You won't want to miss the UC Davis-based COVID-19 Symposium on Wednesday, June 3.
Dr. Robert Gallo, world-renowned virologist at the forefront of the AIDS epidemic and now targeting COVID-19, will headline the panel of speakers.
The free online symposium, to focus primarily on vaccines, will take place from 5 to 7 p.m., Pacific Daylight Time on Zoom and YouTube. (A pre-program, with interviews and questions, begins at 4:30 p.m.) It's the third in a series of COVID-19 symposiums organized and moderated by UC Davis distinguished professor Walter Leal as a public service.
Panelists will discuss:
- Is the polio vaccine a solution?
- Are the front-runner vaccines safe and effective? If so, when might they be available?
Gallo, who co-discovered that HIV causes AIDS, is the Homer and Martha Gudelsky Distinguished Professor in Medicine; co-founder and director of the University of Maryland School of Medicine's Institute of Human Virology; and co-founder of the Global Virus Network. He will be joined by Dr. Dean Blumberg, professor and chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, UC Davis Health; and Dr. Allison Brashear, dean of the UC Davis School of Medicine, among others.UC Davis Chancellor Gary May will deliver the welcoming address.
Also interviewed will be Dr. Atul Malhotra, professor of Medicine, Pulmonology, Critical Care, UC San Diego Health, and Dr. Stuart H. Cohen, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and director of Hospital Epidemiology and Infection Control, UC Davis School of Medicine. (See program at https://bit.ly/2AgVbxY)
Renowned honey bee geneticist Robert E. Page, former professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, will comment on bee therapy, a possible treatment for COVID-19 treatments (suggested by researchers in China but not yet investigated.) (See https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0041010120302245)
Retired UC Davis Medical Center nurse Carolyn Wyler of Sacramento, a passenger on the ill-fated Grand Princess cruise ship, will talk about her COVID-19 outbreak experiences from ship to shore. She and her husband were quarantined in their room for six days. They then spent 13 days in quarantine at Travis Air Force Base before being released. (Both tested negative.) A 71-year-old passenger on the same ship, but on a different cruise, was the first in California to succumb from the disease. Overall, two passengers and one crew member on the Grand Princess died, and 103 tested positive. (Read her amazing story on Ipinion Syndicate: "No one wanted us," she wrote.)
To register, post questions, and to link to the list of panelists, access https://bit.ly/2B2YGZm.
Among those asking questions will be Jennifer Cash, newest faculty member of the UC Davis College of Biological Sciences; Fred Gould, National Academy of Sciences member; UC Cooperative Extension advisor Surendra Dara; and University of Brasilia graduate student Raquel Silva.
Leal, a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, a member of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology faculty and a former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, is hosting the symposiums as a public service.
The first symposium is online at https://bit.ly/2VurK3Z. "You are our heroes," one viewer wrote.
The second symposium can be accessed at https://bit.ly/3b8TAau. "It was a great symposium--the personal story of the frontline physician was incredible,” one viewer wrote. Added another viewer: "Well, what an amazing finale and yes, we are taking it seriously, especially those of us older office workers. What a story of your life and death experience. Amazing presentation!" And another: "Congratulations on today's new webinar. It was excellent again. I look forward to the next one."
One more thing about the third COVID-19 symposium on June 3: Leal's interview with Gallo, who is as humble a person as you'd ever want to meet, is a must-see. Learn what sparked his interest in virology, what fueled his dreams, and why he doesn't plan to retire. Ever. Very moving.
Andrea Guggenbickler, staff academic advisor for the Global Disease Biology (GBD) major, part of the UC Davis Department of Plant Pathology, has received a prestigious award for her outstanding advising.
The 2020 Eleanor and Harry Walker Academic Advising Awards program, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CA&ES), selected her for the staff academic advisor award.
Guggenbickler coordinates a 400-student program that includes course scheduling, faculty and instructional reports, statistical analysis of the major, and individual advising sessions.
“Andrea has made such a positive impact on student success in the GDB major,” said Susan Ebeler, CA&ES associate dean for undergraduate academic programs. "She has created innovative materials for incoming GDB students to support their remote advising experience and she is dedicated to student welfare and ensuring that the basic needs of every student are met.”
Nominator David Rizzo, professor and chair of the Department of Plant Pathology, described Andrea “as a huge part of the development of the relatively new Global Disease Biology major at UC Davis. Since becoming a GDB major, she has played many different roles in the major.”
And “all with her trademark enthusiasm,” he added.
The story behind the story....as a student majoring in GDB from 2014 to 2018 at UC Davis, Andrea appreciated the “incredible support” she received from then staff academic advisor Brandy Fleming. Now, in a scenario turned full circle, Andea is drawing appreciation from students and faculty for her own “incredible support.”
“Although she has been a staff advisor for a only a short period of time (since June 2019), Andrea has had a tremendous impact on the major,” wrote Rizzo in his nomination letter. Praising her leadership, dedication, communication skills and problem-solving expertise, he characterized her as a “truly a caring advisor” and someone with “an excellent sense of the needs of our students in order for them to be successful in the major.”
The Walker Academic Advising Awards recognize faculty, staff, and peer advisors who have demonstrated excellence and innovation in academic advising for CA&ES academic programs. The 2020 recipients also include Jim Fadel, faculty master advisor, Department of Animal Science and Management; and Kiara Cuevas, peer advisor for Agricultural and Environmental Education, Animal Science, and Animal Science and Management.
"It's so nice to see our hardworking advisors being recognized college-wide,” said Nora Orozco, chief administrative officer serving both departments. Last year Elvira Galvan Hack, staff advisor for animal biology (ABI), received the Walker staff award and forensic entomologist Robert Kimsey received the faculty master advisor award. They went on to win regional and international advising awards from NACADA, the global community for academic advising.
Andrea formerly served as an academic advising assistant to the animal biology and entomology majors, both housed in the Department of Entomology and Nematology.
“I've always believed in the power of advising,” said Guggenbickler, who received her bachelor's degree from UC Davis in 2018. “When I first met with the GDB advisor, Brandy Fleming (now an undergraduate academic advisor supporting majors in economics, history, and East Asian studies), she helped support me and my education in incredible ways. Since then, I've wanted to do the same thing for others. As a (student) peer advisor, I was able to connect with students based on shared experiences, which has been extremely valuable in my current position as well. Now, as a staff advisor I've tried to use my position to be a constant advocate for the students. I do my best to always put their needs first, and to do whatever I can to help students in difficult situations.”
“One of the main ways I've tried to make a difference in our advising center is to create our student pantry,” Andrea said. “We provide healthy, easily accessible, snacks and on-the-go food and drinks for students. Food insecurity can be a huge issue for students, and we have done our best to mitigate that barrier for them. The pantry is open to everyone, and we have gotten some really great feedback from students who have said that it has really helped them. Getting that feedback and tangibly making a difference has been by far one of the most rewarding parts of my job.”
Her favorite part of being an advisor? “Watching students succeed. I've been with the program in some capacity since 2017, so I've seen a lot of students come through the office. I make an effort to meet with every student at least once per year, and it is amazing seeing them grow, conquer obstacles, excel in coursework, graduate, and move on to their next adventure.”
“Advisors have a really unique opportunity to touch a lot of lives in a meaningful way,” Andrea said. “I can only hope that in my time as an advisor at UC Davis that I've been able to create a positive change in the lives of others the same way that my students have made a positive change in my life. As I move on to my next adventure as a master of public health student I will take with me the lessons my students have taught me: the importance of equity, advocacy, belief in oneself, and perseverance. I am thankful to the advising community in the College of Ag for creating a space in which advisors are able to make a difference for students while also growing themselves.”
Andrea grew up in Ferndale, Humboldt County, and now lives in Woodland with her fiancé, Tyler Baum, an associate veterinarian at Broadway Veterinary Hospital, Sacramento. Baum, a “double” UC Davis alumnus, holds a bachelor's degree in animal science and a DVM from the School of Veterinary Medicine. They share their home with three UC Davis-connected cats: “Butters,” “Toast” and “Dr. Professor Stripey Pants.”
"We got Butters and Stripey (they are brothers) from the Orphan Kitten Project run through the Vet School," she said, "and we got Toast from a shelter when Tyler did a shelter medicine rotation--and he fell in love with her and brought her home."
The couple purposely selected "breakfast names" for Butters, a light orange tabby and Toast, a black and white feline, but they couldn't bear to change the name of Dr. Professor Stripey Pants, a gray tabby ("it was too perfect").
Her career plans? “My career plans are to complete my master's degree in public health, and hopefully pursue my Ph.D in public health. After that I would love to dive into public health research and advocacy for women and minority health. Ideally, in the future, I would like to do some teaching at the collegiate level.”
Rizzo says that GDB is now the fifth largest major in the CA&ES, but it still maintains the “small-college” feel. Among Andrea's many accomplishments: modifying and expanding the department's professional development modules. “Over the holiday break, she developed a series of orientation modules (seven in total) within Canvas,” he wrote. “All in all, the whole project is amazing. And it was done without dropping the ball with any of her traditional advising.”
As a facilitator with First-Year Aggie Connections, Guggenbickler mentors students as they navigate their first-year experience. She created a 10-week course on professional development that encompasses such topics as “how to read a scientific paper” and “how to create a resume.”
In a group letter, GDB students Austin Dalmasso, Bianca Arao and Brandon Nguyen, all who worked as either peer mentors or peer advisors, praised her dedication and accomplishments.
“As the academic advisor, she communicates efficiently with students when they need to speak to her regarding urgent or sensitive circumstances, and when she is with students, she is attentive and sensible to any situations that may need care beyond her scope,” they wrote. “Andrea cares about her students and wants to equip them for success in their future endeavors.”
“Throughout all of the responsibilities that govern an academic advisor's role, Andrea is always looking for novel ways to improve student advising,” they wrote. “As students, we look back on our own informative orientations, and praise Andrea for making this year's orientation user-friendly.”
“From the countless interactions we have shared with Andrea, we are grateful that she always puts it upon herself to be an open crisis line. Andrea is genuinely supportive of our successes as students, and continues to be a comforting figure we greatly appreciate. It is Andrea's nurturing character that we want to honor and showcase to the UC Davis community.”
The UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program (UC IPM) targets the yellow starthistle on its "How to Manage Pests; Pests in Gardens and Landscapes" site.
But in the opinion of many a honey connoisseur (including Eric Mussen, emeritus Extension apiculturist, UC Davis), starthistle makes one of the best honeys.
What about the mead (honey wine) made from starthistle? What's that like?
You can find out at the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center's "Mead Making 201" course, where you'll taste "Star Thistle Ambrosia," from St. Ambrose Cellars, Beulah, Mich.
Amina Harris, director of the Honey and Pollination Center, says you can take take Mead Making 201 "in the comforts of your own home." The online course covers core information including guided tastings with selected meads and honey. "Each participant will go on virtual meadery tours and get to directly ask our mead makers questions."
The online course is scheduled June 22-23 and June 25-26, from 8 a.m. to noon each day, Pacific Daylight Time. The deadline to register is June 1.
The course, sensory-driven to help mead makers learn more about their craft, is designed for mead makers who have made six more fermentations and "have a lot of questions about how to improve," the officials related. "This mead maker knows that it isn't always beginner's luck and needs to do much more work to learn how to be successful each and every time."
The full-bottled meads to be featured:
- Blackberry - Schramm's Mead
- Statement - Schramm's Mead
- John Lemon - St. Ambrose Cellars
- Razzputin - St. Ambrose Cellars
- Tom Cat: Gin Barrel - Sap House Meadery
- Echoes: Rye Barrel - Sap House Meadery
- Coveters B2 - Lost Cause Meadery
- Snow Melt - Superstition
- Star Thistle Ambrosia - St. Ambrose Cellars
- Melia - Rabbit's Foot Meadery
Other items on the agenda:
- Spiked mead samples for defect tasting
- Mead Tasting Wheel
- Honeys for Honey to Mead Tasting
- UC Davis Aroma and Flavor Honey Wheel
All you mead is love--plus a little money (well-spent) and the time (well spent) to learn more about how to craft the world's oldest alcoholic beverage.
Welcome, Danaus plexippus!
A monarch butterfly, the first of the year, fluttered through our family pollinator garden in Vacaville, Calif. last Sunday and hung around for about two hours. We clocked him in at 5 p.m. and he exited around 7. He was on the move!
"Boy Butterfly" visited:
- the tower of jewels (Echium wildpretii)
- a yellow rose ("Sparkle and Shine," related to the Julia Child rose, a purchase from the California Center for Urban Horticulture, UC Davis, during its 2013 Rose Day
- a honeysuckle (genus Lonicera)
- a tropical milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) (it ignored the native "showy milkweed," Asclepias speciosa
- a butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii)
- a mallow (Althaea officinalis)
- a blooming succulent, hens-and-chicks (genus Echeveria): when it's blooming, it's referred to as a "rooster"
Then Boy Butterfly touched down on the ear of a cat (garden sculpture) while a mama California scrub jay watched closely. We could hear the baby birds chirping "We're hungry! We're hungry! Let's eat!"
Fortunately for the monarch, Mama's menu changed. She settled on some honey bees nectaring on the catmint (genus Nepeta), and left my Boy Butterfly alone.
A male European wool carder bee (Anthidium manicatum) chased him. A Gulf Fritillary followed him. And a bumble bee (Bombus vosnesenskii) almost collided with him.
And then this persistent photographer, armed with a 200mm macro lens, stealthily approached him...
Oh, the questions that Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology, fielded at the Bohart's first-ever virtual symposium, held Friday morning, May 22.
For nearly an hour (11 to 11:45), Kimsey answered questions about the Asian giant hornet (aka "the murder hornet," so labeled by the news media); earwigs, native bees, midges, cockroaches, butterflies, yellow jackets and mosquitoes, and others.
Kimsey, a UC Davis professor of entomology and a two-time president of the International Society of Hymenopterists, related how a single colony of Asian giant hornets (Vespa mandarinia) was detected and destroyed on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, and a single hornet was found dead in Blaine, Wash. They are the first and only Asian giant hornets detected in North America. There is no invasion.
Unfortunately, she said, other insects are being mistaken for the giant hornets, including the Jerusalem cricket, known as "the potato bug." Even "dog vomit" is being mistaken for giant hornets, she said, pointing out that a Washington state colleague shared with her a photo of dog vomit. Someone figured a dog had swallowed an Asian giant hornet and "that's why it threw up," Kimsey told her virtual audience.
In Asia, "people live with them and they don't find them particularly troubling" any more than we do our yellow jackets, she said.
"In Asia, people eat these things, which shows you how terrified they are of them," quipped Kimsey, mentioning that her former graduate student, Matan Shelomi, now an assistant professor of entomology at the National Taiwan University in Taipei, Taiwan, has dined on the cooked larval and pupae dishes at Taiwanese restaurants.
The UC Davis professor said that the Japanese honey bees are larger than our European bees and form a ball to "cook" an Asian hornet. "They (honey bees) pick up the smell (of a hornet targeting their colony), cover it, and shiver their flight muscles to generate heat. They can raise it (the temperature) to well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, which cooks the hornet."
Kimsey showed hornet and bee specimens from the Bohart collection. The hornet is about an inch and a half long, and "rarely gets up to 2 inches," despite what the media is saying, she said. "An inch and a half is still a big animal."
Unlike the honey bee workers, a hornet can sting multiple times. "Because it's such a large animal, it has more venom (than a honey bee)," she said, quipping "You could think about how nice they taste."
Kimsey said she's been stung by hornets and honey bees, and the sting of a honey bee hurts much more.
When she finished her presentation on "murder hornets," UC Davis spider specialist Jason Bond jokingly asked: “is there such a thing as a murder spider?” (A future Bohart Museum virtual house is scheduled to cover spiders. Bond, a noted spider authority and the Evert and Marion Schlinger Endowed Chair in Insect Systematics, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, recently discovered a new genus of spiders in Monterey County and is seeking public input on the species name. Suggestions are to be emailed to him at firstname.lastname@example.org by 5 p.m, June 1. See more here.)
Someone also asked Kimsey: "Are there murder mosquitoes?"
Other highlights of the virtual open house:
- On the website, you can access a drawing of an Asian giant hornet and download and color it. It is the work of UC Davis undergraduate student Meghan Crebbins-Oats. In addition, there's a drawing of a western yellowjacket to download and color; it is by artist Melinda Zavala.
- Also on the website, you can access a Swedish cinnamon roll recipe, posted there in connection with the Bohart's celebration of the birthday anniversary (May 23) of Swedish-born Linnaeus, "the father of modern taxonomy." UC Davis doctoral student Charlotte Herbert Alberts, of Swedish heritage, selected the recipe.
The Bohart Museum, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, UC Davis campus, is the home of some 8 million insect specimens. It also includes a live "petting zoo" (including Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and tarantulas) and a gift shop. In keeping with the mandated coronavirus pandemic precautions, the Bohart is closed until further notice.
Access the Facebook Live recorded video here.