RIVERSIDE, Calif. —The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention has announced a step to enhance public-health preparedness for diseases transmitted by mosquitoes and ticks in the nation’s Southwest. With an $8 million grant from the CDC, UC Riverside and UC Davis researchers will launch the Pacific Southwest Regional Center of Excellence in Vector-Borne Diseases later in August.
“This Center of Excellence will bring together researchers using the latest cutting-edge approaches in the laboratory and field with practitioners protecting public health,” said UC Riverside professor of entomology and center co-director William Walton. “[This will allow us] to develop a community of practice and provide new technologies to prevent the occurrence of vector-borne diseases.”
The strength of the collaboration between the two UC campuses is drawing from multiple disciplines to address the challenges of vector-borne pathogens, which are transmitted by insects and other organisms. Both are top-tier research and teaching institutions with experts in vector-borne diseases, including entomologists, epidemiologists, virologists and computer scientists who train a scholars interested in public health.
The Center’s funding will continue through the end of 2021. The Center has three goals: to conduct applied research to develop and test effective prevention and control tools for vector-borne disease outbreaks; to train vector biologists, entomologists, and physicians to address vector-borne disease concerns and to strengthen and expand collaboration among academic communities and public health organizations at federal, state and local levels.
UC Davis and UC Riverside already have strong collaborations with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and Mosquito and Vector Control Association of California (MVCAC), who will be critical partners in the Center.