Archived News


October 18, 2001

Dr. Stephen W. Barthold Dr. Stephen Barthold
A UC Davis mouse biologist who helped develop the first vaccine for Lyme disease has been elected to the prestigious Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest honors conferred upon medical and health professionals.

Stephen W. Barthold, director of the Center for Comparative Medicine and a professor with a joint appointment in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and School of Medicine, is one of 51 new U.S. members elected to the institute along with five foreign associates and five senior members. A total of 12 new members and senior members were elected from the University of California, including five from UC San Francisco; four from UC San Diego; and one each from UCLA, UC Berkeley and UC Davis

As a lifelong member of the Institute of Medicine, Barthold will volunteer his time and expertise to serve on national advisory committees that make recommendations on health- related public policy. He joins UC Davis faculty members Frederick Murphy, a veterinary virologist, and nutritionists Judith Stern and Janet King, who are current members of the institute.

"This is clearly a personal honor, but it could not have happened without a lifetime of friendships, collaborations and support of many people, not the least of which includes my wife, Beverly," said Barthold.

Barthold, a veterinary pathologist, studies the interaction between infectious-disease agents and their hosts. While on the faculty of Yale University from 1974 to 1997, he played a major role in coordinating a team of researchers that investigated Lyme disease and developed a human vaccine for it. Lyme disease is caused by a debilitating bacterium transmitted to people and animals through tick bites.

The vaccine was approved in 1998 by the Federal Drug Administration for use in humans.

Barthold also is an internationally recognized authority on the diseases and biology of the laboratory mouse, the species in which he specializes as a veterinarian.

He holds a bachelor's degree and a doctor-of-veterinary- medicine degree from UC Davis, as well as master's and doctoral degrees in pathology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

He returned to UC Davis in 1997 to direct the campus's new Center for Comparative Medicine, a research center that investigates diseases afflicting both humans and animals. That same year, he was appointed to direct the UC Davis Mouse Biology Program, a campuswide program formed to invigorate and coordinate biomedical research that relies on the mouse as a research model.

Barthold also played a key role in nurturing a collaborative relationship between UC Davis and The Jackson Laboratory of Bar Harbor, Maine, which led to establishment in 1999 of a West Coast mouse facility for the lab on the Davis campus. The Jackson Laboratory is the world's leading private research institution focusing on mouse-based biomedical research. It also produces genetically customized mice for research laboratories throughout the United States and abroad.

Plans are now under way for the partnership to build a larger Center for Mouse Biology, which will serve the Western region and Pacific Rim.

In addition to his administrative duties, Barthold continues his research on the mechanisms of Lyme disease and on another tick-borne disease known as granulocytic erlichiosis, which affects humans and animals. He also is studying Heliobacter infections in the mouse, a common and serious disease that complicates biomedical research.

He has received numerous professional awards, including the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine's Alumni Achievement Award in 1998 and the Nathan R. Brewer Award for Career Excellence in Research from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science in 1996. He is the author of more than 250 scientific articles, chapters and books.

*News release courtesy of UC Davis News Service