Skip to main content

Washington Post Visits UM School of Medicine Laboratories, Meets with Scientists About Coronavirus

February 25, 2020

Front Page Story in The Washington Post

Result is front-page feature coverage of UMSOM’s leading work in studying the Virus

 Matthew B. Frieman, PhDThe UMSOM’s Office of Public Affairs & Communications has been working closely with the Washington Post on providing access and information about UMSOM’s central role in studying the Coronavirus.  The result was the Post’s Health & Science Reporter, Carolyn Johnson, visiting UMSOM on February 11, touring laboratories and talking with UMSOM scientists, including Matthew Frieman, PhD, Associate Professor in the UMSOM Department of Microbiology and Immunology, an affiliate faculty member of the UMSOM’s Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health, and an expert on coronaviruses. The Post Reporter also spoke with Wilbur Chen, MD, Associate Professor in the UMSOM Department of Medicine and an infectious disease expert in the CVD, as well as Robert Gallo, MD, the Homer and Martha Gudelsky Distinguished Professor in Medicine and Co-Founder & Director, Institute of Human Virology (IHV) at the UMSOM, to get their insights on the outbreak.

Dr. GalloDr. ChenPrior to, and following the visit, the Post has featured UMSOM in several stories about Coronavirus (see links below).  Most notably, UMSOM was featured with photos in a front-page story in the Post on February 15, titled “Inside the Urgent Coronavirus Quest.” 

“Having the Post visit our campus is a tremendous opportunity to showcase our leadership in infectious disease and vaccine development,” said Deborah Kotz, Director of National Media Relations at UMSOM, who organized the visit, and who was previously a health and science reporter for both U.S. News & World Report and the Boston Globe.

Dr. Frieman’s laboratory is one of only a few nationwide that is qualified to handle SARS-CoV-2, which stands for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus. It includes a state-of-the-art Biosafety Level 3 laboratory housed in the Bressler Research Building.

“This is what truly differentiates UMSOM, and what we communicate to national audiences: we are the medical school that consistently is on the front lines, taking on the most complex and urgent diseases,” said Christopher Hardwick, MA, Assistant Dean of Public Affairs & Communications.

“The breadth of our work in virology – from microbiology and immunology to infectious disease and vaccine development -- is unparalleled. It is gratifying to see that the national media is prominently recognizing our leadership in this critical area.”

E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA


Kathleen Neuzil, MD, MPH, FIDSADeborah KotzDeborah Kotz and Joanne Morrison, Director of Public Relations & Marketing for the Center for Vaccine Development & Global Health (CVD), worked with Dr. Frieman, David Marcozzi, MD, MHS-CL. FACEP. Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, and Kathleen Neuzil, MD, MPH the Myron M. Levine, MD, Professor in Vaccinology, Professor of Medicine and pediatrics and Director of the CVD, on arranging several additional interviews with national media organizations, including National Geographic, USA Today, National Public Radio, STAT, Voice of America, BuzzFeed, and Forbes, as well as regional media, including the Baltimore Sun to highlight the UMSOM’s leadership in studying the Coronavirus and in planning of potential therapies and vaccines against the virus.


In coordination with UMMC, UMSOM’s Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs, Anthony Lehman, MD, MSPH, is working closely with Michael Jablonover, MD, MBA, FACP, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at UMMC to form a Coronavirus Preparedness Committee. The group is chaired by David Marcozzi, MD, MHS-CL, FACEP, UMSOM Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, and Gregory Schrank, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Medicine at the UMSOM. They will be charged with ensuring that coordinated UMSOM/UMMC preparedness plans are defined, implemented and articulated to all relevant constituencies. Dr. Marcozzi recently appeared on Fox45 to help the public understand their risk for COVID-19 and how to protect themselves.

About the University of Maryland School of Medicine

Now in its third century, the University of Maryland School of Medicine was chartered in 1807 as the first public medical school in the United States. It continues today as one of the fastest growing, top-tier biomedical research enterprises in the world -- with 45 academic departments, centers, institutes, and programs; and a faculty of more than 3,000 physicians, scientists, and allied health professionals, including members of the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, and a distinguished two-time winner of the Albert E. Lasker Award in Medical Research.  With an operating budget of more than $1.2 billion, the School of Medicine works closely in partnership with the University of Maryland Medical Center and Medical System to provide research-intensive, academic and clinically based care for nearly 2 million patients each year. The School of Medicine has more than $540 million in extramural funding, with most of its academic departments highly ranked among all medical schools in the nation in research funding. As one of the seven professional schools that make up the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus, the School of Medicine has a total population of nearly 9,000 faculty and staff, including 2,500 student trainees, residents, and fellows. The combined School of Medicine and Medical System (“University of Maryland Medicine”) has an annual budget of nearly $6 billion and an economic impact more than $15 billion on the state and local community. The School of Medicine faculty, which ranks as the 8th highest among public medical schools in research productivity, is an innovator in translational medicine, with 600 active patents and 24 start-up companies. The School of Medicine works locally, nationally, and globally, with research and treatment facilities in 36 countries around the world. Visit


Office of Public Affairs
655 West Baltimore Street
Bressler Research Building 14-002
Baltimore, Maryland 21201-1559

Contact Media Relations
(410) 706-5260

Related stories

    Thursday, November 19, 2020

    Promising Results Seen in Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine After Phase 1 Trial by University of Maryland School of Medicine

    Just six months after beginning a clinical development program that first enrolled here at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM), Pfizer and BioNTech report interim results showing an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine had no serious safety concerns and has been found to be 95 percent effective in protecting individuals from COVID-19.

    Tuesday, June 02, 2020

    UM School of Medicine’s Institute of Human Virology Awarded Grants to Strengthen COVID-19 Response in Sub-Saharan Africa

    The Center for International Health, Education and Biosecurity (Ciheb) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Institute of Human Virology was awarded $4 million from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to support coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) response activities in Botswana, Nigeria, Malawi, and Mozambique.

    Monday, June 01, 2020

    In A COVID-19 World, Another Threat to the Health of Our Children

    In the U.S., our children rarely fall ill to grave infections because they are protected by vaccines. Serious illnesses like measles, mumps, congenital rubella syndrome, chickenpox, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, rotavirus diarrhea, hepatitis (A and B), polio and bacterial meningitis are all preventable through routine childhood vaccinations.

    Tuesday, May 05, 2020

    UM School of Medicine is First in U.S. to Test Unique RNA Vaccine Candidate for COVID-19

    In a significant development in the global effort to discover a safe and effective vaccine for COVID-19, researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) became the first in the U.S. to begin testing experimental COVID-19 vaccine candidates developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. The research, funded by Pfizer Inc., will study the safety, efficacy, and dosing of an experimental mRNA -based vaccine.

    Thursday, April 23, 2020

    UM School of Medicine Researchers Test Remdesivir as Potential Therapy for COVID-19 Patients

    Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) are testing the effectiveness of the investigational antiviral drug remdesivir in hospitalized adult patients with SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). The randomized controlled clinical trial is evaluating the safety and effectiveness of the drug, and it is part of a national study funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

    Friday, April 10, 2020

    University of Maryland School of Medicine Launches New Large Scale COVID-19 Testing Initiative

    University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) Dean E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, announced today the launch of a large-scale COVID-19 Testing Initiative that will significantly expand testing capability over the coming weeks, enabled by new funding of $2.5 million from the State of Maryland.

    Wednesday, April 01, 2020

    Important Coronavirus Update from Dean Reece 04-01

    I am sure you are aware of Governor Hogan’s Executive Order that requires all residents of Maryland to stay at home, except for essential activities. The Governor continues to emphasize that we are still just at the beginning of this crisis in Maryland. While the State has been taking the lead with early containment efforts, we are now at a critical point. Each of our actions can lessen the expected surge in cases over the next few weeks.

    Wednesday, March 25, 2020

    Kids & COVID-19 Website Provides Resources for Pediatric Healthcare Providers and Families

    The University of Maryland School of Medicine has launched a special COVID-19 website for pediatric healthcare providers and practices, parents, and children. This resource brings together important research, professional guidance for pediatric practices, and practical tips for parents and caregivers.

    Wednesday, March 25, 2020

    Important Coronavirus Update from Dean Reece

    As we continue to move forward in these challenging times, I would like to bring you a message of encouragement and hope. First and foremost, please be assured and confident that we are, and will continue to do, everything we can to ensure the health and well-being of all within our community. As you will see in this briefing, significant steps are being taken by the State of Maryland, the University of Maryland Medical System and the University of Maryland, Baltimore to ensure that everyone is healthy and safe. We must each do whatever is necessary to ensure that our health comes first.

    Wednesday, January 29, 2020

    University of Maryland School of Medicine Mobilizes Virus Experts to prepare for Potential Coronavirus Outbreak

    As public health officials around the world are monitoring a new coronavirus strain (2019-nCoV) first identified in the Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) is mobilizing its physicians and scientists in the UMSOM’s Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health (CVD), and in its Department of Microbiology & Immunology, to study the virus and test potential vaccines and other therapies. In addition, the UMSOM is collaborating with the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) on rapid response and preparedness planning in the event of a growing outbreak.