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 three recently lunched at a Davis restaurant with Hazeltine's sons, Craig of Scottsdale, Ariz.,and Lee Hazeltine of Woodland. The graduate students discussed their research and goals and thanked them for the Hazeltine family's support.
Olkowski, who studies dengue, is a four-time recipient of the competitive award. She was honored with the award in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016.
Since 1997, the awards have totaled a little over $46,000 to 25 recipients," Craig Hazeltine said.
About the recipients:
Sandy Olkowski is working on her doctorate in entomology, studying with major professor Thomas Scott, now emeritus professor of entomology.
“While working for a pediatrician when I was living in Thailand, I became aware of the significant disease burden that dengue places on populations in developing countries,” Olkowski said. “I returned to the United States with the goal of doing whatever I could to alleviate that burden, and subsequently applied to UC Davis because of the ground-breaking dengue research of Thomas Scott. I conducted research for my senior honors thesis in the Scott lab while completing a bachelor's degree in economics, with a focus on international development. I then continued on into a PhD in Entomology, with a designated emphasis in biology of vector-borne diseases. I am entering the 4th year of my PhD. I recently returned from 10 months of fieldwork in Iquitos, Peru.”
“My research is focused on dengue disease surveillance,” Olkowski said. “I am interested in identifying and quantifying ways that human behavior affects surveillance data. Rapid detection of increases in dengue cases is very important for public health officials, so they can implement vector control in a timely manner, but delays in treatment seeking by patients and clinical diagnosis by physicians may be impeding that process. I hope that the results of my research can be directly applied. Eventually, I would like to be able to sit down with public health officials and discuss evidence-based improvements to dengue surveillance.”
Stephanie Kurniawan is working on her master's degree, studying with major professors Ed Lewis and Shirley Luckhart. “Though I have lived in California my entire life, I often visited relatives in Indonesia,” she said. “During one trip when I was in middle school, I got dengue and had to be hospitalized for several days. No one in America knew about this disease, not even my pediatrician. This made me interested in vector-borne diseases and mosquitoes.”
Kurniawan went on to receive her bachelor's degree in animal biology with a minor in medical and veterinary entomology at UC Davis.
“I am adapting methods for estimating age structure of Anopheles mosquito populations using the captive cohort method developed by Dr. James Carey. It is a potentially inexpensive and practical alternative for real-time surveillance of mosquito populations. I currently am testing this method on local populations of Anopheles freeborni from Sutter and Butte County rice fields.”
Maribel "Mimi" Portilla, who holds a master's degree in public health, is seeking her doctorate. She studies with major professor Sharon Lawler.
"Just like many scientists, I am driven by curiosity, but often found myself wondering how I could apply myself in a way that would help others," she said. "I discovered public health, which incorporated my love for biology and my growing interest in social issues. At UC Berkeley School of Public Health, I was able to study health and disease within a larger context, and learned to consider the biological and the social determinants of disease. As I completed my degree, I realized I really missed the research experiences I had as an undergraduate. So, I looked for a way to bridge my new-found passion for public health and basic science research. This led me to UC Davis, where I learned about One Health and am now pursuing a Ph.D in medical entomology. Medical entomology is a perfect example of a One Health field, where I can seek out how interactions between humans and animals impact health. I am particularly interested in researching how disease risk may change as people manipulate the environment."
"For example, environmental manipulation is a classic pest control technique, yet the indirect effects of changing the environment are not always well understood. I am focusing on how the management practices of the invasive exotic weeds, Brazilian waterweed (Egeria densa) and water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta impact mosquitoes and their habitat. My goal is to better understand the ecology of these management practices in order to inform and create better techniques to reduce both mosquito and weed problems."
"Due to my diverse interests and skill set, I am very open about my career choices. I have extensive teaching experience, and would love to be a professor with both teaching and research opportunities. However, there are many opportunities beyond academia. My research is introducing me to many other ways in which my work and research can help keep people safe and healthy. I hope to develop a strong research skill set while at UC Davis, and find a career path which takes advantage of my diverse abilities and love for One Health and Public Health."
William Emery Hazeltine II (1926-1994), for whom the Bill Hazeltine Student Research Award is named, worked tirelessly in mosquito research. He managed the Butte County Mosquito Abatement District, Oroville, from 1966 to 1992, and the Lake County Mosquito Abatement District from 1961-1964. He was an ardent supporter of the judicious use of public health pesticides to protect public health.
Hazeltine studied entomology in the UC Berkeley graduate program, 1950-53, and received his doctorate in entomology from Purdue University in 1962.
Prior Recipients of Hazeltine Awards:
2015: Sandy Olkowski, Maribel “Mimi” Portilla and Stephanie Kurniawan
2014: Martha Armijos, Elizabeth “Lizzy” Glennon and Rosanna Kwok
2013: Jenny Carlson, Elizabeth “Lizzy” Glennon and Sandy Olkowski
2012: Jenny Carlson, Kelly Liebman and Sandy Olkowski
2011: Brittany Nelms Mills, Kelly Liebman and Jenny Carlson
2010: Tara Thiemann and Jenny Carlson
2009: Kelly Liebman and Wei Xu
2008: Ashley Horton and Tara Thiemann
2007: Lisa Reimer and Jacklyn Wong
2006: Christopher Barker and Tania Morgan
2005: Nicole Mans
2004: Sharon Minnick
2003: Hannah Burrack
2002: Holly Ganz and Andradi Villalobos
2001: Laura Goddard and Linda Styer
2000: Laura Goddard
1999: Linda Boose Styer
1998: Larisa Vredevoe
1997: John Gimnig
Scott will receive the award at PBESA's 99th annual meeting, to be held April 12-15 in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. He will present a 30-minute talk April 13 on “Embracing Complexity: The Path to Improved Public Health Entomology.” Woodworth's great-grandson, Brian Holden of Monte Sereno, Calif., and a 1981 graduate of UC Davis in electrical engineering, will present the award.
Scott is the 10th UC Davis recipient and the second UC Davis medical entomologist to be selected for the award. Medical entomologist Robert Washino received the award in 1987.
Scott, who has researched mosquito-borne disease for 35 years, is a global authority on the epidemiology of mosquito-borne disease, mosquito ecology, evolution of mosquito-virus interactions, and evaluation of novel products and strategies for mosquito control and disease prevention. Among the top vector biologists in the world, he is recognized as the leading expert in the ecology and epidemiology of dengue, said nominator Michael Parrella, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
Scott is known for his holistic and comprehensive approach in finding solutions to protect the world's population from dengue, a disease that infects some 400 million per year. Some 4 billion people in 128 countries, more than half of the world's population, are at risk for dengue. Currently no vaccine or drug is effective against this life-threatening disease.
- Blood feeding behavior, longevity, dispersal, and vector-virus interactions of the mosquito Aedes aegypti;
- Longitudinal cohort studies of spatial and temporal patterns in human dengue virus infection in Peru and Thailand; (dengue research in Peru, Thailand, Puerto Rico and Mexico for the past 25 years)
- Impact of human movement on mosquito contact rates and spatial dimensions of dengue virus transmission; and
- Mathematical and computer simulation modeling of mosquito population biology and mosquito-borne pathogen transmission.
“Dr. Scott's research is groundbreaking, innovative and visionary,” his nominators said. “He generates detailed, difficult-to-obtain data that are crucial for assessing current recommendations for disease prevention. He rigorously tests fundamental assumptions in public health policy, and develops innovative, cost, and operationally effective strategic concepts to prevent dengue and other important infectious diseases of humans. He has published more than 240 research articles, reviews, and book chapters.”
Scott co-founded the Center for Vector-Borne Research (CVEC), comprised of researchers throughout the UC System; directed the UC Davis Arbovirus Research Unit; and served as vice chair of the UC Davis Entomology Department.
He is a fellow of the Entomological Society of America (ESA) and a member since 1983. He chaired the ESA's Section on Medical and Veterinary Entomology; and served on the American Committee for Entomology and the American Committee on Arthropod-Borne Viruses in the American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. He organized the Medical and Veterinary Entomology section of the XXI International Congress of Entomology in Iguassu, Brazil.
Highly regarded by his peers and associates, Scott is also a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, as well as ESA. He served as a National Research Council Associate in Bangkok, Thailand; is a past president of the Society for Vector Ecology; and chairs the Mosquito Modeling Group in the program on Research and Policy in Infectious Disease Dynamics (modelers and vector-borne disease specialists who report to the Science and Technology Directorate, Department of Homeland Security, and the Fogarty International Center, National Institutes of Health).
The UC Davis medical entomologist chairs activities on vector control for the Partnership for Dengue Control, serves on several committees for the World Health Organization, and is an editor for the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, Journal of Insect Science, and Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.
Scott is known for his expertise and enthusiasm in drawing undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral associates and researchers to his world-class lab, said project scientist Amy Morrison of the Scott lab's Iquitos Project, Peru. “He has a special ability to push, persuade, and coax me to transform a good idea into a methodological and operational reality, and he has recognized my abilities and value in this regard. He has had an enduring and significant impact on our understanding of dengue and Aedes aegypti ecology.”
In addition to his major accomplishments, “part of Dr. Scott's legacy,” she said, “is bringing together multidisciplinary teams to understand transmission of arboviral diseases and to use that information to shift and shape disease control strategies.”
Scott's world-class research lab received nearly $10 million in grants in 2014 to study dengue. He is the principal investigator of the multi-year grants: $7.5 million from the National Institutes of Health and $2.2 million from Notre Dame University.
Dengue drew international attention in 2013 when Scott and colleagues published research indicating that dengue is three times more prevalent than originally thought--more than triple WHO's estimate of 50 to 100 million. The researchers assembled known records of dengue occurrence worldwide and used a formal modelling framework to map the global distribution of dengue risk. They then paired the resulting risk map with detailed longitudinal information from dengue cohort studies and population surfaces to infer the public health burden of dengue in 2010.
The list of UC Davis-affiliated scientists who have received the C. W. Woodworth Award:
2015: Thomas W. Scott
2014: James R. Carey
2011: Frank Zalom
2010: Walter Leal
2009: Charles Summers
1999: Harry Kaya
1991: Thomas Leigh
1987: Robert Washino
1981: Harry H. Laidlaw Jr.
1978: William Harry Lange
The Woodworth Award, first presented in 1969, recognizes a PBSA member for outstanding accomplishments in entomology. The award memorializes noted entomologist Charles W. Woodworth (1865-1940), who founded the UC Berkeley Department of Entomology and participated in the development of the Agricultural Experiment Station at UC Davis, and as such, he is considered the founder of the UC Davis entomology department. Woodworth made numerous valuable contributions to entomology during his career. Among his publications, he is especially known for A List of the Insects of California (1903), The Wing Veins of Insects (1906), Guide to California Insects (1913),and "School of Fumigation" (1915). He was the first editor and first contributor to the University of California's publications in entomology.
Advocating the responsible use of pesticides, Woodworth proposed and drafted the first California Insecticide Law in 1906. He was an authority on the eradication of the codling moth, peach twig-borer, citrus insects, grasshoppers and citrus white fly. Woodworth received both his bachelor's degree (1885) and a master's degree (1886) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
The Pacific Branch of ESA encompasses 11 U.S. states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming); several U.S. territories, including American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands; and parts of Canada and Mexico.
If a patient is the sole wage earner in the family, lost wages can amount to a third of the monthly household income.
Olkowski recently gave a presentation on the "Economic Impact of Work Absenteeism Due to Dengue Fever in Iquitos, Peru” at the fifth annual American Society of Tropical Medicine Hygiene/Peru meeting.
“Over a quarter of the laboratory-confirmed patients fell significantly below Peru's minimum monthly wage,” Olkowski said. “In the wage group with the highest rate of dengue, lost wages due to dengue illness represented more than 25 to 30 percent of their monthly income. It's also important to note that we included only wage-earners, whereas the majority of women work in the home and are not earning a wage, so these are one-income households.”
“In this project, Dr. Vilcarromero and I quantified one aspect of the 'hidden economic burden' of dengue in Iquitos,” she said. “A lot of attention is being given to the economic impact of hospitalized dengue cases but that's not the full story. Our research demonstrates that even when dengue is technically a ‘mild' illness, the people who live with it are suffering not only physically but economically.”
“For this study, we looked at how lost work days due to non-severe dengue affects people,” Olkowski said, explaining that in Iquitos, most families have a single wage earner and receive little or no paid sick leave. “Thus, taking a sick day can mean less support for their families.”
“We considered only patients who went to a clinic but were not hospitalized and who were laboratory confirmed for dengue serotype 4,” she said. “That is generally considered to cause mild, ambulatory illness so that would probably not be taken too seriously from an economic impact standpoint.”
This was her third trip to Iquitos. On each of the first two trips, she did research for about two months, and has now been in Iquitos for seven months.
Olkowski, who is seeking her doctorate in entomology with a major interest in medical entomology and public health, expects to graduate in the summer of 2016. She holds a bachelor's degree in economics from UC Davis.
The world-class Thomas Scott lab studies the dengue virus, which is transmitted by Aedes aegypti, a daytime-biting mosquito. The dengue virus has been spreading globally over the last four decades, including parts of United States. More than half of the world's population is now at risk of infection. The disease infects 400 million people each year.
Scott, distinguished professor of entomology and director of the Mosquito Research Program, is the principal investigator of two grants totaling nearly $10 million to study the mosquito-borne, viral illness.
The grants, awarded in 2014, include $7.5 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and $2.2 million from Notre Dame University.
Amy Morrison of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, co-leads the projects in Iquitos, where she directs the long-running UC Davis epidemiological field research program in collaboration with NAMRU-6. Other UC Davis researchers involved in the grants are Steven Stoddard, Robert C. Reiner, T. Alex Perkins, Veronica Armijos, Jody Simpson and Christopher Barker and Olkowski.
The $2.2 million grant, “Spatial Repellants for Control of Vector-borne Disease,” from Notre Dame University, is the first-ever project aimed at dengue prevention. It focuses on studying the potential for spatial insect repellants to reduce exposure to dengue virus in people's homes.
The NIH grant, “Quantifying Heterogeneities in Dengue Virus Transmission Dynamics,” aims to quantify how much people, with different degrees of illness, vary in their contribution to virus transmission and spread.
(News embargo lifts at noon Monday, May 19, 2014, Pacific Time)
Listen to Video, Robert Reiner (YouTube, Created by Professor James Carey)
DAVIS--Newly published research involving a 12-year study of dengue infections in Iquitos, Peru—an international team project led by researchers at the University of California, Davis—helps explain why interventions are frequently unsuccessful in efforts to prevent the mosquito-borne disease.
"Defining variation in the risk of dengue transmission has been a roadblock to understanding disease dynamics and designing more realistic and effective disease prevention programs,” said Scott, noted dengue researcher and a senior author of the paper, “Time-Varying, Serotype-Specific Force of Infection of Dengue Virus.”
“This study is an important step toward overcoming that obstacle,” Scott said. “We hope our results will help reduce the burden of this increasingly devastating disease."
“Typically, most infections go unnoticed and as such, measuring and modeling transmission intensity is problematic,” Reiner said.
Dengue virus is transmitted by Aedes aegypti, a mosquito that bites during the daytime as people move about in their daily routines.
“Our work suggests that certain serotypes can infect up to 33 percent of the susceptible population in a single year and that 79 percent of the population of Iquitos would need to be protected from any further infection to eliminate transmission. Further, our estimates form a detailed description of virus transmission dynamics that provides a basis for understanding the long-term persistence of dengue and for improving disease prevention programs.”
Reiner, who holds a doctorate in statistics from the University of Michigan, joined the Scott lab in September 2011. He has just accepted a position as assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Indiana University, Bloomington.
“The marked variation in transmission intensity that we detected indicates that intervention targets based on one-time estimates of the force of infection (FoI) could underestimate the level of effort needed to prevent disease,” the authors wrote in their abstract. “Our description of dengue virus transmission dynamics is unprecedented in detail, providing a basis for understanding the persistence of this rapidly emerging pathogen and improving disease prevention programs.”
“There is no vaccine nor drug that is effective against this virus,” said Scott, who has studied dengue more than 25 years and is recognized as the leading expert in the ecology and epidemiology of the disease.
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 work was supported by the RAPPID program of the Science and Technology Directory, Department of Homeland Security, and Fogarty International Center, National Institutes of Health; Innovative Vector Control Consortium; U.S. Department of Defense Global Emerging Infections Systems Research Program Work Unit; Military Infectious Disease Research Program Work Units; Deployed Warfighter Protection Program, Department of Defense; and a Wellcome Trust.