Robert Washino, emeritus professor of entomology, emeritus chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, and emeritus associate dean of the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, praised him for his research and friendship.
"I first met Mir who was on the UC Riverside campus in the early 1960s for the first organizational meeting of the UC Systemwide Mosquito Research Program with biologists representing UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UCLA and UC Riverside," Washino recalled. "From that day forward, all of us in mosquito research competed for research funding and became either friends and/or competitors and sometimes both. I could have written a book on all that took place and it would have been a best seller if it were ever published but it was fun while it lasted!"
That was when the names of Barr, Work, Shaefer, Garcia, Reeves, Belkin, Bohart, Mulla and Washino--and more--populated the mosquito research news, or names "from the good ol days," said Washino, now 91.
"Mir was a great help to me getting started at UC Riverside, particularly in my mosquito days," said UC Davis distinguished professor Bruce Hammock, who holds a joint appointment with the Department of Entomology and Nematology and the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Major Dhillon, retired district manager of the Northwest Mosquito Abatement District, headquartered in Corona, Riverside County, and executive director emeritus of Society for Vector Ecology (SOVE), based in Ontario, Calif., was a 49-year friend and colleague.
"He was my major professor under whom I got my doctorate," Dhillon said. "I met him when he was 49 years old and I lost him after 49 years. He was a great mentor and TRULY an exemplary scientist of international fame.”
Dhillon said that Mulla donated $50,000 to SOVE last year at a memorial lecture. Mulla is credited with helping establish the UC Riverside's medical entomology department. He was named a fellow of the Entomological Society of America in 1995 and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1998. The World Health Organization honored him with its Distinguished Service Award in 2010, and SOVE singled him out for a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.
Mulla's Formula. Mulla was a close associate of William "Bill" Reisen, professor emeritus, Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. Reisen wrote about Mulla's Formula to Estimate Control in a book, Vector Biology, Ecology and Control, pages 127-137, published in 2010:
"In California, the endemic mosquito borne encephalitides, including West Nile virus, are contained by special districts using integrated vector management programs. These agencies combine public education, source reduction and proactive larval control to suppress mosquito abundance to the point where tangential transmission of virus to humans is rare or unlikely. However, when these methods in concert fail to prevent enzootic amplification and the risk of human infection becomes eminent or is on-going, emergency adulticide applications of pyrethrin compounds are used to interrupt transmission. The efficacy of these applications has become controversial and some cities have opted to not apply adul-ticides. The current paper describes how a formula developed Dr. Mir Mulla some 40 years ago is still useful in solving contemporary problems of estimating percent control, a statistic useful in evaluating intervention efficacy. This simple but effective equation accounts for changes in both control and treated populations and thereby can be applied in dynamic situations where abundance is not stable. Examples are presented from ground and aerial experimental applications in Riverside County and from emergency interventions in Sacramento County in 2005 and Yolo County in 2006."
According to a 2008 UC Riverside newsletter, Mir served as a major professor for 27 doctoral students and three master's students; mentored more than 30 visiting scientists from overseas; and trained 20 postdoctoral scientists. "Dr. Mulla has made noteworthy contributions to, and has served in, numerous national and international organizations. These include the World Health Organization, with over 40 years of service in capacities such as science advisor, member of the Expert Advisory Panel, member or chair of steering committees or scientific working groups, as well as temporary advisor on numerous international projects. His publications (over 400) are well known around the world and are sought after by many scientists and specialists."
Native of Afghanistan. Born in Zangawat, Afghanistan to a family of 12 brothers and 4 sisters, Mir received a scholarship in 1948 to Cornell University where he obtained his undergraduate degree in entomology and parasitology in 3.5 years. He received his doctorate at UC Berkeley. In 1956, joined the UC Riverside faculty to help establish a medical entomology department, and launched his research on the control of eye gnats and mosquitoes.
From the Riverside Press-Enterprise obituary: "In his 50-year career as a medical entomologist, Dr. Mulla pioneered insect control methods throughout Southern California and the world. Mir's techniques for eye gnat and mosquito control improved people's health worldwide. He was a prolific scientist who authored more than 500 scientific publications. He loved field work and was a demanding editor, guiding over 30 graduate students. Mir led World Health Organization efforts to help developing countries control vector-borne diseases, including malaria. He traveled to many countries in this endeavor."
His wife of 64 years, Leila "Lee" Patterson Mulla, died Aug. 9, 2019 at age 88. They met at the International House at UC Berkeley during his graduate studies and married in August 1954. They raised four children, David, Shireen, Dean and Janet.
"Mir served as a leader in the Riverside Muslim community," according to the obituary. "He and Lelia founded the Islamic Society of Riverside and Orange Counties and played a key role in building the Islamic Center of Riverside, the first mosque in the Inland Empire. His philanthropic work included supporting the local Muslim community, donating land to Riverside County Parks to preserve public access to Sugarloaf Mountain for generations and establishing scholarships with the University of California Riverside in the College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences."
A Muslim funeral prayer (Janazah) will be held Friday, Feb. 3 after the 1 p.m. Jum'a prayer at Islamic Center of Riverside, 1038 W Linden St., Riverside. A public memorial service will be held Saturday, Feb. 4 at 11 a.m. at the Norco Family Funeral Home, 2645 Hammer Ave, Norco, followed by burial at 1:20 p.m. Saturday at Pierce Brothers Crestlawn Mortuary, 11500 Arlington Ave, Riverside.
Donations in his memory can be made to the Dr. Mir S. Mulla and Lelia L. Mulla Endowed Scholarship Fund, UC Riverside Foundation (access https://myadv.ucr.edu/ and search for "Mulla") or the Islamic Center of Riverside, https://www.islamiccenterofriverside.net/donate).
Or, as UC Davis distinguished professor Walter Leal of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology and former chair of the Department of Entomology, says: "Most of our colleagues remain so active that we are unaware of their 'retirement' until we see their signature with the suffix emeritus, emerita, or emeriti in an email or another document."
"Meanwhile, we members of the non-emeriti UC Davis faculty are so busy writing grants, manuscripts, and books; performing research and scholarly creative work; teaching; and engaging in critical services to the university and professional societies that we end up with little or no opportunities to get together and thank our faculty colleagues at the time of their retirement."
To honor his UC Davis colleagues, Leal created a video, "Tribute to Our New Emeriti," featuring 24 professors from eight colleges and schools who transitioned to emeriti in 2021-2022.
"The retiring faculty and their predecessors made the university a better place to thrive as we pursue research, scholarly work, and services and fulfill the university's instructional mission," he wrote on his YouTube site.
The video "highlights the accomplishments of those who have allowed us to acknowledge publicly their contributions to the various missions of the university over the last few decades," Leal said.
Leal noted that many "emeriti continue to make relevant contributions to UC Davis, including outstanding achievements in research and scholarly creative work, teaching and mentorship, services to professional societies, and outreach."
In his introductory remarks, Leal called attention to emeritus professor and medical entomologist Robert Washino, via text and images. Washino, who turned 90 this year, "epitomizes how emeriti continue to be engaged with the UC Davis mission," Leal said. "When I interviewed for a faculty position here, about 23 years ago, Bob was chairing the Search Committee."
Washino, who holds a doctorate in entomology from UC Davis, joined the faculty in 1967, chaired the entomology department from 1981-1987, and served as associate dean in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CA&ES) from 1987 until his retirement in 1993. From 1996 to 2001, he served as special assistant to the CAES Dean. During "retirement," he also directed the Center for Vector-borne Diseases, "which laid the foundation for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-sponsored Pacific Southwest Center of Excellence in Vector-Borne Diseases. Leal serves as one of the principal investigators at the Center, now led by Chris Barker of the School of Veterinary Medicine and the Department of Entomology and Nematology.
Also during his "retirement," Washino chaired the entomology department chair in 2005-2006. "To date, Bob remains as a 'go-to-person' for guidance in our vector biology activities at UC Davis," Leal pointed out. "Bob is an integral part of the UC Davis Emeriti Association that provides crucial support for excellence at UC Davis."
In the video, Leal covers these emeriti:
- College of Biological Sciences: Harris Lewin and Sharon Strauss
- College of Engineering: Bruce Gates
- College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences: Mark Grismer, Mark Schwartz, Andrew Waterhouse, Beth Ober, Steven Morgan, Edward DePeters and Julian Alston
- School of Medicine: Jay Solnick and Fredric Gorin
- School of Veterinary Medicine: Laurel Gershwin and Frank J. M. Verstraete
- College of Letters and Science: Sandra Carlson, Daniel Cox, Lynnette Hunter, Robert Feenstra, Geerat Vermeij, Robert Bayley and Gina Werfel
- School of Law: Judy Cusumano Janes
- Graduate School of Management: Brad Barber and Chih-Ling Tsai
In closing, Leal commented: "When you learn of a retiring faculty member, please take the opportunity to thank them for their accomplishments and for making the university a better place for us to thrive as we pursue research and scholarly work, services, and fulfill the instructional mission of the university."
He also mentioned the New Emeriti Lecture series in the fall, winter, and spring quarters. "Harris Lewin will deliver the inaugural lecture on Dec. 7, 2022. The winter lecture will be presented by Geerat Vermeij on Feb. 15, 2023. The series ends with the spring lecture by Sharon Strauss on April 19, 2023. All lectures are at 5 p.m., Pacific Time (in person and via ZOOM)."
A resident of Davis, Judson served as a faculty member of the UC Davis Department of Entomology (now UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology) for 30 years, from 1961 until his retirement in 1991.
"The Department of Entomology and Nematology lost one of its pillars with the passing of Dr. Judson," said Michael Parrella, professor and chair of the department. "Although the department's national and international reputation is based on the work of current faculty, it cannot be denied the prestige of the department can also be attributed to our retired faculty. It sounds clichéd, but we are standing on the shoulders of giants and Dr. Judson was one of these. Dr. Judson continued to be an active member of the department -- coming regularly to our seminars and participating in social events. Up until a few years ago, he helped teach our core course in Insect Physiology. Charlie Judson's contributions to the science of entomology and to the department will never be forgotten."
Born Oct 21, 1926 in Lodi, Calif., Charles grew up on a ranch in Riverside, where he developed and nurtured his passion for the outdoors, nature, science and animals. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy during World War II, serving on the USS Wichita.
He received his bachelor of science degree in zoology from UC Santa Barbara in 1950, and his doctorate in entomology from UC Berkeley in 1954. He and his wife, Marilyn, and family moved to Davis in 1958 when he accepted a position with the California Department of Public Health. He joined the UC Davis faculty in 1961 as an insect physiologist professor. He was a 35-year member of the Entomological Society of America.
“Our family quickly learned not to be afraid of insects, but to respect them in our environment,” recalled Jan. “We don't squish most bugs, but put them outside.”
“Charles enjoyed his work as a researcher and student advisor and often would invite students to his home, maintaining lifelong relationships,” Marilyn said.
Professor Judson launched the career of many PhD students; he inspired them to better understand insect behavior by investigating insect physiological control mechanisms
Emeritus entomology professor Robert Washino, former department chair and former associate dean, UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, recalled that “Charles Judson was one of the newcomers who among others--Professors Norman Gary, George McClelland, Donald McLean-- joined the department in the early sixties and introduced greater emphases on physiology and behavior into the teaching and research program that previously stressed taxonomy and regulatory entomology.”
“Charles was one of the first faculty members in the department to be awarded a National Institutes of Health grant for his work on mosquito egg physiology,” Washino said. “I believe Charlie's calm and deliberate manner of successfully carrying out his teaching, research and public service made him a most valuable member of the department. One of Charlie's most productive graduate students, Henry Hagedorn, went on to make major contributions in mosquito reproductive physiology at the University of Arizona at Tucson.”
Many of Professor Judson's colleagues praised him as an excellent scientist and wonderful friend. Said distinguished professor of entomology James R. Carey: "Charlie Judson radiated graciousness, trust and respect, and personified everything good in a university scientist, mentor, and teacher. He not only helped shape our department in its early days, but also set a very high bar for personal decency and professional integrity. Colleagues like Charlie are hard to find, difficult to lose, and impossible to forget."
Albert Grigarick, UC Davis emeritus professor of entomology, said “Charlie was a friend, colleague, and neighbor for nearly 50 years. He was always willing to help you in your academic endeavors or backyard projects. He will be missed by the many students that sought his scientific knowledge and friendly advice.”
Former graduate student Tom Batchelor. who focused his research on the nature of physiological lesions in insects caused by radiation, was Professor Judson's last graduate student. “Gaining control of mosquitoes to reduce their impact on human health has been at the heart of many research programs for decades,” said Batchelor, who now lives in New Zealand. “Professor Judson's research contributed to a better understanding of specific aspects of their feeding and oviposition behavior, and the physiological control mechanisms underpinning this behavior.”
Throughout his academic career, Professor Judson focused his research on the stimuli that caused mosquito eggs to hatch. “Using the eggs of Aedes aegypti and A. nicromaculis, he found that mosquito eggs in water under low oxygen conditions hatched readily,” Batchelor said. “Just the act of decreasing the oxygen concentration, and not just a low oxygen concentration itself, proved to be a powerful hatching stimulus. He also examined the ability of various compounds to penetrate the egg of the mosquito, since mosquito eggs are rather impermeable to water and several chemicals. His research on the ovicidal qualities of these compounds led to further research on better ways to control mosquitoes at the egg stage.”
Another aspect of his research explored the physiological basis underlying a mated female's predisposition to oviposit. Professor Judson showed oviposition was stimulated by a “biochemical signal” emitted by the accessory gland of the male mosquito, Batchelor pointed out. “Virgin females tend to retain their eggs and not oviposit, but they will oviposit if a male accessory gland is implanted into them. Similarly, Professor Judson showed that mosquito biting behavior coincided with the terminal phases of each egg cycle, and that fewer mated females fed at these times than virgin females.”
As an aside, Batchelor said he sometimes saw Professor Judson feeding his laboratory mosquitoes by putting his whole arm in their cage—“when the hamster was having a day off.” Professor Judson commented that feeding the mosquitoes this way was not putting his health at risk, “but rather the health of the mosquitoes exposed to low levels of nicotine and alcohol residues in his blood!” Batchelor recalled.
Entomologist Fran Keller, who served as Professor Judson's teaching assistant for his insect physiology class while working toward her doctorate in entomology, recalled that “Charlie was always happy to see students. At the Department of Entomology's barbecues, I remember how he would make the rounds and make sure he talked with all the students. My interactions with him as a TA for insect physiology were always informative, relaxed and positive. He enjoyed teaching and sharing his knowledge with students. He was a thoughtful, caring and compassionate mentor.”
“Charlie also served on my oral exam committee,” Keller said. “He had a way of confronting you with questions that made you think. As a mentor, that is what you are supposed to do. As a physiologist, he asked me, ‘Why do you want to work so hard on beetles doing a revision when somebody is just going to come along and change it all around in 50 years? You taxonomists always seem to be changing names,' and as a taxonomist I answered, ‘Well, if I do it correctly, then changes will be made when there are new discoveries, so I am providing a foundation for future work.' And he replied, 'Okay that makes sense.' He wanted students to think about their future and what they were doing. To say Charlie was concerned for and kind to his students would be an understatement. I am very saddened by his passing and I will miss his presence as a friend and mentor.”
In addition to his teaching and research, Professor Judson was actively involved in the community, working with Habitat for Humanity, Yolo County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), Yolo County Grand Jury, Yolo Family Service Agency, Sierra Club, Short-Term Emergency Aid Committee (STEAC), Senior Learning Unlimited and All Things Right and Relevant.
His other interests included politics, gardening, photography, woodworking and the building of wooden boats. He and his family spent many hours on Loon Lake, the Sierras, in his hand-built vessels, including kayaks, canoes and dinghies. His involvement with the Traditional Small Craft Association, his family said, “led to wonderful friendships, as well as involvement in Seeds of Learning, through which he spent several summers in El Salvador.”
His parents met on the UC Davis campus when both were students at UC Berkeley and were required to spend a year at “The Farm” because of their major. His father help plant the black walnuts on Russell Boulevard.
At his request, no memorial service will be held. The family will gather during the holidays to scatter his ashes in Monterey Dunes, sharing fond memories of beachcombing, digging holes in the sand, and just being together as a close-knit family.
Professor Judson was a strong believer in “walking the walk” by acting on his integrity and beliefs, his family said. In lieu of flowers, he would ask that people “pay it forward” by reaching out to another person or group.
Dec. 13, 2011
DAVIS--Most people have never served 38 consecutive years on an executive board that looks out for the health and welfare of two million people.
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.
He retired Dec. 13 as the longest-ever trustee term on the board. The Davis City Council appointed him as the city's representative to the mosquito abatement board in 1973. 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.
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.”
Washino spearheaded the name change from "Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito Abatement District" to "Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District" to reflect the district's expanded role in the surveillance of ticks, mites, fleas and other vectors. A vector is an insect or animal that transmits a disease to other animals or humans.
The Davis resident said he's overwhelmed by the reception and outpouring of thanks. “I'm grateful for the opportunity to serve,” Washino said. “A safe and an effective mosquito vector control program in the context of public health relies on the proper blend of science, technology, resource management and political smarts, but like any other successful program, it comes down to the quality of motivated people throughout an organization, such as this one that serves the residents of Sacramento and Yolo counties. Although I have served in a similar capacity at the state and federal levels, representing the City of Davis in this role has given me the deepest sense of satisfaction.”
Michael Parrella, professor and chair of the Department of Entomology and a veteran of the SYMVC board, described Washino as a thoroughly dedicated public servant. “Dr. Washino is totally committed to public service, particularly advancing public welfare,” said Parrella, praising how Washino guided scientists and shared information on vector ecology and mosquitoes and other vectors.
While on the board, Washino proposed and helped design and develop the laboratory/library resource center built n 1994 on the 40-acre district complex. And, for research and teaching purposes, Washino gifted his entire collection of mosquito-related books and journals, photographs and slides to the district. The center, dedicated in 1994, bears his name.
The SYMVC facility "continues to be viewed as the standard of vector control operations in California,” Brown said.
In 1990, Washino saw triple public service. Not only was he president of the SYMVC Board of Trustees, but of the statewide California Mosquito and Vector Control Association, and associate dean of Academic Affairs, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
A native of Sacramento, Washino recalled that in his childhood, he greatly admired the work of mosquito experts. "I, too, vowed to make a difference," he said. He drew inspiration from the work of the Rockefeller Foundation for developing the 17D vaccine against yellow fever. He also admired Walter Reed, who discovered the role of the mosquito as the culprit in the transmission of the yellow fever virus.
Washino received both his master's degree and doctorate in entomology from UC Davis, 1956 and 1967 respectively. After completing his master's thesis, he joined the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps, serving as a lieutenant from 1956 through 1958 and seeing duty in Europe (Orléans, France for two years). He conducted a small detachment and a laboratory and later served an assistant preventative medicine officer.
Washino joined the UC Davis Department of Entomology faculty in 1964. He chaired the department from 1981-1987 and again in his retirement years.
Throughout his academic career and his retirement life today, Washino “gives freely of his time and expertise to state, federal and international agencies as well as the private sector,” Parrella said.
During his retirement, Washino 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 Department of Entomology.
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. Among his other awards. the 1996 Distinguished Achievement Award from the Society of Vector Ecology; and 1987 C. W. Woodworth Award from the Pacific Branch of the Entomological Society of America; and the 2001 Award of Distinction from the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
A past president of the American Mosquito Control Association, former director of the UC ANR Statewide Center for Pest Management and an ongoing consultant with the USDA Cooperative State Research Service, Washino has also worked with groups ranging from the World Health Organization to the Entomological Society of America.
He published 193 papers and abstracts on topics related to mosquito biology, ecology, and control. He co-authored the last complete treatise on the Mosquitoes of California. Among his other activities: he testified before congressional committees and the UC Board of Regents, and served on USDA and California Department of Food and Agriculture task forces targeting such insects as the Africanized honey bee and Mediterranean fruit fly.
Washino chaired the Contained Research Facility Committee that focused on the need to study plant pest and disease caused by harmful non-indigenous (exotic) organisms. His goal: to facilitate urgent research in high security quarantine facilities (bio-safety level 3plus). That work, during and after retirement, resulted 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,” Parrella said.
Washino's legacy also includes a mosquito named for him—Aedes washinoi. SYMVC district office posted a photo of the day-biting mosquito at his reception. Known as "The Fresh Water Mosquito”--because the larvae inhabit freshwater ground pools and shaded pits near rivers or streams--the Washino mosquito does not move than a half a mile from a larval source.
But Robert Washino moves. His career has taken him around the world—and back again.
--Kathy Keatley Garvey
UC Davis Department of Entomology
Washino, a global authority on the ecology of mosquitoes and mosquito control agents, received the prestigious medal from the American Committee of Medical Entomology at the 54th annual meeting of the American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH), held Dec. 11-15, 2005 in Washington, D.C.
“I'm dumbfounded,” said Washino, who retired from UC Davis 13 years ago but was tapped Nov. 1 to chair the UC Davis Department of Entomology for a year. “This is overwhelming.”
Only 14 entomologists have received the medal since 1987 when Washino's mentor, mosquito-borne disease expert William C. Reeves (1916-2004) of UC Berkeley, won the honor.
Washino not only worked several years with Reeves, considered one of the world's foremost authorities on the spread and control of mosquito-borne diseases, but “met and had coffee with” parasitologist-entomologist Harry Hoogstraal (1917-1986), a global authority on ticks and tick-borne diseases who maintained research facilities in Egypt.
Last year John Edman, director of the Center for Vector Borne Diseases, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, won the medal.
Describing him as “insightful, persuasive, and a kind person with admirable integrity,” Scott praised Washino's “outstanding contributions that range from classic studies on basic and applied science to training the next generation of medical entomologists to high level and very effective administrative posts.”
Scott said that Washino's papers on anopheline and culicine mosquitoes remain the bedrock for understanding those species roles in pathogen transmission in California.”
“He is an authority on mosquito dormancy and his publications on overwintering and diapause in adult mosquitoes are required reading by people serious about understanding that topic (Washino. 1977). Bob's work on mosquito blood feeding patterns is among the best ever done on that subject. His review with Templis (Washino and Templis 1983) on mosquito blood meal identification is a classic paper in medical entomology. Bob was one of the pioneers in the application of remote sensing and GIS (geographical information systems) technologies to medical entomology.”
Medical entomologist and professor Gregory Lanzaro, director of the UC Mosquito Research Program, said he is “very pleased that Bob has been recognized for his outstanding scientific work in the field of medical entomology. This is a very well deserved honor. For me, however his contributions go beyond his science. My first contact with Bob was when I was a graduate student. I had just finished giving my first major presentation at a national conference. Bob approached me and told me how much he enjoyed my presentation and we chatted about my work for some time.”
“To have someone of Bob's caliber recognize my efforts at this point in my career was a major source of encouragement and this encounter was the highlight of the meeting for me. Throughout his career he has taken an interest in and provided enthusiastic support for students and junior scientists. Bob always seems to find the time to listen and to share his expertise. He seems as interested in turning out scientists as science, to the great benefit of those of us who have come to know him.”
Although Washino retired 13 years ago, he's been tapped or “recalled” for three administrative posts since 1996. He served from 1996 to 2001 as the special assistant to the dean of the UC Davis College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. On Nov. 1, he began chairing the Department of Entomology, a position he also held from 1981-87. In addition, he serves as the interim co-director of the Center for Vector Borne Diseases, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.
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 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.”
Initially interested in bacteriology (he received his bachelor's degree in public health in 1954 from UC Berkeley), he credits an epidemiology course, taught by the very same William C. Reeves, in fueling his interest in mosquitoes and mosquito-borne diseases.
“This was a year after Western equine encephalitis and St. Louis encephalitis broke out in California,” said Washino, who, as a Berkeley student, interned for a local public health department in a mosquito surveillance program. “Being the new kid on the block, I was given the task of setting out traps and identifying mosquitoes from the weekly trap operations.”
The work cemented his interest in entomology. He received his master's degree in entomology in 1956 from UC Davis and his doctorate there in 1967. In between, as an Army Medical Service Corps medical entomologist in France, he became interested in mosquito-borne disease outbreaks among rabbits.
“After I left the Army, I worked for Bill Reeves as a National Institutes of Health predoctoral fellow,” Washino recalled. “Bill was mentor to me; I worked for him for three years in research on mosquitoes and mosquito-borne diseases.”
Washino joined the UC Davis faculty in 1967 and never looked back.
Washino, a father of three and a grandfather of four (he and his wife, Connie live in Davis will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary next March) describes his long and diverse career, working at county, state, national and international levels, as “challenging, productive, exciting, and most of all, fun.”
“It's been a positive experience,” he said. “I've met so many people and gone so many places. I wouldn't trade it for anything.”
Washino published 193 papers and abstracts on topics related to mosquito biology, ecology, and control. He co-authored the last complete treatise on the Mosquitoes of California. As a principal investigator, his research work was funded by the National Institutes of Health, United States Department of Agriculture, World Health Organization, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration and other agencies.
Washino served as president of both the American Mosquito Control Association and the California Mosquito and Vector Control Association, and was active in organizations ranging from the Entomological Society of America to the World Health Organization. He's a former associate editor of California Agriculture.
Since 1973, Washino has served as the Davis representative on the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District Board (SYMVCD). “Bob is a tremendous asset to our board,” said SYMVCD manager Dave Brown, “and I feel blessed to have someone of his knowledge about vector ecology as a resource. I've had the opportunity to bounce ideas off of him on numerous occasions in efforts to enhance our entire vector control program. Without his guidance and tutelage, I am sure our program would not be as effective as it is today.”
Washino said the district's surveillance program is “probably the most ambitious in the country. A laboratory on the district grounds bears his name.
And now, the Harry Hoogstraal Medal for Outstanding Achievement in Medical Entomology bears his name, too.
"I've led a very charmed life,” he said.
List of Recipients Includes Five UC Entomologists
Since 1987, five University of California medical entomologists have received the coveted Harry Hoogstraal Medal for Outstanding Achievement in Medical Entomology. It is given not by year, but by merit. Parasitologist-entomologist Harry Hoogstraal (1917-1986), based in Egypt, was a global authority on ticks and tick-borne diseases.
- 2005: Robert K. Washino, UC Davis
- 2004: John D. Edman, UC Davis
- 2003: Andrew Spielman, Harvard School of Public Health
- 2002: Michael Service, University of Liverpool
- 2000: Chris Curtis, University of London
- 1998: Gene DeFoliart, University of Wisconsin
- 1995: A. Ralph Barr, UCLA
- 1993: Thomas H. G. Aitken, UCLA
- 1992: James H. Oliver, University of Georgia
- 1991: William L. Jellison, United States Public Health Service, Montana
- 1990: William R. Horsfall, University of Illinois
- 1989: Robert Traub, University of Maryland
- 1988: Lloyd E. Rozeboom, Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health
- 1987: William C. Reeves, UC Berkeley