It's online on YouTube at https://youtu.be/Paq0ka3NIP0
"We had a total of 1,234 registrants," reported UC Davis Distinguished Professor Walter Leal, the organizer and moderator. "According to the ZOOM's report, we had 749 users, 613 unique views, and 500 max concurrent views (max capacity)." As of 7:30 p.m., Jan. 14, YouTube showed more than 650 viewers.
More than 94 percent of the participants who responded to the survey were very satisfied or satisfied. Some indicated it was too long, that the presentations should have been shorter, with more focus on the questions and answers. One said he/she: “liked the use of undergrads asking and introducing speakers and sharing questions. Wow, UCD has some really smart people!”
UC Davis Chancellor Gary May delivered the opening remarks. UC Davis scientists Richard Michelmore, Nam Tran and Heather Bischel explained the COVID tests underway at UC Davis and the Davis community and answered questions. UC Davis Health physician Stuart Cohen, chief of the Division of infectious diseases and director, Hospital Epidemiology and Infection Control, answered questions about vaccines.
"Dr. Cohen is leading a Phase 3 clinical trial of the Novavax vaccine called NVX-CoV2373,” said Leal, a chemical ecologist with the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology and a former chair of the Department of Entomology, now the Department of Entomology and Nematology. “This vaccine has a subunit from the spike protein in SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and it's combined with an adjuvant, a boosting agent to improve the body's immune response to the vaccine."
Viewers also learned about “Healthy Davis Together,” a program partnering UC Davis with the City of Davis to prevent the spread of the virus and “to facilitate a coordinated and gradual return to regular city activities and reintegration of UC Davis students back into the Davis community."
- "Amazing presentation. Will the recording be archived to view? there was information that I missed (I was taking notes) and wished I could rewind to listen to a second time."
- "Excellent focused and varied content. Impressive development of infrastructure and community collaborations. Nice introductions to some of the content that might need background information for some participants without taking away from the more in-depth information."
- "Great symposium, well organized, good flow of parts, excellent info provided by presenters."
- "Honestly I didn't think it was going to be so information dense, Dr. Leal really surprised me with organization, structure and information presented through this symposium."
- "I found the symposium panelists to be very informative and accessible, and Dr. Leal did a great job moderating the discussion! I appreciated the diversity of the panelists that are involved in different areas of testing, distribution, and surveillance."
- "Went longer than expected but very interesting!"
- "Thank you for hosting these sessions and for spreading more high quality information on the Covid-19 pandemic. I'm very grateful to be able to hear from specialists actively working on or around this tremendous issue. Huge thanks to all of the people involved and UCD!"
- "Very informative and engaging. Thank you Dr. Leal for hosting this. Your hard work and time is appreciated."
- "Thanks so much for offering this symposium. It's very informative, and the simple act of viewing the conversation makes me more confident in our community's preparedness and our shared determination to stop the virus and keep our community safe."
- "Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity! It was an incredible educational experience and I really appreciate the time and collective effort that was put into this symposium to make it happen."
- "These symposia provide me with the best, up-to-date information about COVID-19 that isn't dumbed down so much as to be meaningless. Priceless access to these great minds. Thank you so much!! - From A Veterinary Epidemiologist"
- "Very well organized and facilitated. An overall fantastic presentation!"
- "I enjoyed the interaction between the panel speakers in terms of answering a question or simply discussing safety and the people involved in the vaccine and COVID prevention/testing process. I liked the interview-style videos."
- "I have to give a shout out to UC Davis attacking this pandemic in its 3-pronged approach (testing, contact tracing, quarantining) and giving personal guidance for each case. Having had to go thru it, it's definitely very helpful."
- "Witnessing how my husband's work doesn't have the same hands-on guidance is giving a lot of misinterpretations and lack of direction and more work exposures. Thank you."
- "I really enjoyed this symposium! It was very informational and I learned so much! I really liked how students were able to ask questions because as student I had some of the same questions!"
This was the fourth UC Davis COVID-19 Symposium that Leal has organized and moderated since April 2020.
(Note: UC Davis Distinguished Professor Walter Leal focuses his research on the biochemical and molecular basis of insect olfaction, or how insects perceive the world through the sense of smell. However, he is also heavily involved in public service.)
When you "make a mountain out of a molehill," you're exaggerating the severity of the situation.
But if you're an ant, you can make little mounds that might appear--at least to other ants--like mountains.
Quite an attraction at a Vacaville park are colonies of carpenter ants, Camponotus semitestaceus (as identified by UC Davis-trained entomologist Brendon Boudinot).
Park-goers stare at them, dogs sniff at them, and photographers focus on them.
BugGuide.net has a number of images of them. The common name? "The black and orange ant."
According to AntWiki.Org, the "nests are found under stones or in the soil, surrounded by a small mound (few cms up to 30 cms in diameter). The colonies are large with many majors. Workers are active during the night or during cooler times of the day, and tend Homoptera. Nest density can be very high. (Mackay and Mackay 2002)"
They belong to the family Formicidae. Distribution: Western United States as far east as Oklahoma, south to northern Mexico.
We remember reading about a grandmother concerned that her granddaughters, ages 5 and 3, were afraid of "plastic insects." To overcome their "irrational fear of insects," she introduced them to carpenter ants and together they began rearing them. She detailed the project on Formiculture.com.
What a great idea!
Meanwhile, the carpenter ants in the park are doing fine. Just fine.
"You know why they can't get COVID?" asked one park-goer.
"Why?" we asked.
"Because they have antibodies."
Do you have questions to ask at the UC Davis Symposium on COVID-19? Questions about COVID tests or vaccines?
UC Davis Chancellor Gary May will deliver the opening remarks. UC Davis scientists Richard Michelmore, Nam Tran and Heather Bischel will explain the COVID tests underway at UC Davis and the Davis community and answer questions. A new addition to the panel is UC Davis Health physician Stuart Cohen, chief of the Division of infectious diseases and director, Hospital Epidemiology and Infection Control, "who is running vaccine trials will answer your questions about vaccines," Leal said.
"Given the overwhelming interest in the coronavirus vaccine, we have amended the COVID Symposium's program to include Dr. Cohen," Leal said. "He is leading a Phase 3 clinical trial of the Novavax vaccine called NVX-CoV2373. This vaccine has a subunit from the spike protein in SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and it's combined with an adjuvant, a boosting agent to improve the body's immune response to the vaccine."
“This symposium will yield important information that everyone should know,” said Leal, a chemical ecologist with the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology and a former chair of the Department of Entomology, now the Department of Entomology and Nematology.
Free COVID-19 saliva tests are being administered by appointment to the Davis community--those who live in Davis or work at UC Davis--at testing kiosks on campus. It is a rapid, comprehensive laboratory-developed test that detects whether a person is currently infected with the coronavirus. The UC Davis Genome Center processes the saliva samples. Technically, the test uses a high throughput, real time, quantitative polymerase chain reaction protocol run on machines repurposed from the agricultural genetics industry.
The symposium also will cover how the COVID-19 tests administered in an hospital emergency room or at bedside can distinguish between whether a patient has COVID-19 or the flu. In addition, wastewater surveillance tests, also known as sewage tests, are underway to detect the virus.
Viewers also will learn about “Healthy Davis Together,” a program partnering UC Davis with the City of Davis to prevent the spread of the virus and “to facilitate a coordinated and gradual return to regular city activities and reintegration of UC Davis students back into the Davis community.”
Chancellor Gary May, Ph.D.
He became the seventh UC Davis chancellor on Aug. 1, 2017. A native of St. Louis, Mo., he received his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1985 and his master's degree and doctorate in electrical engineering and computer science from UC Berkeley in 1987 and 1991, respectively. Prior to becoming the UC Davis chancellor, he served as the dean of the Georgia Tech College of Engineering from July 2011-June 2017 and as the Steve W. Chaddick School Chair of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering from May 2005-June 2011. His resume also includes executive assistant to Georgia Tech President G. Wayne Clough from 2002-2005.
Heather N. Bischel, who joined the UC Davis faculty in 2017, is an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. She focuses her research on protecting and improving human and environmental health through more sustainable water and sanitation practices, with emphases on waterborne viruses, water quality and reuse, organic micropollutants, and resource-oriented sanitation.To build a local early warning system for COVID outbreaks, she worked with Karen Shapiro (VetMed) and campus Safety Services & Facilities to launch wastewater monitoring for SARS-CoV-2 at UC Davis. Through the Healthy Davis Together Initiative, she co-leads the Environmental Monitoring program with David Coil (UC Davis Genome Center) to monitor SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater, surface samples, and HVAC systems throughout the City of Davis.
Bischel holds degrees in civil and environmental engineering. She received a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley in 2005, a master of science degree from Stanford University in 2007, and a doctorate from Stanford University in 2011. She served as a postdoctoral scientist at the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Reinventing the Nation's Urban Water Infrastructure (2011-2012) and the Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (2012-2017).
Michelmore, a UC Davis distinguished professor in the Departments of Plant Sciences (College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences), Molecular and Cellular Biology (College of Biological Sciences) and Medical Microbiology and Immunology (School of Medicine), is the founding director of the UC Davis Genome Center, established in 2003. Educated in natural sciences at Cambridge, Michelmore joined the UC Davis faculty in 1982 and has authored more than 200 scientific papers. His multidisciplinary research utilizes molecular, genetic, and evolutionary approaches to plant genomics. He aims "to exploit such approaches for information-driven deployment of resistance genes in crop plants to provide more durable disease resistance." In addition, he is interested in fostering research to enhance global food security. His interests also include applications of DNA sequencing to all areas of biology and its increasing impact on society. In response to the current pandemic, he has been a major contributor to the team providing rapid testing for COVID-19.
Nam Tran serves as associate clinical professor and director of clinical chemistry, special chemistry, toxicology, Point of Care (POC) Testing, and the Specimen and Reporting Center (SARC). He is board-certified in clinical chemistry (high complexity laboratory director certification) through the American Board ofBioanalysis (ABB). He also serves as the instructor of record for the resident physician and medical student clinical chemistry rotations. He received his bachelor's degree in biochemistry and molecular biology in 2003 from UC Davis, and his doctorate in comparative pathology from UC Davis in 2008. He served as a postdoctoral scholar at the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), UC DavisPOC Technologies Center, from 2009-2011. During this time, Tram also completed a master's degree in pharmacology and toxicology. He served as a National Institutes of Health Mentored Clinical Research Training Program (MCRTP) Scholar from 2011-2013.
Dr. Cohen specializes in clinical infectious diseases and infection control in the hospital environment. He is interested in AIDS, HIV infection and treatment of immuno-compromised patients and serves as primary infectious diseases consultant to transplant programs. Cohen uses molecular biology to investigate epidemiology of resistant microorganisms. His laboratory-based studies look at susceptibility testing of HIV clinical isolates to multiple antiretroviral agents. Additional research focuses on new antimicrobial agents and chemokine and cytokine level changes.
He received his bachelor of science degree from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, in 1974 and his medical degree from Chicago Medical School in 1978. He completed his residency in internal medicine at the University of New Mexico from 1978-81 and a fellowship in infectious diseases at the UC Davis Medical Center, 1981-1983. He is board-certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Internal Medicine, Infectious Disease. (See his recent interview with UC Davis Health.)
This is the fourth in a series of COVID-19 symposiums that Leal has organized and moderated since April. A query from one of Leal's students prompted the Jan. 13 symposium.
The grant, titled "Strengthening Honey Bee Health and Crop Pollination to Safeguard Food Availability and Affordability," and headed by principal investigator Boris Baer, a UC Riverside professor of entomology, also includes Davis, San Diego and Merced campuses. “I'm very excited about so many different kinds of bee expertise joining forces through this project,” Baer said.
Honey bees pollinate more than 80 agricultural crops, including almonds, apples, blueberries and cherries. The pollination services of these tiny agricultural workers account for about a third of the American diet. However, pesticide exposure, spread of parasites and pathogens, habitat destruction and environmental changes are challenging beekeepers, resulting in decreased pollination services and increased food prices.
The grant is an important one. Co-principal investigator Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, which operates the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, says it well: "Most excitingly, this funding will not only support research that will help improve pollinator health so crucial for California's agriculture, but it will provide opportunities for training of students and postdoctoral scholars. Work focused on improving honey bee stocks via novel tools aligns well with ongoing work in the Niño lab and will further cement collaborations with beekeepers and growers.”
Niño, who works closely with California beekeepers, launched and directs the California Master Beekeeper Program, which uses science-based information to educate stewards and ambassadors for honey bees and beekeeping.
Other co-principal investigators are James Nieh and Joshua Kohn of UC San Diego, and a trio from UC Riverside: Kerry Mauck, Tsotras Vassilis, and Kim Hyoseung. At Merced, Marilia Palumbo Gaiarsa serves as a co-investigator.
The UC scientists plan a three-pronged approach to resolve the issue: develop better breeding programs, better medications and treatments, and better tools to monitor bee health in the hives. Small “listening and smelling” devices will be placed inside the hives to monitor bee health.
"Safeguarding honey bees and their pollination services requires beekeepers to be better able to manage the health and survival of colonies, which requires research into the causal factors and interactions affecting pollinator health, and the development and implementation of novel tools in close collaboration with industry partners. To do this, we will form a California wide, cross disciplinary research network and
- experimentally study the ecological and molecular factors and their interactions that affect honey bee health and their interactions to identify biomarkers of their health
- use the knowledge gained to develop and deliver new, effective solutions for stakeholders, including remote sensing of bee health, a marker-assisted breeding program, and the development of novel medications,
- build a research industry nexus to conduct collaborative research. We will also develop and deploy new extension and outreach modules that will be offered through UC Cooperative Extension statewide. We will support California beekeepers to build and maintain a sustainable and profitable beekeeping industry, which has implications for food security on a national level."
The co-principal investigators also noted in their grant proposal that "The current coronavirus pandemic and impending recession is putting more pressure on agriculture to provide sufficient and affordable food. Honey bees are key to such efforts, and supporting a California based beekeeping industry also decreases the state's dependence on managed pollination from elsewhere, thereby creating new jobs and income."
Funding also will help provide research opportunities for undergraduates, including underrepresented students, with the goal of ensuring that the pipeline of students who enter research, academia, industry, and multiple other professions reflects the diversity of the communities in which they learn and work.
This is all a win-win situation.
As Kohn said in a UC San Diego news release: “This network of bee researchers comprises a unique mixture of expertise that can apply highly multidisciplinary approaches to benefit the honey bee industry essential to the production of many of California's most economically important crops."
It's not only good news, but great news.
UC Davis Distinguished Professor Walter Leal, a chemical ecologist with the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology and a former chair of the Department of Entomology (now Entomology and Nematology), says the COVID-19 saliva test he received at a UC Davis testing kiosk is fast.
"I was tested yesterday at 1:11 p.m., the result was completed at 9:20 a.m., received an email at 10:50 a.m., remarkably fast!" he tweeted today. "Could we do the same with vaccination? Please join the 373 who have already registered (for the UC Davis COVID-19 public symposium).
Leal is organizing and moderating the virtual symposium, set for 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 13, when UC Davis scientists will share information on COVID-19 saliva, hospital, and sewage surveillance tests--as well as the Healthy Davis Together program. UC Davis Chancellor Gary May will deliver the opening remarks.
Speakers will include UC Davis scientists Richard Michelmore, Nam Tram and Heather Bischel, who will explain the UC Davis COVID-19 tests and answer questions. The public is invited to submit advance questions and also may ask questions during the symposium via the Zoom chat. Registration is underway at https://bit.ly/2Li9pnV.
“This symposium will yield important information that everyone should know,” said Leal. A query from one of his students prompted the Jan. 13 symposium. (This is the fourth COVID-19 symposium he's organized and moderated since April 23.)
At specially set up kiosks on the UC Davis campus, free COVID-19 saliva tests are given, by appointment, to members of the UC Davis and Davis communities. The rapid, comprehensive laboratory-developed test detects whether a person is currently infected with the coronavirus. The UC Davis Genome Center processes the saliva samples. Technically, the test uses a high throughput, real time, quantitative polymerase chain reaction protocol run on machines repurposed from the agricultural genetics industry.
The Jan. 13th symposium also will cover COVID-19 hospital tests (given in the emergency room and bedside) and wastewater surveillance tests, also known as sewage tests.
“Healthy Davis Together” partners UC Davis with the City of Davis to prevent the spread of the virus and “to facilitate a coordinated and gradual return to regular city activities and reintegration of UC Davis students back into the Davis community.”
Michelmore, a UC Davis distinguished professor, directs the Genome Center, and holds joint appointments with the College of Biological Sciences, School of Medicine, and the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Tram is an associate clinical professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine who specializes in clinical chemistry and point-of-care. Bischel is an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
“Registration is required for the symposium, even if you cannot attend the live presentation but are interested in retrieving the symposium video later,” Leal said.
- We are taking a unique, multi-disciplinary approach to screening and testing members of the UC Davis community for the coronavirus. Screening symptom-free students and employees will help better identify COVID-19 and track cases on campus.
- This COVID-19 testing uses saliva samples, is cost-free to UC Davis students and employees, and provides rapid results in 24-48 hours.
- COVID-19 testing is now available to all UC Davis students and employees and will be required on a weekly basis to access any Davis campus facility.