From 3D-printing face masks to donating supplies to making hand sanitizer and much more, the faculty and staff from across UK have united in the fight against COVID-19.
DB Developing Antiviral Membrane Mask
Dibakar Bhattacharyya has been a fixture in the University of Kentucky’s College of Engineering for more than 50 years and is renowned for his research, which focuses on incorporating life sciences materials with synthetic membranes for filtering and producing clean water.
Today, the director of UK’s Center of Membrane Sciences, known to friends and colleagues as “DB,” is contributing his decades of membrane expertise to help address the spread of the novel coronavirus. He has the concept and the means to develop a medical face mask that would capture and deactivate the COVID-19 virus on contact. To create and test the membrane, DB is collaborating with researchers across campus including Thomas Dziubla, Isabel Escobar and Zach Hilt from the College of Engineering, Allan Butterfield in the College of Arts and Sciences, and Thomas Chambers with the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. Read more here.
Beam Institute Makes Sanitizer
The COVID-19 pandemic is creating shortages of sanitizing products in hospitals. Across the nation, spirits distillers are stepping up to help and using their products and equipment to make hand sanitizer for health care workers. At the University of Kentucky, The James B. Beam Institute for Kentucky Spirits is making sanitizer and going a step further by creating an instructional video for distillers who want to do the same. Read more here.
3D-Printing Personal Protective Equipment for Healthcare Workers
Numerous UK College of Engineering faculty, staff and students have put in long hours 3D-printing personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers at the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis.
- Daniel Lau, electrical and computer (ECE) engineering professor and co-founder of Seikowave, helped Seikowave print customized, reusable personal protective equipment (PPE). Read more here.
- Alumnus Eric Wooldridge, Somerset Community College (SCC) Professor of Additive Manufacturing , is running SCC's Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence 24/7 to produce approximately 100 face shields per day. Read more here.
- Derek Englert, assistant professor of chemical engineering, and engineering students Robert Harper and Coilin Bradley--all at the University of Kentucky College of Engineering Extended Campus at Paducah--are working with a network of organizations to 3D-print nearly 3,000 face shields. Read more here.
In addition, Englert is now leading the charge to manufacture intubation boxes. The boxes will not only go to the Paducah Baptist Health facility, but also throughout the Baptist Health network. These provide a barrier for the patient and healthcare workers. Intubation boxes are used by anesthesiologists preparing for surgery and enable them to maintain a close distance for monitoring.
Donating to the Cause
- The Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering donated a large amount of personal protective equipment—including 120 N95 masks—to UK Healthcare. Read more here.
- Numerous faculty members combined to donate 40 boxes of overhead transparencies that will be converted into makeshift face masks (see photo below).
- Faculty members in the Department of Civil Engineering donated 35 unopened boxes of gloves, as well as several boxes with various amounts of unused gloves. They also donated a dozen pairs of goggles and lab glasses.
- The Kentucky Transportation Center donated over three dozen emergency ponchos that can be used as surgical/exam drapes if needed.