University of Arizona

Angela Gervasi / KNAU

Last week, the presidents of Arizona’s three public universities announced they’d require facemasks in classrooms and other indoor spaces as COVID-19 infections surge in the state. It comes amid a heated debate about mask mandates in Arizona schools and follows an executive order by Governor Doug Ducey and a new state law that attempts to prohibit vaccine and mask mandates. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius spoke with Northern Arizona University President José Luis Cruz Rivera about his decision to require masks and the university’s ongoing effort to limit the spread of COVID.

Chris Richards/University of Arizona

Vaccines provide a high level of protection against COVID-19. That’s one of the findings of an ongoing research study following health care workers, first responders, and other essential workers in Arizona. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke with Dr. Jeff Burgess of the University of Arizona Health Sciences about the HEROES study and why the rise of the Delta variant in Arizona is worrisome.

Earth Notes: Eat More Bugs!

Jun 16, 2021
The University of Arizona/Arizona Insect Festival

Close to a decade ago, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization issued a report with a six-legged directive: eat more bugs. With the human population set to exceed 9 billion by 2050, we’re going to need new sources of food to satisfy our growing demand. Insects are a rich source of protein, already consumed regularly by some 2 billion people worldwide.

Spanish is the second most commonly spoken language in the country next to English. In Arizona, translations can be found everywhere — from ATMs and voting materials, to signs at national parks.


But when it comes to information about the COVID-19 pandemic, multilingual resources haven’t always been readily available. Medical experts say unclear communication can lead to difficulties in receiving proper health care. 


NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

An Arizona-led spacecraft mission begins its journey back to Earth today after successfully scooping up a sample of an asteroid. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports.

COVID-19 Study Expands To Spanish-Speaking Arizonans

Apr 30, 2021
Angela Gervasi

University of Arizona researchers are analyzing COVID-19 immunity and vaccine effectiveness among essential workers. Now, the study will include Spanish-speaking participants — a group that has been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

The AZ HEROES study focuses on those who work in health care, food service, and other essential industries. Karla Ledezma, a research coordinator for the study, says including Spanish-speaking participants will provide a more complete dataset. 

University of Arizona Health Sciences

Mexican-American children north of the U.S.-Mexico border generally live in cleaner, healthier homes than those to the south. And yet, they have much higher rates of asthma. Scientists at the University of Arizona Health Sciences think exposure to some kinds of bacteria may be a good thing when it comes to asthma. They’re recruiting mothers and babies in Tucson and Nogales to test that idea, called “the hygiene hypothesis.” KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke with Dr. Fernando Martinez about the study.

AP Photo/Matt York, file

Migrants trekking across the Arizona borderlands have died at higher rates in the two decades since stepped up enforcement began funneling them into remote, hostile desert and mountain regions.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

A committee of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will meet tomorrow to discuss granting an emergency authorization to Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine. It’s expected to receive approval and could start shipping nationwide as early as this weekend. More than thirty thousand people volunteered for the clinical trial, which showed the vaccine is safe and effective. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke with one of those volunteers, Dr. Sam Keim, a professor of emergency medicine at the University of Arizona.

Matthew Verdolivo/UC Davis

At the end of the last Ice Age roughly ten thousand years ago, hunting was a group sport. That’s because hunters in North and South America had to tackle big prey like mammoths and giant camels. Archeologists often assume ancient hunters were men, but a new archeological study questions that idea. It argues at least some of those early indigenous hunters were female. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny speaks with anthropologist Jim Watson of the University of Arizona about upending the “man the hunter” myth.