Good science is done on Puerto Rico

People are still trying to simply survive in Puerto Rico, so your first efforts to help should be directed at more general causes. But in addition, universities and labs have been disrupted by the hurricane, and it’s going to take time and money to get the science flowing again. The Society for Developmental Biology is coordinating efforts to help developmental biologists on the island get back on their feet, so here’s a place where you can contribute:

In view of the extensive damage caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria to the laboratories of our colleagues in Puerto Rico, the Society for Developmental Biology has set up a relief grant program in order to facilitate the continuation of research programs in those labs or at another temporary host location. We come to you to ask for help matching (or surpassing) SDB’s seed funds ($20,000) to the program. This will allow us to provide a higher level of assistance beyond SDB’s current capacity. You may earmark your contribution via SDB’s website on the donation page, by clicking Puerto Rico Relief Fund.

Investigators at institutions located in Puerto Rico who are currently conducting research projects in developmental biology may apply for a grant. Priority will be given to current SDB members. Funds may be used for replacement of organisms, reagents, supplies, travel to host lab by PI or his/her trainees, core facility usage fees at host institution, etc.


  1. blf says

    Related, albeit not Puerto Rico, Students displaced by Hurricane Irma make Preston [UK] their new home:

    More than 700 medical students and staff from the devastated island of St Maarten move to University of Central Lancashire

    Irma have moved 4,000 miles to Preston to continue their studies, days after being airlifted from their devastated Caribbean island.

    The students arrived in the Lancashire town last week after being evacuated from Dutch St Maarten, which was largely destroyed when Irma struck last month.

    Almost all of the students had to shelter for a week in the island’s American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC) when it found itself in the eye of the category 5 storm […]

    The students, who were eventually evacuated by the US Air Force, will continue their studies at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) […].

    The huge logistical feat was organised in just nine days, according to the UCLan vice-president, Prof Mike Thomas, and came about because of the AUC’s links with East Lancashire hospitals NHS trust […]

    Prof StJohn Crean […] said: “Our head of student services, Lisa Banks, found herself being pulled on the trouser leg and this little four-year-old boy looked up and said: ‘Is Preston a very windy place?’ She said: ‘Not really, why what’s the problem?’ and he said: ‘The wind at home blew all my teddy bears away.’ Obviously this struck at the heartstrings and we went out and bought him some teddy bears — he was overwhelmed and delighted.”

    Nathaniel Minigh […], one of the displaced students, said he and 700 others spent six days sheltering in AUC’s hurricane-proof building, turning it into a makeshift hospital and treating victims of the 185mph (298kph) storm.


    The new arrivals will use UCLan’s medical school on evenings and weekends, to avoid disrupting the timetables of the university’s students. Thomas said: “We’ve taken the whole medical school — 650 students and 30-odd staff — and just lifted them lock, stock and barrel into Preston.


    “This situation is our chance to offer help to people whose lives have been turned upside down through a natural disaster.”

  2. says

    Just since we have a chance to talk about la isla del encanto, the island is named Boricua. The country is named Puerto Rico, and it also includes smaller islands, notably Vieques and Culebra. Weirdly, the island was originally San Juan and the port city was Puerto Rico, which makes more sense; but the names somehow got switched. While Puerto Rico has a full service university and I’m sure does great developmental biology, its most famous science facility is the Arecibo radio telescope, which was damaged. I’m not sure what it’s going to take to rebuild it.

  3. nomaduk says

    While Puerto Rico has a full service university and I’m sure does great developmental biology, its most famous science facility is the Arecibo radio telescope

    I did wonder what happened to Arecibo. I hope the damage isn’t too severe. It’s an amazing piece of technology.