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Research@Mines Archive:
January, 2021

University Epidemiologists Debunk Myths Related to COVID-19 Vaccine

Two epidemiologists at South Dakota Mines, Elizabeth Racz, Ph.D., MPH (left) and Christine Mathews, Ph.D., MPH, (right) say myths circulating online about the COVID-19 vaccine may reduce the number of people who get vaccinated which could prolong the pandemic.

Epidemiologists at South Dakota Mines say misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine currently circulating on the internet may frighten some people away from becoming inoculated. 

Dr. Elizabeth Racz, MPH, says falsehoods include the accusation that corners were cut in development of this vaccine. “On the contrary,” Racz says. “The Food and Drug Administration’s decision to grant the emergency use authorization for the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine was based on scientific data. The process was made a priority — as vaccine development goes it was definitely done quickly, but not sloppily.”

Racz adds that there is no evidence to substantiate internet rumors. She says fetal stem cells were not used in COVID-19 vaccine or its development. The vaccine will not cause infertility and won’t change DNA. “The vaccine helps your body recognize and respond to the virus. The vaccine teaches your immune system. Once your immune system has learned to detect the virus it can act more quickly and accurately to eliminate it. Your immune system also has ‘memory’ cells. These specialized cells remember how to protect you from the disease in the future — in this case COVID-19,” Racz says. 

Dr. Christine Mathews, MPH, explains that the mRNA vaccine cannot give anyone COVID-19. “mRNA, like DNA, is a nucleic acid found in all living cells. DNA is located in the nucleus of the cell and contains all the instructions necessary for making proteins in the body. Howe...
Last Edited 1/26/2021 03:03:10 PM [Comments (0)]

South Dakota Mines receives $1.3 Million Grant for New Scanning Electron Microscope to Benefit Research and Industry

South Dakota Mines is installing a new Scanning Electron Microscope in the university’s Engineering and Mining Experiment Station.

South Dakota Mines is installing a new Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) in the university’s Engineering and Mining Experiment Station (EMES) thanks to a $1.3 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The new microscope is just one of many state-of-the-art scientific instruments inside the recently expanded EMES which serves high-tech industry alongside university researchers across the state.

The powerful SEM microscope is a centerpiece of the EMES. It allows researchers to perform high resolution imaging, chemical analysis and sample manipulation for various materials at scales ranging down to 100,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair. The new microscope is a critical resource for a wide variety of research across multiple disciplines.

“The SEM is the most heavily used research instrument on campus,” says Grant Crawford, Ph.D., the director of the Arbegast Materials Processing and Joining Laboratory at Mines and an associate professor in the Department of Materials and Metallurgical Engineering.

The new SEM is equipped with a focused ion beam that dramatically expands its capability over the old system. The ion beam allows researchers to extract samples for separate analysis and cr...

Last Edited 1/19/2021 04:07:49 PM [Comments (0)]

South Dakota Mines EMES Facility Expands to Include Array of Instruments with Environmental Applications

Dr. Scott Beeler uses a gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer (GC-MS) in the Engineering and Mining Experiment Station (EMES) at South Dakota Mines. The GC-MS is used to identify and quantify organic compounds with applications in a wide range of fields such as environmental monitoring, medicine, and oil and gas.

The Engineering and Mining Experiment Station (EMES) at South Dakota Mines has begun overseeing the operation and maintenance of instrumentation within the Shimadzu Environmental Research Laboratory (SERL).

The EMES was founded on the Mines campus in 1903 with a mission to serve mining industry research. Today the mission has expanded to include a much broader range of academic and industry needs with a wide array of scientific equipment that is utilized by industry professionals and university researchers across the region. The EMES has seen equipment investments by the South Dakota Board of Regents and the National Science Foundation totaling more than $2.8 million since 2011. The EMES website lists the range of scientific equipment available for academic research and industry use including the Shimadzu instrumentation.

The SERL was established in 2015 in partnership with Shimadzu Scientific Instruments by Lisa Kunza. Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Chemistry Biology and Health Sciences at Mines. The SERL is a multidisciplinary research facility that contains a suite of state-of-the-art instrumentation with a focus on environmental applications. SERL instruments enable the chemi...

Last Edited 1/6/2021 03:48:20 PM [Comments (0)]