The mission of the University of California Center for Vectorborne Diseases is:
To advance the study of endemic/enzootic and emerging vectorborne diseases through cooperative research, service and training.
Background: Despite more than a century of research and attempted eradication and control, vectorborne pathogens remain among the most important human and veterinary health problems both nationally and internationally. In fact, the disease burden caused by malaria and dengue virus has increased annually, and agents such as West Nile virus have emerged and caused epidemics/epizootics in Europe and North America. In addition, several vectorborne agents have gained new focus, because they may be used as agents of bioterrorism. Addressing these and related problems requires the integration of faculty with widely diverse, and often specialized, interests, and has led the University of California at Davis to establish the Center for Vectorborne Diseases.
The Center arose when the Arbovirus Research Unit moved from the School of Public Health at Berkeley to the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, and was expanded to include faculty with interests in vectorborne diseases from the Veterinary School, Medical School, and College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (primarily the Department of Entomology) and external University of California campuses and agencies such as the California Department of Public Health.
To provide direction and purpose for growth and expansion, the Center has rules of governance and a mission statement.
Implementing the mission: Methods for the Center to enhance collaboration include:
- Training. The Center is interested in training programs in vectorborne diseases at both the graduate and postgraduate levels to provide new scientists to fill a void at the national and international levels. This will be facilitated by the procurement of training grants to provide graduate and postdoctoral students to populate the facilities proposed above. The Center is developing a Designated Emphasis in Vectorborne Diseases to produce a platform for formalized graduate training in vectorborne diseases.
- Service. Outreach and integration into state, national and international public and veterinary health programs provides unique opportunities for faculty and students to bring results from field and laboratory research directly to user groups in the form of information, diagnostic services and products. The Center facilitates these functions by providing administrative support as well as access to facilities for laboratory research and development and for field evaluations.
- Funding. The Center should provide administrative oversight and procedures to facilitate the procurement and management of research funding from state, national and international agencies. Expediting funding through quality administrative support will provide financial returns for the Center as well as credit and publicity in the form of acknowledgements of research papers and presentations.
- Information. The Center should become a clearinghouse for information on vectorborne diseases in the form of research publications, newsletter and Web site articles on current topics, media releases, meetings and symposia, seminars and other intellectual exchanges.
- Computing expertise. Geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing, statistical analysis and information exchange systems will promote field research and enable mapping and spatial statistics.
- Molecular expertise. Equipment and general technical expertise in sequencing and molecular characterization facilitate vector and pathogen characterization.