- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
They replace medical entomologist William Reisen, professor in the Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, School of Veterinary Medicine. who retired in June.
Luckhart, a molecular biologist, is a member of the faculty of the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology and a graduate student advisor in the Department of Entomology and Nematology. She received her doctorate in entomology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. Her expertise includes the molecular cell biology and biochemistry of malaria parasite transmission.
Foley, an epidemiologist, is a member of the Department of Medicine and Epidemiology. She received both her DVM and Ph.D from UC Davis. Foley studies the ecology and epidemiology of vector-borne diseases, particularly tick-transmitted diseases in the western U.S.
Luckhart and Foley, as interim co-directors, will ensure that CVEC meets its mission of promoting multidisciplinary and collaborative excellence in training and research to understand, prevent, and manage vector-borne diseases, according to Michael Lairmore, dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine and Frederick Meyers, vice dean of the School of Medicine.
In a statement posted on the School of Veterinary Medicine's website, the deans wrote: “They will oversee and manage any endowments, contracts, and grants that fund collaborative research and training exchange programs between the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and School of Medicine, as well as key stakeholders and partnering institutions in collaborative training and research initiatives and programs. They will support and enhance collaborations across campus in support of vector-borne disease research and education, national and international collaborations through research and program grants to strengthen both basic and translational research and provide impactful support for the development of vector-borne disease policy locally, nationally, and internationally."
Their duties include coordinating the activities of faculty, staff, and students "to enhance scientific and educational advancement on campus in the area of vector biology and vector-borne diseases."
CVEC encourages participation of faculty from other academic units on the Davis campus and on other campuses in the UC System. Center research focuses on the biological interactions between vectors and infectious agents and between the vectors and vertebrate hosts of these pathogens and parasites.
In addition to the viral diseases of humans, domestic animals and wildlife that are transmitted by mosquitoes and other biting flies, the center also engages in research on rickettsial, bacterial, protozoan and helminth disease pathogens carried by vectors such as ticks, fleas, crustaceans, mollusks, and rodents. Faculty associated with the center have expertise in vectorborne veterinary and human infectious diseases and in public health entomology.
A unique aspect of CVEC is that its research encompasses the full range of activities from developing rapid and more accurate molecular methods for disease diagnosis and surveillance, to understanding the ecology of diseases in its natural setting, to the development of strategies and tools for disease prevention and management.
In addition to Reisen, past directors of CVEC are
- Bennie Osburn, School of Veterinary Medicine (1995 - 1996)
- Bruce Eldridge, Department of Entomology (1996 - 1997)
- Rance LeFebvre, School of Veterinary Medicine, and Tom Scott, Department of Entomology, (1997 - 1999)
- John Edman, Department of Entomology, (1999 - 2004)
- Fred Murphy, School of Veterinary Medicine, (2004)
- James MacLachlan, School of Veterinary Medicine, and Robert Washino, Department of Entomology (2004 - 2005)
- Greg Lanzaro, Department of Entomology (he is now with the School of Veterinary Medicine) (2005 - 2007)
- Dennis Wilson, School of Veterinary Medicine (2007 - 2009)