors. “All of us at MSU have to continually ask ourselves, what can we do to help right now?”

With a vast range of possibilities during the COVID-19 pandemic, Lipton said the College of Human Medicine has mobilized to help the community in efforts large and small. Encouraged by the support of Dr. Aron Sousa, interim dean, department lab managers John Beck (shown above) and Allyson Strauss are autoclaving fabric facemasks made by regional members of the statewide Facebook group Crafters Combating COVID. When the masks are delivered to health care facilities throughout Michigan, they’re sterilized for immediate use.

Handmade masks“I was invited to the group, but sewing isn’t one of my skills,” Lipton said. “I thought more about how I could help, and when I learned that the group had organized fabrication and distribution plans, and that they were working directly with facilities, I realized that we could come onboard to make the masks as safe and clean as possible when they’re distributed.

“As we watched the number of cases rise in Washington state, we knew we needed to focus our skills and equipment on the virus,” added Lipton.

“All of us at MSU have to continually ask ourselves, what can we do to help right now?” 

- Jack Lipton, PhD, Chair, Department of Translational Neuroscience