OSU Trace Program Comes to Eugene

Oregon State University brought its TRACE Community COVID-19 testing program to Eugene, sending three-member teams – one OSU student, one UO student and one professional –to city neighborhoods to collect nasal-swab samples from hundreds of residents and sewage samples from around Eugene and Springfield. This will further expand TRACE’s coverage, which includes five similar sweeps in Corvallis, as well as some study in Bend, Hermiston and Newport. TRACE will be working in tandem with UO’s Monitoring and Assessment Program (MAP). 

OSU Vice President for Research Irem Tumer told OSU Newsroom, “Bringing TRACE Community to Lane County is the perfect example of the power of faculty and student collaboration involving both universities.” Experienced TRACErs from Corvallis were expected to find a more welcoming city if they were accompanied by UO students. 

Roy Haggerty, dean of OSU’s College of Science and Co-Principal Investigator for the TRACE project, told Newsroom, “This partnership between U of O and OSU reflects our joint commitment to serving Oregonians. The fact that we are going door-to-door together symbolizes that we are teaming up to serve the community of Eugene together.”  

Dr. Leslie Leve, a UO Professor of Counseling Psychology and Alumni Faculty Professor of Education who is the Associate Director of the Prevention Science Institute. said, “We are pleased to partner with our colleagues at OSU on this important initiative.” Adding that TRACE’s work “complements the screening and testing activities provided by UO’s Monitoring and Assessment Program by incorporating community surveillance to provide an estimate of the prevalence of COVID-19 citywide in Eugene.” 

Brett Tyler, the other Co-Principal Investigator of TRACE, said, “Disease management in Eugene-Springfield is linked to disease management in Corvallis. This helps both counties, Lane and Benton, with the management of the disease, and also helps both universities figure out what the disease pressure on campus might be from the communities, and vice versa.” 

Tyler is also Director of the OSU Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing, which has conducted research with UO’s Bill Cresko, Professor of Biology and Executive Director of UO’s Data Science Initiative.  

“Very early on Brett and I talked about how beneficial it would be for campuses to team up to fight this pandemic because of the complementary strengths and approaches,” Cresko told Newsroom. “We’re very lucky to have two world class research universities in the Southern Willamette Valley, and I’m very excited that we can come together to benefit the public good.”    

TRACE Community testing in Eugene is being funded by Springfield’s PacificSource Health Plans. 

John M. Burt