STEM Shoutout: Dr. Helen Wearing

UNM biology and math professor on NM Covid-19 pandemic response

Dr. Helen Wearing, a UNM professor in the biology and math departments, was interviewed by the New York Times about her opinion on New Mexico’s work against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Wearing’s interests focus on “theoretical biology and disease ecology; using mathematical and statistical approaches to understand the biological processes that shape population and community dynamics, with an emphasis on host-parasite interactions.”

The article, “Coronavirus in New Mexico: How One of the Poorest States Averted a Steep Death Toll,” highlighted New Mexico’s quick response to the pandemic spread. Schools were shut down before most states and social distancing was aggressively implemented.

Wearing is part of a virus modeling group working with state health officials, and highlighted the work of her colleagues by sharing that “Hundreds of lives were saved because of what the state did early on, and that’s using conservative estimates.”