COVID cooperation: finding a freezer space for vaccines

COVID cooperation: finding a freezer space for vaccines

An ultra-cold freezer that will one day store tissue samples from alligators, black bears and other wildlife is holding coronavirus vaccines at Student Health Services.

Researcher Nathan Hostetter, who joined the faculty of the Department of Applied Ecology in December, is happy the new -80 degree Celsius freezer made a detour on his way to his lab.

“The timing is perfect,” says Hostetter, deputy unit chief of the North Carolina Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit.

An ultra-cold freezer for the Student Health Services Center was out of stock due to the global need for coronavirus vaccine storage. MRNA vaccines and tissue samples from wild animals require ultra-cold storage to preserve genetic material.

Sharp-eyed staff at the university’s central reception spotted the incoming cargo from the freezer and alerted Amy Orders, director of emergency management and mission continuity. Her staff contacted Carrie Baum-Lane, executive assistant in applied ecology, who asked Hostetter for a loan.

“It won’t affect my research at all,” says Hostetter, a 2016 doctorate from North Carolina. graduate who returned to university after holding postdoctoral positions in…

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