The 11 scientists rank in the top 1 percent by citations, which represent how often their papers have been cited in other scientific papers.
Scott, who joined the UC Davis faculty in 1996, has published 288 papers to date. His total number of citations: more than 33,500. He is internationally known for his work on the ecology and epidemiology of dengue, a mosquito-borne viral infection transmitted mainly by Aedes aegypti.
“Although I retired from UC Davis in 2015, I have continued to carry out research just as I had previously,” Scott said. “In reality, I retired from UC Davis, but I did not retire from science.”
Scott focuses his research on epidemiology of mosquito-borne diseases, mosquito ecology, evolution of mosquito-pathogen interactions, and evaluation of novel products and strategies for disease control.
“I aim to generate the detailed, difficult to obtain data that are necessary for assessing current recommendations for disease prevention, rigorously testing fundamental assumptions in public health policy, and developing innovative, cost, and operationally effective strategic concepts for prevention of mosquito-borne disease.”
Scott has remained active on a variety of fronts. In 2015, he was in the early stages of two large grants (National Institutes of Health Program Project grant “Quantifying Heterogeneities in Dengue Virus Transmission Dynamics” and a sub-award from a Bill and Melinda Gates grant, “Spatial Repellent Products for Control of Vector-Borne Diseases”), which he continued to run and manage through the Department of Entomology and Nematology.
“So, I had plenty of support (more than $10 million) to continue my work,” he said. Both projects took place in Iquitos, Peru, and were jointly led with his long-term UC Davis collaborator, Amy C. Morrison, who is in the Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, School of Veterinary Medicine.
The Gates grant was a clinical trial to determine whether and to what extent a chemical that repelled mosquitoes would reduce a person's risk of dengue or Zika virus infection. Scott served as the project leader for the Iquitos trial. “Earlier this year we determined that it had a big protective effect,” he related. “We are currently writing that manuscript.”
“Both of those grants ended earlier this year, but we still have a lot of work to do and will be busy for the next couple of years writing papers about those projects,” Scott said. He is currently working as a consultant in a follow-up study on spatial repellents for dengue prevention that will begin in Sri Lanka during 2021.
“Prior to and after retirement, I worked closely with the World Health Organization (WHO), where I served on numerous committees,” Scott related. He chaired the Vector Control Advisory Group, co-chaired the Global Vector Control Response, chaired the Emergency Response Consultation for Zika Virus, chaired the Technical Working Group for Dengue, served on the International Health Regulators Roster of Experts, and co-authored the updated version of WHO's dengue management and control guidelines. He recently applied for membership on the WHO Expert Advisory Group on Arboviruses.
“Working with WHO is important to me because at this stage of my career, being able to translate my science experience into improved quality of life, that is, improved public health policy, for other people, many of whom live in poverty, is the most meaningful thing I can do.”
Scott, who holds bachelor and master's degrees from Bowling Green (Ohio) State University, received his doctorate in ecology in 1981 from Pennsylvania State University and did postdoctoral research in epidemiology at Yale University School of Medicine's Arbovirus Research Unit, part of the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health. He served on the faculty of the Department of Entomology, University of Maryland, from 1983 to 1996 before joining the UC Davis entomology faculty as a professor of entomology and director of the Vector-Borne Disease Laboratory. He was acting director of the UC Davis Center for Vector-Borne Research from 1996 to 1999, and director of the UC Davis Arbovirus Research Unit (2001-2003). He was selected vice chair of the Department of Entomology in 2006, serving until 2008.
Highly honored by his peers, Scott won the coveted Harry Hoogstraal Medal from the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in 2018. His other honors include fellow of three organizations: American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (2014), Entomological Society of America (2010), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2008). He was named a UC Davis distinguished professor in 2014. In 2015, he won the Charles W. Woodworth Award, the highest honor awarded by the Pacific Branch of the Entomological Society of America.
Other UC Davis scientists listed as Highly Cited Researchers include five others from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences: Eduardo Blumwald and Jorge Dubcovsky, both from Plant Sciences; Alan Crozier, Nutrition; David A. Mills, Food Science and Technology; and Andrew Sih, Environmental Science and Policy.
Scott, internationally known for his work on the ecology and epidemiology of dengue, received the award "for his outstanding contributions to the study of mosquito ecology, evolution of mosquito-virus interactions, epidemiology of mosquito-borne disease and evaluation of novel products and strategies for mosquito control and disease prevention."
He focuses his work on contributing to improved public health in the United States and in the developing world, where resources are inadequate and help is desperately needed.
The coveted ASTMH award memorializes parasitologist-entomologist Harry Hoogstraal (1917-1986), a global authority on ticks and tick-borne diseases.
Scott, who joined the UC Davis faculty in 1996, received his bachelor and master's degrees from Bowling Green (Ohio) State University, and his doctorate in ecology in 1981 from Pennsylvania State University. He did postdoctoral research in epidemiology at Yale University School of Medicine's Arbovirus Research Unit, part of the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health.
Scott served on the faculty of the Department of Entomology, University of Maryland, from 1983 to 1996 before joining the UC Davis entomology faculty as a professor of entomology and director of the Vector-Borne Disease Laboratory. He was acting director of the UC Davis Center for Vector-Borne Research from 1996 to 1999, and directed the UC Davis Arbovirus Research Unit from 2001 to 2003. He served as vice chair of the Department of Entomology from 2006 to 2008.
In 2014, Scott was selected a “distinguished professor,” an honorary title bestowed by the provost “to recognize outstanding faculty in the professional series who have achieved the highest level of scholarship.”
Highly honored by his peers, Scott is a fellow of three organizations: American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (2014), Entomological Society of America (2010), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2008). In 2015, he won the Charles W. Woodworth Award, the highest honor awarded by the Pacific Branch of the Entomological Society of America.
Scott is the fifth medical entomologist from UC Davis to receive the Harry Hoogstraal Award since it was first presented in 1987. Other UC Davis recipients:
- 2012: William Reisen, director of the Center for Vectorborne Diseases (CVEC)
- 2007: Bruce Eldridge, former director of the statewide UC Mosquito Research Program and emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis
- 2005: Robert Washino, emeritus professor and former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology
- 2004: John Edman, former director of CVEC and emeritus professor of entomology
The distinction recognizes outstanding Senate faculty who have achieved the highest level of scholarship. "These are scholars whose work has been internationally recognized and whose teaching performance is excellent," according to the website.
Leal, former professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, serves as a mentor in the campuswide Research Scholars Program in Insect Biology (RSPIB), launched in 2011 and administered by UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology faculty members professor Jay Rosenheim, associate professor Louie Yang and assistant professor Joanna Chiu.
RSPIB aims to provide academically strong and highly motivated undergraduates with a multi-year research experience that cultivates skills that will prepare them for a career in biological research. The annual deadline for undergraduates to apply is April 10.
Leal joins five other current or former faculty members of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology with the “distinguished professor” title: nematologists Howard Ferris and Harry Kaya and entomologists Bruce Hammock, Frank Zalom, Thomas Scott (now emeritus) and James R. Carey. Most are affiliated with RSPIB: Leal, insect physiology; Hammock, insect biochemistry; Zalom, integrated pest management, and Carey, insect demography.
Leal serves as co-chair the International Congress of Entomology (ICE) meeting, to take place Sept. 25-30, 2016 in Orlando, Fla.
The study, published in the Public Library of Science (PLOS), Neglected Tropical Diseases, contradicts the long-held assumption that once you're infected with a particular dengue serotype, you won't get it again.
“Our most significant result from this study is that immunity to dengue viruses does not always provide perfect protection from reinfection,” said principal investigator and medical entomologist Thomas Scott, distinguished professor and now emeritus, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. “The public health implications include evaluation of dengue vaccines, interpretation of a person's virus exposure history and susceptibility to new infections, and design of dengue surveillance programs.”
Dengue infects 400 million people worldwide each year, and 4 billion people or nearly half of the world's population are at risk for dengue,” said Scott, who has studied dengue more than 25 years and is recognized as a leading expert in the ecology and epidemiology of the disease. “There is no vaccine nor drug that is effective against this virus.”
“This finding could help explain results of dengue vaccine trials that showed poor efficacy against one of the four serotype,” Stoddard said. “It also has broad implications for vaccine development.”
The research team investigated the "validity of the fundamental assumption" by analyzing a large epidemic caused by a new strain of DENV-2 that invaded Iquitos, Peru, in 2010-2011, 15 years after the first outbreak of DENV-2 in the region.
"Our data indicates that protection from homologous DENV re-infection may be incomplete in some circumstances, which provides context for the limited vaccine efficacy against DENV-2 in recent trials," the research team wrote. "Further studies are warranted to confirm this phenomenon and to evaluate the potential role of incomplete homologous protection in DENV transmission dynamics."
Scott and Amy Morrison of the Scott lab and U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit, co-directed the project in Iquitos. The paper is also the work of Sandra Olkowski and Kanya Long of the Scott lab; Robert Reiner of Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Mich., and the Fogarty International Center; Brett Forshey, Angelica Espinoza, Stalin Vilcarromero, Tadeusz J. Kochel and Eric Halsey of the U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit; Helen Wearing, University of New Mexico, Alburquerque; and Wilma Casanova, Universidad Nacional de la Amazonía Peruana, Iquitos, Perú.
While vaccines are under development, it is not clear how they can be best applied when they are available, including in combination with other interventions like mosquito control, Scott said. “New disease prevention tools, in addition to vaccines, and an improved understanding of virus transmission dynamics, which will enhance surveillance and epidemic response, are needed to reduce the global burden of dengue.”
The paper, “Incomplete Protection against Dengue Virus Type 2 Re-infection in Peru,”
is online at
They were honored at a recent meeting of ASTMH in New Orleans for their sustained professional excellence in their field. Fellows are selected for their work in "any phase of tropical medicine, hygiene, global health and related disciplines," ASTMH officials said.
Scott, internationally known for his work with on the ecology and epidemiology of dengue, focuses his work on contributing to improved public health in the United States and in the developing world, where resources are inadequate and help is desperately needed. His expertise centers on mosquito-transmitted disease; the bulk of his work is on dengue.
Scott received his doctorate in ecology from Pennsylvania State University, and worked as an epidemiology post-doctoral scholar at the Yale School of Medicine.
ASTMH, founded in 1903, is a worldwide organization of scientists, clinicians and program professionals whose mission is to promote global health through the prevention and control of infectious and other diseases that disproportionately afflict the global poor. Research, health care and education are the central activities of ASTMH members, whose work bridges basic laboratory research to international field work and clinics to countrywide programs.
Specific ASTMH goals include:
- Improving the health of people worldwide
- Advancing research in tropical diseases
- Fostering international scientific collaboration
- Supporting career development in tropical medicine and global health
- Educating medical professionals, policymakers and the public about tropical medicine and global health
- Promoting science-based policy regarding tropical medicine and global health
- Recognizing exceptional achievement in tropical medicine and global health