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Rob Atwill to Lead Veterinary Medicine Extension

May 29, 2012

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E. Robert "Rob" Atwill, DVM, MPVM, PhD

May 29, 2012


E. Robert "Rob" Atwill, DVM, MPVM, PhD, has been appointed director of the Veterinary Medicine Extension program in the school effective May 1, 2012.

In his capacity as director, he participates and provides leadership on the Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Program Council as the school's representative.

Atwill will strive to provide insightful, pragmatic solutions to some of the human, agricultural, and natural resource challenges facing California and the nation. New opportunities are expected to arise for collaboration among programs in Veterinary Medicine Extension, the Western Institute for Food Safety and Security, and across the School of Veterinary Medicine.

Atwill, a faculty member in the Department of Population Health and Reproduction and a specialist in Veterinary Medicine Extension, continues to serve as director of the Western Institute for Food Safety and Security, whose mission is to conduct research and provide outreach programs that will enhance food safety, wate4r quality and food defense in all sectors of the food continuum from environment to consumer.

Atwill earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 1990 from the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine, followed by a Master of Preventive Veterinary Medicine degree in 1991. He received his doctorate in epidemiology from the College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University in 1994.

He joined the School of Veterinary Medicine faculty in 1994. His position has encompassed duties both as a faculty member in the Department of Population Health and Reproduction and as a specialist in Veterinary Medicine Extension. He was originally based at the school's Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Research Center in Tulare.

His research and extension program focuses on key processes governing the fate, transport and dissemination of zoonotic pathogens and their role in microbial water quality and food safety. He conducts epidemiological studies on zoonotic pathogens in rural and agroecosystems located throughout California, across the United States, and internationally. Working with collaborating scientists such as Kenneth Tate and Thomas Harter in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, UC Davis, and numerous advisors in UC Cooperative Extension, Atwill and his research partners have helped pioneer the theory and application of numerous on-farm beneficial management practices such as vegetative buffers for minimizing waterborne pathogen hazards to humans and animals. These activities have produced more than 130 peer-reviewed publications and 200 lay articles and abstracts. He has conducted more than 250 presentations, workshops and symposia in his area of research.

Atwill's most recent focus is a multidisciplinary and multiagency partnership designed to clarify the ecology and epidemiology of zoonotic pathogens in produce production regions both within California and across the United States. This collaboration includes a wide range of scientists and agencies, such as Linda Harris at the Department of Food Science and Technology, UC Davis, Michele Jay-Russell and Mike Payne at WIFSS, Robert Mandrell at the ARS, USDA, Andy Gordus at the California Department of Fish and Game, scientists such as Chris Elkins and his team at CFSAN-FDA, advisors in UC Cooperative Extension, Center for Produce Safety at UC Davis, and farmers and agricultural organizations throughout the United States.