The Departments of Entomology/Nematology and Plant Pathology are home to the Designated Emphasis in the Biology of Vector-borne Diseases (DEBVBD).

Mission

Culex quinquefasciatus larvae
Culex quinquefasciatus larvae

The Designated Emphasis in the Biology of Vector-borne Diseases (DEBVBD) is a training program that equips talented graduate students to do ground-breaking research aimed at reducing the prevalence of vector-borne diseases. Many of the world’s most serious pathogens are carried by insects and other invertebrates to humans, other animals, and plants. Vector-borne diseases with great human impact include malaria, dengue, Zika, Lyme and many others. Examples of vectored plant diseases include citrus greening, Pierce’s disease, thousand cankers disease, tomato spotted wilt, grape fanleaf and others which produce devastating crop losses or deforestation.

Values

Aphids feeding
Aphids feeding

Our group aims to act in solidarity with all underrepresented groups in STEM. We recognize our responsibility to identify and correct institutional biases experienced by our students, staff, and faculty. We recognize the history of disadvantages experienced by underrepresented groups as well as the history of exploitation of such groups in pursuit of vector borne disease research. The path to equality in STEM will require persistence and a commitment to science-based approaches to course-correct effectively. We aim to guide our program toward learning from the complete history of this field and science in general to move toward the elimination of discrimination and maximization of inclusiveness.

Admissions Criteria

A graduate student in good standing in an affiliated UC Davis graduate program is admitted to the DEBVBD by completing an Application for Designated Emphasis form (GS323) available at the bottom of this page or online through Graduate Studies. The form can also be requested from the Chair of the DEBVBD, Dr. Geoffrey Attardo at gmattardo@ucdavis.edu. The affiliated graduate programs are: MicrobiologyIntegrative PathobiologyEcologyEntomologyEpidemiologyImmunology, and Plant Pathology.

Student Advising

Academic progress is reviewed annually by the DEBVBD Executive Committee through completion of a survey of student progress on DE requirements. The Chair and faculty members of the Executive Committee will meet with students that need support for timely completion of requirements and are available for consultation on course and QE requirements as well as research questions related to the dissertation emphasis in vector-borne diseases.

DEBVBD Requirements:

Aedes aegypti mosquito taking a blood meal
Aedes aegypti mosquito taking a blood meal
  • Coursework to be completed prior to the Qualifying Exam (QE)
  • A single required course, ENT/PMI 214 (Changing Patterns of Vector-borne Infections) or an approved equivalent course.
  • Examples of acceptable equivalent courses include MMI 215 (Medical Parasitology), VME 158/258 (Infectious Disease in Ecology and Conservation), or ENT 153 (Medical Entomology). Other course substitutions for this required course will be considered by the DEBVBD Chair.
  • Two elective courses or seminars, which can be fulfilled by completing the requirements of their PhD degree programs or as approved by the DEBVBD Chair.

For the DEBVBD, the QE committee must include one member, approved by the DEBVBD Chair, to examine the student in general knowledge of the biology of vector-borne diseases and for in depth comprehension of the specialty area of the affiliated graduate program.

The dissertation topic will focus on research relevant to vector-borne diseases and the dissertation committee will include at least one DEBVBD faculty member.

DEBVBD students will participate in an annual DE research symposium with an oral or poster presentation of his/her research results.

Completion of the DEBVBD will be designation as Ph.D. in X with Emphasis in the Biology of Vector-borne Diseases, where X is the affiliated graduate program. 

Curriculum

Coursework requirements include a single required course, ENT/PMI 214 (Changing Patterns of Vector-borne Infections) or an approved equivalent course.  Examples of acceptable equivalent courses include MMI 215 (Medical Parasitology), VME 158/258 (Infectious Disease in Ecology and Conservation), or ENT 153 (Medical Entomology). Other course substitutions for this required course will be considered by the DEBVBD Chair. Two elective courses or seminars are also required; these can be fulfilled by completing the requirements of their PhD degree programs (see below for examples) or as approved by the DEBVBD Chair.

A person watering plants
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Department of Entomology and Nematology

  • ENT 153 Medical Entomology
  • ENT 102 Insect Physiology
  • ENT 212 Molecular Biology of Insects and Insect Viruses
  • ENT 253 Advanced Medical Entomology
  • ENT 290 Current Topics in GMO Research Seminar
  • ENT 291N Current topics in Medical Veterinary Entomology Seminar
  • ENT 292N Current topics in Insect Physiology & Behavior Seminar
  • ENT 293N Current topics in Insect Biotechnology & Genomics Seminar
Graduate Group in Ecology
  • ECL 207 Plant Population Biology
  • ECL 208 Issues in Conservation Biology
  • ECL 216 Ecology and Agriculture
  • ECL 231 Mathematical Methods in Population Biology
  • ECL 232 Theoretical Ecology
  • ECL 233 Computational Methods in Population Biology
  • ECL 243 Ecological Genomics
  • ECL 245 Climate Change, Water and Society
  • ECL 262 Advanced Population Dynamics
School of Medicine
Anthony Cornel (foreground). Photos depicting field work for ongoing USAID PEERS grant “Using geospatial tools to investigate how deforestation affects the transmission of malaria in birds.” October 2015 – September 2018. PI of the grant is Damion Anong (University of Buea) and Anthony Cornel and Ravinder Sehgal are collaborators. Ten students from University of Buea are part of the project.
Anthony Cornel (foreground). Photos depicting field work for ongoing USAID PEERS grant "Using geospatial tools to investigate how deforestation affects the transmission of malaria in birds." 
Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology
  • MMI 215 Medical Parasitology
  • MMI 208 Emerging Challenges in Microbiology and Immunology Seminar
Department of Public Health Sciences
  • EPP 101 Perspectives in Community Health
  • EPP 244 Introduction to Medical Statistics
  • EPP 245 Statistical Analysis of Laboratory Data
  • EPP 246 Biostatistics for Clinical Research
  • EPP 247 Biostatistics for Epidemiology
  • EPP 273 Topics in Public Health Seminar
  • EPP 295 International Health Care Seminar
Department of Internal Medicine
  • IDI141 Infectious Diseases of Humans
  • IDI 211 Epidemiology and Prevention of Infectious Diseases
School of Veterinary Medicine
A photomicrograph of an Anopheles stephensi midgut with Plasmodium falciparum oocysts
Midgut of an Anopheles gambiae mosquito populated with oocysts from the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum

Graduate Group in Immunology

  • IMM 201 Basic Immunology
  • IMM 204 Innate Immunology
  • IMM 293 Current Concepts in Immunology
  • IMM 295 Cytokines

Department of Medicine and Epidemiology

  • EPI 204 Statistical Models, Methods and Data Analysis for Scientists
  • EPI 205A Principles of Epidemiology
  • EPI 205 B Integration of Basic Epidemiologic Concepts
  • EPI 206 Epidemiologic Study Design

Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology

  • PMI 128 Biology of Animal Viruses
  • PMI 291A Seminar in Immunology
  • PMI 293A Seminar in Infectious Diseases
  • PMI 418 Health and Disease in Terrestrial Wildlife
  • PMI 419 Field Techniques for Assessment of Wildlife and Ecosystem Health

Department of Population Health and Reproduction

  • MPM 402 Medical Statistics I
  • MPM 403 Medical Statistics II
  • MPM 404 Medical Statistics III
  • PHR 212 Epidemiology of the Zoonoses
  • PHR 266 Applied Analytic Epidemiology
Courses not listed here can be submitted for approval to the DEBVBD Chair to fulfill elective credits.