Stanford University COVID-19
Crisis Response

Respond. Innovate. Scale. Empower.

Vision    |    Themes    |    Highlights


The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic poses a humanitarian crisis unprecedented in its scale of complexity, calling for coordination and collaboration between many fields of study. From addressing immediate medical shortages to ensuring an equitable recovery for all people, Stanford is bringing our considerable expertise across disciplines to bear on these urgent challenges. Through Stanford RISE, we will respond with solutions for our community that can be scaled to benefit the world, helping organizations respond to the complex medical, economic, policy and societal needs of this moment and far beyond.

The challenges before us are significant in both scale and complexity. Medical workers are in need of lifesaving new therapies and devices to help patients. Without jobs, people are in need of economic relief as well as food and other services. With the global economy struggling, governments and business leaders are trying to revitalize industries. And decision-makers are looking for reliable ways of tracking and stopping this pandemic, while anticipating new threats before they arise.

Stanford has a history of tackling challenging problems like these. Indeed, the university was founded on the principle of “exercising an influence on behalf of humanity and civilization.” We have a culture of collaboration that draws researchers together around common problems, and a spirit of innovation that allows for fast translation of discoveries into proven solutions. Our medical researchers have created a robust pathway to new therapies, our engineers routinely turn ideas into breakthrough technologies, and our policy experts have worked with governments worldwide to benefit their citizens.

With Stanford RISE, we are building on our strengths to halt the COVID-19 pandemic and developing a model for how public and private institutions can rise to this historic challenge and others in the future.

News and announcements about Stanford University’s response to COVID-19, for faculty, staff, students and visitors.

A message from the president

At Stanford we seek to provide intellectual leadership at a moment when our world is in crisis, and when we are facing a great deal of uncertainty about our future and about the most effective courses of action. Researchers and scientists from around the world are working together to understand the virus, discover drugs that might prove effective against it, and develop solutions to mitigate its societal and economic effects. It is our goal to help foster this interdisciplinary scholarship within Stanford and across borders.


Marc Tessier-Lavigne
President, Stanford University


This response plan will unite research efforts around core priorities that address the current medical and humanitarian crisis brought by COVID-19. Our results in these areas will also serve as a foundation for responding to future global threats.

Meeting the challenges posed by COVID-19 requires ideas that cut across disciplines and demands collaboration both within Stanford and beyond our campus. With strength across disciplines and a history of turning ideas into innovations and policies, Stanford is well positioned to generate interdisciplinary solutions in these core areas. That might mean doctors working with engineers to develop new treatments or diagnostics, or policy experts working with business leaders and governments to ensure an equitable recovery.

Stanford RISE highlights our multi-disciplinary research across four key themes:

Rapid Discovery

Propelling fundamental and clinical research to discover targeted treatments and cures, nimbly

Human Resilience

Amplifying our individual and collective capacity to respond, adapt, and emerge stronger in the face of crisis

Inclusive Recovery

Striving for an economic recovery that is sustainable, equitable for, and inclusive of all

Post-Pandemic Cooperation

Influencing the new political and social issues that will define our future

Collaboration across Stanford

Education • Research • Translation

  • Art  •
  • Business  •
  • Earth  •
  • Education  •
  • Energy  •
  • Engineering  •
  • Environmental Sciences  •
  • Humanities  •
  • Law  •
  • Medicine  •
  • Natural Sciences  •
  • Policy  •
  • Social Sciences

Current Research Highlights

As soon as COVID-19 began spreading, Stanford researchers pivoted their focus to this crisis. Researchers quickly developed novel ways of testing for COVID-19, began testing drugs that might treat the disease and modeled the effects of social distancing. Other research efforts just getting underway will be generating insights for years to come.

A few research projects are highlighted below. Additional projects will be rotated through in the coming days. 

For Stanford Researchers: 
 View a list of COVID-19 research and projects using your SUNet login.

Human Resilience

A study conducted by Hayagreeva “Huggy” Rao, the Atholl McBean professor of organizational behavior and human resources, suggests that infectious diseases such as COVID-19 primarily conjure two feelings: disgust and fear. Together, those emotions often expose xenophobic tendencies, dysfunctions of leadership, and other deep-set fears. Rao lends his expertise, answering questions that pertain to cultural bias, the shortcomings of national leadership, and more.

Inclusive Recovery/Rapid Discovery

Scientists at Stanford and UCSF will work together to support two studies that aim to better understand the epidemiology of COVID-19. One study, led by Yvonne Maldonado, MD, senior associate dean, and others at UCSF, will collect data to inform policy decisions as California begins to reopen, including information about how to keep transmission rates low in the absence of a vaccine. The second, led by Marisa Holubar, MD, clinical associate professor of medicine, and others at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, focuses on Bay Area health care workers, investigating whether COVID-19 antibodies protect individuals against reinfection.

Inclusive Recovery

Panelists from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business discussed the recent stimulus package and provided their varying takes on the federal government’s tactic to boost the economy. While all panelists agreed that something needed to be done to help the economy, they differ in what they see as the best approach. In this piece, the speakers also discuss several other issues of the COVID-19-spurred economic downturn, such as unemployment benefits, investor bankruptcy, and the differences between now and the 2008 recession.

Rapid Discovery

Biostatisticians at Stanford are lending their expertise to help design several trials, collaborating closely with Stanford Medicine to devise research plans that will satisfy the strict standards of the Food and Drug Administration. Statisticians are making valuable contributions to clinical trials by partnering with researchers and providing mathematical tools that can help validate hypotheses, eliminate biases, and determine the sample size and endpoints of trials.

Rapid Discovery

Manu Prakash, long-time advocate of “frugal science,” has developed six COVID-19-related research projects in his lab. Many of his projects are rooted in devising new ways to create personal protective gear or mitigate other resources shortages. His lab is working to convert full-face snorkel masks into reusable personal protective equipment, or PPE; develop guidelines for decontaminating N95 masks and create a universal remote for controlling ventilators from outside a patient’s room, among other efforts.

Human Resilience

Greg Walton, associate professor of psychology, says small “cues,” whether it’s a thoughtful email or a helpful resource, can help us feel a sense of togetherness even as we distance ourselves physically. As we face the social and emotional challenges of the COVID-19 crisis, Walton explains why feeling connected and staying motivated is crucial during this time.