Backyard Orchard News
UC Davis medical entomologist Thomas Scott is mentioned in "The War on Dengue Fever," a news article published Nov. 3, 2008 in the New York Times.
Scott is a leading expert on dengue fever, a mosquito-borne disease transmitted by Aeges egypti.
Reporter Thomas Fuller began his story:
BANGKOK — There was little that doctors could do for a 3-year-old boy brought to Bangkok’s main children’s hospital two weeks ago with dengue fever. Like thousands before him, he had reached the most dangerous phase of the disease, dengue shock syndrome, and he died of internal bleeding and organ failure three days after being admitted.
The U.S. Army maintains a medical research laboratory in Bangkok, where military scientists study tropical diseases. One of their goals: to develop a vaccine for dengue.
Here's where Scott comes in:
"The mosquito can breed in something as small as a soda bottle, but its ideal breeding conditions are large containers common in many parts of Southeast Asia to store drinking water," Fuller wrote. "(Unlike other mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti prefers clean water, according to Thomas W. Scott, a professor at the University of California, Davis, who is a leading expert on the species.)"
We wrote about researcher Scott's work in July: On the Trail of Dengue: A Disease with No Vaccine, No Cure.
Scott's goal is to save lives through research, surveillance and implementation of disease prevention strategies. He maintains field stations in Peru, Mexico and Thailand.
He's studying "the patterns of human infection with dengue virus, doing detailed studies of mosquito populations and disease in humans in order to predict which prevention strategies work the best."
Basically, Scott assesses risks, develops computer models and implements disease prevention strategies.
The culprit: Aedes egypti, or the yellow-fever mosquito, that transmits dengue virus to people.
The disease: Dengue, caused by any one of four serotypes or closely related viruses known as DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3, or DEN-4. Nicknamed “break bone fever,” classic dengue is characterized by high fever, headaches, muscle and joint pain, nausea, vomiting and a rash.
The prevalence: Some 50 to 100 million annual cases of debilitating dengue fever. The most severe form of the disease, dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF), strikes half a million a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). An estimated 5 percent with DHF die.
The CDC says dengue outbreaks occur in most tropical urban areas of the world where the Aedes egypti lives.
In the United States, dengue is rare. Occasionally travelers to infected areas return with the disease.
Now the Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences, Bangkok, is attempting to develop a vaccine for dengue. As New York Times reporter Thomas Fuller wrote, quoting Col. James Boles, the laboratory commander: "There's no dengue in Kansas. No malaria, either. That's why we are here."
And that's why medical entomologists like Thomas Scott are here, too.
Medical entomologist Thomas Scott
In the lab
What a series!
You won't want to miss the Consilience of Art and Science speaker series that gets under way Nov. 12 and continues through April 9 at the University of California, Davis.
The lectures are free and open to the public.
UC Davis entomologist Diane Ullman, associate dean of Undergraduate Academic Programs, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and professor of entomology, helped initiate this series.
Ullman and artist Donna Billick, co-directors of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, are devoted to the fusion of art and science. They anticipate that the centennial colloquium will stimulate interaction and discussion as the distinguished scholars focus on the “interlocking principles that bind art and science.”
The first speaker is Corey Keller, associate curator of photography for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. She'll deliver her presentation on "Sight Unseen: Picturing the Invisible, 1840 to 1900" from 6:30 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 12 in the Activities and Recreation Center, Ballrooms A and B.
Keller will discuss what the early photomicrographs, astrophotographs, motion studies, and x-rays meant to science and how these pictures of the invisible touched people.
Keller will show some of the first astrophotographs, “which resulted from emulsion coated plates that could collect and accumulate light through the telescope over many hours, thus revealing stars and galaxies that were not visible when looking through the telescope with the human eye--which can’t accumulate light to create images,” Ullman said.
“They were quite popular and published in popular science magazines of the time, like La Nature,” Ullman said.
Van Gogh was reportedly so awed by the astrophotographs that they influenced his famous painting, Starry Night.
Later, the series will delve into art and insects. Catherine Chalmers, a professional artist and author of Food Chain who explores the connections between humans and insects, will speak Jan. 7.
For more information, see Consilience of Art and Science.
Ah, liquid precipitation!
Just when we were feeling drought-stressed, the weather forecast turned to rain.
I don't know if "the rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain," but the rain in Northern California fell squarely on our bee friendly garden last weekend.
The honey bees weren't there, but the hover flies, aka syrphids and flower flies (family Syrphidae), were.
Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all. --Stanley Horowitz
Hover fly on sage
Rain drops keep falling...
What's medical entomolology?
Anyone who's an entomologist or who works in entomology is asked that question periodically. Medical, they know. Entomology? Often not. But medical entomology?
Well, it's the study of relationships among arthorpods, microbial pathogens and human health, according to medical entomologist Thomas Scott, professor of entomology at UC Davis.
Scott teaches courses on medical entomology. His next one: the 2009 winter quarter, Jan. 5 through March 16.
Worldwide, Scott says, arthropod-borne diseases have devastating effects on human health; they are a leading cause of human morbidity and mortality.
In his course, he explains the basic biology of medically important arthropods and the pathogens they transmit. The diseases include malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever, West Nile virus, Lyme disease and River Blindness.
Scott, a noted mosquito-borne disease expert and newly elected fellow of the prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science (for "distinguished contributions to the biology and ecology of mosquitoes and his leadership in developing strategic concepts for preventing dengue fever and other mosquito-borne diseases”) does research from his mosquito research laboratory at UC Davis and at field stations in Peru, Thailand and Mexico.
In January, Scott hosted the 42nd annual U.S.-Japan Parasitic Disease Conference on the UC Davis campus. Some 100 scientists from throughout the world participated in the three-day conference "to develop a cross-cutting perspective on what the priorities should be for the future research on arthropod vectors of disease," he explained.
With new and emerging diseases, increasing national and international travel, settlement in endemic areas, and the proliferation of commerce, we can expect disease from vector-borne pathogens to increase, Scott says.
It's obvious what we need less of (diseases) and what we need more of (medical entomologists).
Thomas Scott in Kenya
Mosquito that tranmits dengue
It’s official. University of California, Davis scientists who manage campus biological collections have just received a five-year, $4 million grant to research the biodiversity of fungi, bacteria, plants, insects and vertebrates on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, a southeast Asian island threatened by the loss of biodiversity in its tropical forests.
The International Cooperative Biodiversity Group Program is funding the grant. This is a multi-agency program led by the National Institutes of Health with contributions from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Department of Energy, and the National Science Foundation.
Principal investigator Daniel Potter, a plant systematist at the Agricultural Experiment Station and director of the UC Davis Herbarium, said “the alarming rate at which biodiversity is being lost in many tropical regions has resulted in an urgent need for such efforts.”
The grant, “Biodiversity Surveys in
The international team involved in the grant includes UC Davis, UC San Francisco, UC Berkeley and three
Biodiversity refers to all living things in a region and to their interactions of with each other and their surroundings.
The results are expected to aid human health, energy needs, and biodiversity conservation.
The project is sorely needed, said entomologist Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and chair of the Department of Entomology. “For biologists,
The Bohart houses some seven million specimens from throughout the world and is the seventh largest insect museum in
Potter described it as an extraordinary opportunity. "When the call for the International Cooperative Biodiversity Group grant proposals came out in the fall of 2007, several of us involved in management of the biological collections here at UC Davis thought this could be an extraordinary opportunity to initiate a project that would include study of organisms in the multiple taxonomic groups (fungi, bacteria, plants, insects, vertebrates) covered by our collections and to engage in international collaborative research with implications for human health, energy needs, and biodiversity conservation.”
Potter said that two other key participants in the project are his former student, Jeanine Pfeiffer, research director for social sciences at the Earthwatch Institute, and Elizabeth Widjaja, research botanist at Herbarium Bogoriense,
“Thanks to the excellent hard work of many colleagues at UC Davis, UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco, and three Indonesian institutions, and with the wonderful guidance and assistance of the outstanding Interdisciplinary Research Support group in the Office of Research here at UC Davis, we were able to put together a strong proposal for an ambitious and exciting project," Potter said.
UC Davis is the lead institution from the
The project is organized into six associate programs: macro-organism surveys, led by Widjaja, microbial surveys, led by discovery of energy solutions, led by discovery of human health solutions, led by Len Bjeldanes, professor of toxicology, UC Berkeley; conservation research and vertebrate surveys, led by and conservation partnerships, training and ethics, led by Pfeiffer.
“We will also be forming partnerships with private companies aimed at the commercial development of natural products for pharmaceuticals and energy production,” Potter said. They have also lined up collaborators from several other leading research institutions, including the
Potter said the results of the project will make significant contributions to a broad range of issues, including
- knowledge of the patterns of biodiversity in southeast Asia
- identification and isolation of natural products with potential therapeutic value to treat globally important diseases and to address human energy neeeds
- knowledge of the patterns of biodiversity in southeast Asia
- identification and isolation of natural products with potential therapeutic value to treat globally important diseases and to address human energy needs
- development of effective biodiversity conservation strategies and proactive outreach and education programs to promote those strategies
- establishment of models for effective and equitable internatinal collaborative partnerships and ethical and sustainable international sharing of biogenetic resources
the Preclinical Development Group at the Ernest Gallo Clinic and
Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology
Part of the Indonesian team
Butterflies from southeast Asia