When you say "Thank you for your service," that not only means his service in the Korean War, but his entire career in medical entomology.
Dr. Washino, an emeritus professor/chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology (now the Department of Entomology and Nematology), is internationally known for his expertise in medical entomology and ecology, more specifically the ecology of mosquitoes and mosquito control agents; rice field ecology; mosquito blood meal identification, and remote sensing and geographic information technologies. He co-authored the last complete treatise on the Mosquitoes of California.
He is legendary for not only his research, but for his academic, administrative, and public service accomplishments.
However, few people know that during the Korean War, the Sacramento native served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps from 1956 to 1958. He saw duty in Europe (Orléans, France). As a medical entomologist, Lt. Washino conducted a small detachment and a laboratory and later served as an assistant preventative medicine officer.
And even fewer people are aware that as a child, he was incarcerated with his family in American-Japanese internment camps from 1942 to 1945. It was a sad time in American history. On Feb. 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, sending nearly 120,000 American citizens and legal residents of Japanese descent to internment camps. Young Bob was 10 years old and living in Sacramento with his parents and four older sisters when the mandate took effect. The family eventually returned to Sacramento.
Young Bob went on to graduate from a Sacramento high school, receive his bachelor's degree in public health (1954) from UC Berkeley; and two entomology degrees from UC Davis: a master's degree (1956) and a doctorate (1967). He joined the entomology faculty in 1964. He officially retired in 1993, but continued his academic, research and public service accomplishments into his early 80s. He still consults with the medical entomologist community, including prospective students.
As an emeritus professor, Dr. Washino was called back into service. He accepted a total of three administrative posts on the UC Davis campus: special assistant to the dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences; interim co-director of the Center for Vectorborne Diseases, School of Veterinary Medicine; and chair of the entomology department.
Dr. Washino served 38 consecutive years on the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control (SYMVC) Board, the longest in the agency's history.This included five terms as president. He was instrumental in spearheading plans for the design and development of the present 40-acre district complex, completed in 1994. The building that houses the laboratory, laboratory staff and the library is named in his honor. In fact, he not only designed the complex, but gifted his literature and photographic collection for research and teaching purposes.
Among his dozens of credentials:
- Past president of the American Mosquito Control Association and the California Mosquito and Vector Control Association
- Former director of the UC Agricultural and Natural Resources Statewide Center for Pest Management and a consultant with the USDA Cooperative State Research Service.
- Coordinator of an international symposium on “Culex pipiens Complex Symposium: Global Perspectives in the 21st Century” in Anaheim, Orange County, Calif., gathering together 17 U.S. and worldwide speakers, including experts from London, Japan, Australia, Portugal and Germany. This was part of the four-day American Mosquito Control Association conference. He published the results of this landmark symposium on Dec. 2, 2012 in the Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association; see https://bioone.org/journals/journal-of-the-american-mosquito-control-association/volume-28/issue-4s. The publication serves as a general landmark of how mosquito biologists currently view the Cx. pipiens complex. At the time, understanding the systematics of the Culex pipiens complex was one of the most controversial topics in the mosquito world.
- Chairman of the UC Davis Contained Research Facility Committee, resulting in the establishment of containment facilities on the UC Davis and UC Riverside campuses to solve the critical demand for strengthened pest exclusion, early detection, and alternative strategies for managing pest and disease problems. During the process, he worked with entomology, plant pathology and nematology faculty and with infrastructure officials on the two campuses.
Highly honored by his peers, Professor Washino received the international Harry Hoogstraal Medal for Outstanding Achievement in Medical Entomology in 2005 and was selected a fellow of the Entomological Society of America in 1997. Among his many other awards: the 2001 Award of Distinction from the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the 1996 Distinguished Achievement Award from the Society of Vector Ecology. At the 2001 Award of Distinction celebration on Oct. 19, 2001, Andrew Spielman, professor of tropical public health, Harvard School of Public Health, praised him this way: “I regard Bob as the most respected and best loved medical entomologist in the whole world."
Robert Washino is also a veteran.
A veteran of the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps.
And today is Veterans' Day.
It's time, past time, to say "Thank you, Dr. Washino, for your service."/span>
Noted medical entomologist Robert "Bob" Washino, emeritus professor of entomology and a veteran academic administrator at UC Davis, was hanging out in his back yard in Davis last spring when an aedine mosquito bit him.
He wondered whether it might be associated with the Zika virus so he headed over to the Bohart Museum of Entomology at UC Davis and handed the specimen to fellow mosquito researcher Tom Zavortink.
"The truth of the matter is that I was concerned that the mosquito biting me was either aegypti or albopictus associated with the Zika virus that is raising commotion all over the U.S. and the world," Washino related. "For that reason, I took the specimen to the museum and asked Tom Z. to identify the specimen, and of course, he excused himself from the meeting he was involved in, and examined the mosquito. When he completed the examination, he looked up at me and just smiled."
The mosquito: Aedes washinoi. Bob Washino's namesake.
"I loved the irony of it all," said his close friend Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and professor of entomology at UC Davis. "Bob Washino being bitten by Aedes washinoi in the Washino yard! Truly awesome."
Aedes washinoi is one of five mosquitoes named for former University of California faculty:
- Anopheles hermsi: for William B. Herms (1876-1949), UC Berkeley
- Anopheles freeborni, for Stanley Freeborn (1891-1960), first UC Davis chancellor (1958-59)
- Culex boharti: for Richard Bohart (1913-2007) UC Davis, for whom the Bohart Museum of Entomology is named
- Culex reevesi for William Reeves, (1916-2004), UC Berkeley
- Aedes washinoi for Robert Washino, UC Davis
UC Davis medical entomologists Bruce Eldridge (now emeritus) and Gregory Lanzaro named the mosquito in his honor in 1992.
Born and reared in Sacramento, Washino never strayed far from his roots, except for two years in France as a medical entomologist with the Army Medical Service Corps, 1956-1958, during the Korean War. His parents, natives of Japan, grew hops on their farm in the Sacramento Valley. Later his father became a successful Sacramento florist shop and hotel owner.
Washino said a career in biomedical sciences always intrigued him, “but there was no one event that led me to a career in medical entomology. I just happened to be at the right place at the right time.” He received his bachelor of science degree in 1954 from UC Berkeley; his master's degree in entomology from UC Davis in 1956; and his doctorate in entomology from UC Davis in 1967.
His career at UC Davis spanned 30 years, from 1964-1994. That included multiple terms as chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology (now the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology) and he also served as an associate dean of the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and as a special assistant. He is a past president of both the American Mosquito Control Association and the California Mosquito and Vector Control Association, and co-author of Mosquitoes of California with Richard Bohart. He is a fellow of the Entomological Society of America.
More locally, he was appointed by the City of Davis to the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District's Board of Trustees in 1973 and served 38 years, longer than any other trustee. He was elected president five times. For research and teaching purposes, he generously gifted his entire collection of books and journals, reprints, unpublished master of science and doctorate theses (from UC Davis, UCLA, UC Riverside) and an estimated 1000 2x2 slides to the library. The building that houses the library, laboratory and lab staff bears his name, the Washino Laboratory.
One of the many highlights of his career: Washino received the prestigious Harry Hoogstraal Medal from the American Committee of Medical Entomology at the 54th annual meeting of the American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH), held in December 2005 in Washington, D.C.
In 2010, Washino coordinated an all-day mosquito symposium at the American Mosquito Control Association's five-day conference in Anaheim, Orange County. He gathered together 17 U.S. and worldwide speakers, including experts from London, Japan, Australia, Portugal and Germany.
And then, six years later...what are the odds? His namesake, Aedes washinoi, bit him in his own back yard.
"I think Lynn really enjoyed the irony of that incident," Washino said, smiling, "and we all had a big laugh at my expense."
But then again medical entomologist Robert Washino isn't “most people.”
Washino, emeritus professor and former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and former associate dean of the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, has just completed 38 years of service as a trustee of the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District (SYMVC) Governing Board.
And after 38 years, he's retiring from the board.
Washino has served longer than any other trustee in the history of the board. Indeed, that's almost four decades. The Davis City Council appointed him as the city's representative to the mosquito abatement board in 1973. It's a big district. The district covers 2000 square miles in Yolo and Sacramento counties.
The SYMVC board honored him at its Dec. 13th meeting, held in the district headquarters, Elk Grove, with a proclamation for his “exemplary public service and dedication to public health.” Next, the Davis City Council will present a proclamation at its meeting beginning at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 20 in the Community Chambers, 23 Russell Blvd.
Washino, now 79, served as president of the board five times during his tenure.
The SYMVC laboratory/library is named in his honor. Washino gifted his entire collection of mosquito-related books and journals, photographs and slides to the district for research and teaching purposes.
Internationally known for his expertise on mosquitoes, “Dr. Washino brought a perspective to the board that is difficult to replace,” SYMVC Manager David Brown said. “He is known worldwide for his work on mosquitoes and public health and bringing that knowledge to the district has provided a level of service that is hard to match. Without his guidance and tutelage, I am sure our program would not be as effective as it is today.”
One of the highlights of his career occurred in 2005 when he received the international Harry Hoogstraal Medal for Outstanding Achievement in Medical Entomology for his work on the ecology of mosquitoes and mosquito control agents.
He also has a mosquito named for him: Aedes washinoi.
"It's a tiny one," he says.
So, Bob Washino, mosquito man extraordinaire, is stepping down. We're not sure, though, that he can ever totally step down.
He has too much public service in his heart.