News Releases

Tip Sheet: Coronavirus biology, Q&A with Joel McHale, brain topographic maps, single cell RNA sequencing and more

SEATTLE – May 1, 2020 – Below are summaries of recent Fred Hutch research findings with links for additional background and media contacts.


New research projects aim to advance COVID-19 testing, treatment

New COVID-19 research projects from Dr. Keith Jerome and Andrew McGuire aim to increase capacity and speed of testing and to develop targeted immune proteins that can stop the virus.

Media contact: Claire Hudson,

Hutch team hunts for coronavirus antibodies

Leo Stamatatos and colleagues are working to identify, from the blood of COVID-19 survivors, antibodies that might be used to keep the virus from infecting others. Once potent antibodies are identified, they can be grown in the lab in large quantities and might be used as therapeutics, to prevent infection or help develop a vaccine.

Media contact: Molly McElroy,

What's with the spikes?

That gray Styrofoam ball dotted with red spikes has become an unofficial logo of the pandemic. Biologically speaking, those spikes are critically important. They are the point of contact that our own vulnerable lung cells have with the virus, SARS-CoV-2. And they are a target for drugs or vaccines.

Media contact: Molly McElroy,

Video: COVID-19 Q&A with Joel McHale and Joshua Schiffer

Comedian Joel McHale spoke with infectious disease expert Dr. Joshua Schiffer about COVID-19, efforts to curb the pandemic and Dr. Schiffer’s research. 

Media contact: Tom Kim,

New study will track workers at high risk for coronavirus

CovidWatch will follow essential workers for six months to understand just how widely the novel coronavirus has spread undetected and how, exactly, the human immune system responds to infection.

Media contact: Tom Kim,

A short primer on coronavirus biology

Hutch virologist Dr. Michael Emerman explains coronavirus biology and helps give context to the current viral pandemic.

Media contact: Molly McElroy,

Pushing science forward while working from home

Fred Hutch wound down on-site research to keep employees and the larger community safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. How are scientists doing science?

Media contact: Molly McElroy,

Treating cancer in the shadow of coronavirus

Surgeries are being postponed; the order of treatment swapped. Oncologists are meeting new patients via Zoom or swathed in impersonal protective gear. Welcome to cancer treatment in the time of coronavirus.

Media contact: Claire Hudson,

Preventative care

Answers to cancer, and now COVID-19

Who do you call (or email or text) if you've got questions about cancer or how COVID-19 is impacting cancer treatment?  Your best bet may be the free, bilingual, evidence-based Cancer Information Service at 1.800.4.CANCER, a little-known but incredibly helpful National Cancer Institute-funded program open to all and operated through Fred Hutch.

Media contact: Molly McElroy,

Precision medicine

A cheaper way to study the immune system, one cell at a time

Fred Hutch scientists Florian Mair and Jami Erickson describe a new method of analyzing single cells that can be up to five times cheaper than existing techniques.

Media contact: Tom Kim,

Basic sciences

Helping the developing brain chart its course

Cecilia Moens’ new research reveals the molecular cues that control when cranial motor nerves are guided to the right developing throat muscles in zebrafish, shedding light on how the brain builds the representations of different body areas known as topographic maps.

Media contact: Molly McElroy,

Shedding light on male infertility

Courtney Schroeder shows that an overlooked cellular structure gene may help scientists better understand male fertility and the forces that shape fast-evolving proteins.

Media contact: Molly McElroy,

Other notable news

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At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, home to three Nobel laureates, interdisciplinary teams of world-renowned scientists seek new and innovative ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS, and other life-threatening diseases. Fred Hutch’s pioneering work in bone marrow transplantation led to the development of immunotherapy, which harnesses the power of the immune system to treat cancer. An independent, nonprofit research institute based in Seattle, Fred Hutch houses the nation’s first National Cancer Institute-funded cancer prevention research program, as well as the clinical coordinating center of the Women’s Health Initiative and the international headquarters of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network.