Research News

STARR Award Presented to UTMB Research Labs

Jul 14, 2020, 13:30 PM by Heidi Lutz


During this quarter, researchers at UTMB saw their world turn upside down. Those people who diligently work in labs, found themselves with doubling their workload in an effort to meet the needs of patients and research.

For their efforts, the members of our basic, clinical science and core labs are recipients of the UTMB STARR Award. This community as a whole exhibited exemplary professional behavior and commitment to teamwork and exemplifies UTMB's Mission, Vision and Values.

Some examples include:

The Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory  who successfully installed, validated, and implemented SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR testing on the Abbott M2000 platform in 4 days – and started testing patient samples just one week after the assay received Emergency Use authorization from the FDA.

In order to accommodate the institutional and community COVID testing needs, the staff had to abruptly change from a 1 shift/5 days per week schedule to a 3 shift/7 day schedule. This has resulted in over 27,000 tests since going live on 3/27/2020.

Members of the SCOA Functional Testing Laboratory planned for return and began recruiting for in-hospital and post-discharge studies in late April when Phase 1 research came back online after the COVID19 shutdown. They are currently recruiting for two randomized clinical trials investigating pragmatic interventions to slow muscle loss during hospitalization and accelerate recovery of physical function after discharge.  

The Sealy Institute for Vaccine Sciences Clinical Trials Program conducted the multicenter ‘Adaptive COVID-19 Treatment Trial (ACTT)’ here at UTMB.  These study subjects were some of the sickest and the study required study drug(s) dosing and collection/processing of research samples 7 days a week, with data entry required within 24 hours. Results from the first part of the study, known as ACTT1, received widespread press coverage as the clinical trial showed that Remdesivir accelerated recovery from advanced COVID-19.

Other examples are pictured in the above video.