Director's Message
Dr. Patricia Stock
Dear Supporters and Members of our ACBS Family,

I hope this message finds you and your families in good health! The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is presenting vast challenges for our entire world with long-term consequences we cannot yet fully foresee or understand.

During this period of adversity and uncertainty, I have witnessed with pride the resilience and adaptability that faculty, staff, and students of our School are demonstrating.  Our faculty and students have readily made the transition to online teaching/learning from their homes to make sure our goals are met, and we complete our spring semester in the most positive and productive way possible.

A few members of our School remain on campus investing their time and creativity to manufacture hand sanitizer that is being donated to hospitals and other institutions across the state. Our Food Products and Safety Lab continues to sell their meat products contributing to the food supply chain and in testing food products for their safety.  Other faculty members are devoting their time and efforts conducting research directed to COVID-19 and its survival on plastic or other surfaces.  We have also contributed with donations of food and personal protective equipment (PPE) to those in need.

I want to share these stories with you.  They clearly speak about the dedication, hard work and commitment of our School members. We not only continue to care for the education of our students, but we are also contributing to the health, safety and well-being of our community across the state of Arizona and beyond!

I hope you find these stories inspiring and a reminder that we all must take care of each other.

With my deepest wishes for good health, resiliency, and hope to all of you,

S. Patricia Stock
UArizona Research Labs Produce Hand Sanitizer
for Health Care Workers
hand sanitizer and ppe
Researchers in the School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences scaled down their work on bacterial infectious diseases to focus on the community's immediate need amid the COVID-19 pandemic.  This included helping the hospital workers on the forefront with needed items to keep them safe – masks, gowns and hand sanitizers.  Organized by ACBS faculty members, professor Gayatri Vedantam and associate professor VK Viswanathan, the project included research scientist Jennifer Roxas; research specialists Shylaja Ramamurthy and Rachel Claus-Walker; graduate students Anusha Harishankar, Farhan Anwar and Shobitha Jillela; and undergraduate researchers Alison Williams and Kayley Manuel.

To prepare the hand sanitizer, they followed World Health Organization recommended guidelines, using ingredients available in their respective laboratories.  Their colleagues Arun Dhar, Sadhana Ravishankar, Kerry Cooper, Michael Riggs, Deborah Schaefer, Zelieann Craig, Connie Carter, and Jennifer Teske quickly jumped in to support the effort by providing gallons of chemicals.  With Patricia Stock donating hundreds of new, travel-size bottles and assisting with collecting chemicals and PPE.

In response to an urgent call for donations to the Navajo Nation, which has been hit especially hard by the pandemic, the project was able to provide a donation of non-perishable food items to accompany the sanitizer delivery with colleagues Dan Engeljohn and Jennifer Roxas acquiring and donating many of the food items.

"Our faculty's dedication to ensuring the resilience and health of our communities, people, environment and economies is exemplary," said Shane Burgess, UArizona vice president of agriculture, life and veterinary sciences and Cooperative Extension. "Dr. Vedantam and Dr. Viswanathan have shown selfless commitment addressing an urgent need as we all work to 'flatten the curve' during this crisis."

As of April 14, 2020 the hand sanitizer project has prepared approximately 500 liters and dispensed over 1,500 bottles and sprays!

Personal-use and spray bottles have been donated to:

  • Carondelet Marana Hospital
  • Banner - University Medical Center
  • Northwest Hospital, Tucson
  • The Navajo Area Indian Health Service (NAIHS)
  • The Tohono O’odham Community Health Services
  • The El Rio Community Health Centers
  • University of Arizona Campus Health
  • Desert Pediatrics, Tucson
  • Circle the City, Maricopa County
  • Hopi Tribe, Hotevilla Village
  • The San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe
  • Eloy Dairy
making hand sanitizer
Shylaja Ramamurthy, a research specialist in ACBS, prepares hand sanitizer.
hand sanitizer
Researchers took extra precautions to develop an end product of the highest quality.
hand sanitizer bottles
World Health Organization recommended guidelines were followed to make the sanitizer.
UA News Article
Wildcat Country Market Operations under COVID-19
wildcat country market
The Wildcat Country Market, the meat store operated by ACBS’s Food Product and Safety Laboratory (FPSL) and run by Dr. Sam Garcia, is committed to helping the Tucson community during the current COVID-19 situation and to helping with the shortage of some food items at local grocery stores. Since March 7, 2020, the market, designated as an essential service, has helped 800 customers who purchased 28,000 servings of beef and processed 150,000 protein servings for local livestock producers that resale their product and families that consume their own product. The market has provided roughly 2,500 pounds of pet food to customers, as well as, products to the Reid Park Zoo and Desert Museum. The market has also supplied 800 pounds of a spam like product to the Arizona Department of Agriculture (ADA). The ADA uses this product to bait insect traps and allows them to continue their testing and monitoring of insects in Arizona despite the shortage of spam in grocery stores. In addition to running the meat sale, the FPSL has been able to continue with testing food products and has completed food safety testing for six companies.

Meat Sale Information

To ensure a safe shopping experience for customers and staff, the market is segmenting community groups to different days and times:

Senior Citizens - Thursday 12pm - 4pm
Open to the Public - Friday 8am - 6pm

Our prevention methods ask that customers please line up in their vehicles and a student will come out to assist them. Market staff are wearing masks and gloves to assist customers and take orders with orders being filled and returned to the customer’s car to reduce traffic in the store.  Customers who would like to shop in the store are admitted one at a time with sanitizing procedures occurring prior to the next customer coming in.

Address: 4181 N. Campbell Avenue in Tucson

Product varies by week and can include fresh grain fed beef, grass fed beef, pork, and lamb.  For any changes to hours and product updates, please visit
stacked boxes wildcat country market steaks meat coolers
Could Copper Disable the Virus Behind COVID-19?
Graphic by Eddie Canto/RII
A team of UArizona researchers, including Dr. Koenraad Van Doorslaer, an assistant professor of immunobiology in ACBS, is studying whether or not certain copper-based chemical compounds could potentially stop the virus that causes COVID-19 dead in its tracks.
UA News Article
ACBS Classes Go Online
laptop computer
All in-person UArizona classes have now been transformed into online learning for the remainder of the spring semester in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Professors and students alike are rising to the challenge of navigating these new virtual classrooms.

For Drs. Dieter and Netzin Steklis, who co-teach ACBS 160 Human & Animal Interrelationships and ACBS 484 Applied Captive Primate Behavior in Practice, the change has been taken in stride.  The pair had previous experience with producing online course content and about ACBS 160 Netzin says, “We were fortunate in that this was the first academic year that we prepared an online course that ran parallel to our live course. So with COVID we simply moved everyone to the online format. Nonetheless, knowing that these students didn't "sign-up" for an online class, we have tried to keep them engaged using a variety of strategies”.

With 250 students in the in-person class joining the 300 students already enrolled in the online course they have added VoiceThread, a collaborative, multimedia slide show program which allows users to leave comments on slides using voice, text, audio file, or video, and encouraging students to comment in this exchange by having a prize raffle for those students who leave posts.  They are also trying short videos of them talking to the students and showing them interacting with the animal of the week along with live office hours on Zoom.

In Dr. Crista Coppola's courses, ACBS 311 Applied Companion Animal Behavior and ACBS 482/582 Applied Companion Animal Behavior in Practice, she and her preceptors have worked together to come up with creative ways to engage her students.  Her courses are being  taught synchronously due to the engagement and discussion factor with recordings available for those few students who miss a lecture.  They have added "Spirit Days", a Tiger King watch party with a discussion on the welfare of the animals, and a group children's book project teaching a dog or cat behavior concept.  While challenging, Crista has found that the Zoom platform has helped with putting faces to the names of her 68 students and allowed for students who want to stay beyond the lecture time to visit and talk to do so since they aren't running off to their next class. 

ACBS 696A, colloquially known as the ACBS Seminar Series, provides enrolled graduate students with opportunities to learn and practice communicating their research results to an audience.  Instructor Dr. Zelieann Craig found several benefits to moving the seminar to a fully online structure including increased attendance, reduced paper usage by collecting student feedback electronically, still maintaining the follow-up Q&A sessions, and somehow, ending on time. 
When asked about moving her course online Zelieann says, “The first step that I took was to have an honest discussion with the students during which we assessed their feelings about the change, shared concerns, asked questions, and, most importantly, brainstormed about how we would complete the course this semester.  I was blown away by the resilience and motivation that the students have shown which, I am sure, is evident when they present their talks on Zoom.”

Seminars are open to anyone interested in attending, go to the seminar calendar for recordings of past seminars and to find the link to attend future seminars ACBS Spring Seminar Calendar.

Dr. Margarethe Cooper, who teaches ACBS 403R Biology of Animal Parasites, MIC 195D This Wormy World, and MIC 205A General Microbiology, has also been impressed by how her students have continued to dig in to the coursework, despite their ongoing challenging circumstances.  She says, "I've had a few students contact me about having obligations to take care of ill relatives away from home, sometimes in other countries, or who are essential healthcare workers potentially exposed to COVID-19, even a student who had been hospitalized, leading to challenges in accessing a computer and internet while in self-isolation. I am grateful that these students have been able to reach out to me, and we are working together so they can take care of their health and loved ones and make up the materials when they can."

These are just a few examples of how ACBS faculty and students are working together to Bear Down and persevere to make the best of the Spring semester.
acbs 311 spirit day
Students in ACBS 311 Applied Companion Animal Behavior participate in "Spirit Day"
happy dog and sad dog
Companion Animal Behavior students discuss the effect of the quarantine on household pets.
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