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UC Davis Research Entomologist Receives International Award for Studies in Mosquito Biology

July 21, 2006

DAVIS--Research entomologist William Reisen, a mosquito specialist at the Center for Vectorborne Diseases (CVEC), School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis, is the 2006 recipient of the international John N. Belkin Award for his contributions to mosquito biology.

The Belkin Award, given by the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) since 1981, is for meritorious contributions to mosquito systematics (the processes involved in describing a species) and/or biology. Belkin (1914-1980) was a UCLA professor and renowned mosquito taxonomist.

BillReisen said he was surprised and humbled to receive the award. "John Belkin was a world-class mosquito taxonomist who 'set the bar' for standards for mosquito descriptions."

Reisen, who received the honor at the AMCA’s recent conference in Detroit, is the second UC Davis-affiliated entomologist to receive the award. Tom Zavortink, research associate with the Bohart Museum of Entomology at UC Davis and a retired professor of biology at the University of San Francisco, won the award in 1984.

Past recipients hail from England, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Japan and Panama, as well as the United States (California, Florida, Utah, Illinois, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C.)

Reisen works in CVEC’s Arbovirus Research Program and serves as an adjunct professor with the Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

He currently focuses his research on Culex mosquitoes and their ability to transmit arboviruses, including West Nile virus. In addition, his research encompasses the ecology of virus transmission, the susceptibility of avian reservoirs or hosts for the virus; surveillance diagnostics and data management; and mosquito control. He has authored or co-authored more than 200 refereed scientific publications.

Reisen received his doctorate in zoology, with a focus on entomology, from the University of Oklahoma, Norman, Okla. As a captain in the U. S. Air Force, he worked on vectorborne disease surveillance and control programs on U.S. Air Force bases in the Pacific Air Command and then on the ecology and genetic control of mosquitoes with the Pakistan Medical Research Center in Lahore.

Reisen joined the UC faculty in 1980 as a research entomologist and director of the Arbovirus Field Station with the School of Public Health, UC Berkeley, following an academic career that spanned Clemson University, Clemson, S.C.; University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore; and Pakistan Medical Research Center.

Widely known for his mosquito research, he received a Lifetime Award for Achievement in Medical Entomology from the Society for Vector Ecology in 2001 and was named a fellow of the Entomological Society of America in 2003. He was singled out for an Academic Federation Award for Excellence in Research from UC Davis in 2004.

Media contact:

Kathy Keatley Garvey, Communications,
University of California Statewide Mosquito Research Program
(530) 754-6894, Fax: (530) 752-1537,

Web sites:

UC Davis Center for Vectorborne Diseases (CVEC)

UC Mosquito Research Program

Lanzaro Genetics Lab

UC Malaria Research and Control Group