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USF medical engineers to mass produce face shields for protection against coronavirus

TAMPA, Fla. (March 30, 2020) - The University of South Florida College of Engineering has delivered 100 face shields to Tampa General Hospital - one of several ongoing initiatives at USF to address the nationwide shortage of personal protective equipment. Medical staff wear the shields over face masks while interacting with patients to protect against the spread of coronavirus.

The USF Mini-Circuits Design for X Laboratory has developed an assembly line under the direction of Michael Celestin, PhD, to create the face shields with materials such as mylar, elastic and foam. Celestin and his team are producing one per minute and hope over the next month to manufacture 10,000 face shields to be donated to Tampa General Hospital, USF’s primary teaching hospital and the USF Health faculty practice.

"USF Engineering is totally committed to supporting our medical front line workers and local community,” said Celestin. “As we come together and find new local manufacturing solutions, build new interdisciplinary ties, and are pressed to innovate with available resources, it's clear that we will emerge stronger than before."

“This is the first time we’ve had a medical emergency that’s required engineers to partner with the Morsani College of Medicine in an effective and fast way,” said Robert H. Bishop, PhD, PE, dean of the USF College of Engineering. “We are facing a real-world crisis where we need to deliver and that’s exactly what we are doing.”

“We face a national shortage of personal protective equipment and our USF College of Engineering is helping to fill the gap with their innovative design and production approach to help protect our frontline providers,” said Charles J. Lockwood, MD, senior vice president of USF Health and dean of the Morsani College of Medicine.

In addition to face shields, USF researchers from a variety of disciplines are working tirelessly to develop new methods to combat COVID-19 and to produce materials that can help better protect our medical community.

About the University of South Florida

The University of South Florida is a high-impact global research university dedicated to student success. Over the past 10 years, no other public university in the country has risen faster in U.S. News and World Report’s national university rankings than USF. Serving more than 50,000 students on campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee, USF is designated as a Preeminent State Research University by the Florida Board of Governors, placing it in the most elite category among the state’s 12 public universities. USF has earned widespread national recognition for its success graduating under-represented minority and limited-income students at rates equal to or higher than white and higher income students. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference. Learn more at www.usf.edu.