Combating COVID-19: How the UofM is Pitching In

School of Public Health Research

Learn more about SPH research related to COVID-19 >


To aid in combating COVID-19, the University of Memphis fabricated face-shield frames using its 3D printers in its state-of-the-art Metal Additive Manufacturing Lab at Herff College of Engineering. The lab’s printers were in use around the clock creating frames that would be provided to hospitals in the State of Tennessee, including Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Ebrahim Asadi, the lab’s director and assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering, and his staff delivered 135 3D-printed face-shield frames in March.

Asadi delivered 83 frames to the Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Jackson on March 31. Those were then delivered to the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) to be distributed among hospitals and clinics in need. Asadi also delivered 52 frames to Le Bonheur on March 27.

UofM staff scientist Dr. Fatemeh Hejripour works to produce face-shield frames using 3D printers in the Metal Additive Manufacturing Lab at Herff College of Engineering.“This is a very special task to me that I can help the health care professionals who are fighting this pandemic on the front line,” said Asadi. “This is one of the moments when you say to yourself you should do something to help. I am sure that many people feel that way, and I was lucky there was something that I could do in addition to social distancing and self-quarantine, which are equally important to keep everybody safer.”

Le Bonheur, which had enough supplies for its staff at the time of receiving the masks, was being proactive for the future.

“We appreciate the support of community partners like the University of Memphis during this uncertain time,” said Dr. Barry Gilmore, chief medical officer of Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. “Their offer of help means so much to our clinical experts who are working around-the-clock to help keep kids healthy and well.”

The UofM Metal Additive Manufacturing Lab produced the masks using five commercial-grade 3D printers. Each printer has the capability to produce up to four frames at a time, taking two to three hours for each run. The first successful prototypes were completed the weekend of March 20-22. Beginning March 23, Asadi started activating as many printers as he could on campus to increase the capacity.

Across the State of Tennessee, universities began printing face shields in response to a call from Mike Krause, executive director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. At the UofM, a team of five staff members and students led by Asadi began working immediately. Other staff included Dr. Fatemeh Hejripour, staff scientist; PhD candidates Behzad Fotovvati and Michael Fitzmire; and Matthew Markham, a PhD candidate who volunteered to work daily.

“All of us need to do our part in supporting doctors and medical workers on the frontline of this pandemic,” said Dr. Richard Sweigard, dean of the Herff College of Engineering. “I’m very proud that Herff engineers and the entire UofM community came together so quickly to produce the face shields that will keep healthcare workers and patients safe.”

May 4 | Update: Herff College of Engineering partners with MCR Safety and Precision Plastics to produce free face shields for health care workers
The partnership will provide the face shields free of charge to first responders, health care facilities and medical professionals with need. More details on the partnership>

NURSING DONATES SUPPLIESLoewenberg College of Nursing faculty donated personal protective equipment to local hospitals and long-term care facilities.

Faculty within the Loewenberg College of Nursing donated personal protective equipment (PPE) to local hospitals and long-term care facilities. Delivered in late March, the equipment is critical for keeping front-line health care workers safe while caring for COVID-19 patients. Additionally, the college established a designated email helpline to submit questions in an effort to support students, faculty and staff. The email is staffed by experienced nursing and public health faculty who respond to any COVID-19 questions.

Still Driven. Still Doing. - UofM, Chartwells employees box food

In late March, UofM food service partner Chartwells took on an effort to help provide for Shelby County Schools students in need. Meals in to-go containers began being compiled in the University Center dining hall before being dispersed by the YMCA to families throughout Shelby County. By the end of March, Chartwells was providing an average of 7,000 meals per day through the University with 10,000 being the most in a single day.

August 17 | Update: 1 Million Meals provided by YMCA, SCS, Chartwells and UofM partnership for Shelby County students | Read more about this milestone >

April 28 | Update: 173,000 meals provided by YMCA, Chartwells and UofM partnership for Shelby County students during crisis | Read more about the partnership>


Tiger Pantry replaced its choice pantry model with a bag pickup to reduce health risks.TIGER PANTRY REMAINS OPEN

The UofM Tiger Pantry replaced its choice pantry model with a bag pickup to reduce health risks. The University Center atrium transformed into a pick-up location for bags and boxes that contain up to 14 days of food. Tiger Pantry also accounted for students with specific dietary needs or restrictions, and allowed students to schedule pick-up times online.


person using app on phone

The MD2K Center of Excellence, headquartered at the UofM, launched a free mobile app to help track social distancing during the COVID-19 outbreak. The app — mContain — was developed in collaboration with the Memphis/Shelby County COVID-19 Task Force. mContain leverages location and Bluetooth technologies in smartphones and sends notifications to users if they have had a recent encounter with a COVID-19 positive individual. The app reduces the chance of community transmission by providing an early warning to users who may be at risk of infection.

CSD student with communication boardSchool of Communication Sciences and Disorders creates communication boards for ICU patients

The boards are designed for patients who are – or recently were – intubated, or who are in isolation and may not be able to speak.

Learn more about the boards>

- Thursday, March 11, 2021 -

UofMUofM, American Esoteric Laboratories & Memphis and Shelby County COVID-19 Task Force Collaborate to Successfully Contain UK Mutant Strain

A pandemic success story occurred early last month as quick response and collaboration among the University of Memphis, American Esoteric Laboratories (AEL) and the Memphis and Shelby County COVID-19 Task Force helped quell the spread of the UK strain in Memphis Athletics.

Read about the collaboration >

- Wednesday, May 13, 2020 -

baseballUofM Global offers free online course – Baseball: For the Love of the Game

The course will be taught by two instructors with an extensive knowledge of baseball, Curt Hart and Reggie Williams.

More details and how to register>

- Friday, May 8, 2020 -

graduationLargest UofM graduating class celebrates milestones online

Although the University of Memphis won’t be able to celebrate spring commencement in the traditional manner, there are some noteworthy milestones to be celebrated.

Read more about the graduating class>

- Friday, May 1, 2020 -

University of MemphisUniversity of Memphis once again announces no tuition increase for upcoming academic year

The UofM has led the State of Tennessee in higher education cost-containment over the past seven years, with an average tuition increase of only 1.5%.

More details here>

COVID-19 testingKroger Health Partners with UofM and Cherokee Health Systems for Free Drive-Thru COVID-19 Testing

Testing will be Tuesday, May 5, through Thursday, May 7, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Learn more about the testing>


UofM and Malaysian American community partner on food drive for international students

Food donated by the local Malaysian American community will be distributed to 125 international students Saturday. More about the food drive>

- Tuesday, April 28, 2020 -

chartwells meals173,000 meals provided by YMCA, Chartwells and UofM partnership for Shelby County students during crisis

The YMCA, Chartwells and University of Memphis partnership has provided 173,000 meals for Shelby County students during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Read more about the partnership>

- Thursday, April 23, 2020 -

FedEx InstituteUofM committed to reducing research innovation barriers during COVID-19 pandemic

The University of Memphis has endorsed and committed to the COVID-19 Licensing Guidelines recently released by the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM), the global association of technology transfer professionals.  Learn more about the guidelines>

- Wednesday, April 22, 2020 -

Cato JohnsonUofM Board of Trustee Cato Johnson Selected to Gov. Bill Lee’s Healthcare Working Group

Cato Johnson, University of Memphis Board of Trustee and chief of staff/public policy and regulatory affairs of Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, has been selected to serve on Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s Healthcare Working Group.

Read more about the appointment>

- Monday, April 20, 2020 -

UofM to Host Site for Mid-South Food Bank’s Mobile Pantry Program Tuesday

The University of Memphis will serve as a host site for the Mid-South Food Bank’s Mobile Pantry Program Tuesday at 10 a.m. in the Central Avenue parking lot next to the Holiday Inn on campus.

More details about the program>

- Friday, April 17, 2020 -

FedEx Institute of Technology Holding Virtual Hackathon to Highlight Important Issues During Pandemic

As an opportunity to come together (virtually) to identify, support and bring innovative solutions to some of the most pressing challenges currently affecting us all, the FedEx Institute of Technology will host the Fighting It Together Virtual Hackathon April 20-24.

Read more about FedEx Institute initiatives>

- Tuesday, April 14, 2020 -

Maryam SalehiSalehi Conducts Water Quality Research in Response to COVID-19 Building Closures

Dr. Maryam Salehi, assistant professor of Civil Engineering, is a collaborator in a multi-university study concerning water safety in buildings closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Learn more about the study>