For most members of our community right now, staying at home is the best thing they can possibly do to help slow the spread of the global coronavirus pandemic. But one Bethany graduate in particular is in a unique position on the front lines of the fight against the COVID-19 disease. 

Bethany alumnus Dr. Ryan Troyer (‘93) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at The University of Western Ontario, in London, Ontario, Canada. He, along with a team of others in his department, are working on a vaccine for the virus and recently received funding from the Canadian government to help kickstart their research and development efforts.  

“Without the funding, it would’ve been very difficult for us to mobilize quickly with the appropriate resources necessary to keep working towards developing a vaccine and preparing for the future,” said Troyer. 

And while his team is prioritizing a vaccine for the current outbreak, he also emphasized the importance of thinking ahead. “I personally feel like it’s really important to be thinking about not just what’s happening in 2020, but what could possibly happen in 2025 or later on,” he said. 

“We’re trying to be as prepared as possible with the vaccines that could protect the population in the event of another coronavirus outbreak. The idea is to have a resource bank of vaccines that could be rapidly utilized.”

This sense of urgency in his work is something that some might find stressful, but right now it’s almost more of a blessing. “I feel like I’m actively able to do something everyday that’s working towards trying to keep people healthy,” said Troyer. “Personally, it’s helpful to feel like I have a goal that I am working towards every day.”

And that goal is sure to be a positive contribution to the efforts to slow the spread of the current coronavirus outbreak. We’re so grateful for Ryan’s work, along with other nurses, healthcare, grocery and other essential workers currently doing their part to contribute to the wellbeing of the global community.