William Reisen

2004 Award for Excellence in Research

Dr. Reisen is a professional researcher with the Center for Vectorborne Diseases (CVEC), an interdisciplinary research center administered by the School of Veterinary Medicine, but with significant participation by the School of Medicine and the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Dr. Reisen is the Resident Director of the Arbovirus Field Station for the University of California, Davis.

At the Arbovirus Field Station in Bakersfield and in Coachella Valley and the Arbovirus Laboratory at CVEC, he has assembled an outstanding, multidisciplinary research team with a reputation for conducting long-term field studies of mosquito-transmitted virus ecology that are exemplary in the field. Dr. Reisen also provides extensive consultation to the California Department of Health Services as well as local public health and vector control agencies statewide. He is engaged in several collaborative research projects with public agencies, and participates in numerous training workshops.

Dr. Reisen has boundless enthusiasm for his research, and he motivates everyone around him. He maintains close contact with all of his staff and research collaborators, even though it requires a fair amount of travel. He never has lost touch with the research itself. His colleagues will tell you that he “is as likely to be found collecting blood samples from wild birds at a wildlife refuge … or trapping mosquitoes at a duck club … as he is to be found speaking at a national or international research meeting.”

Dr. Reisen’s most significant contributions to the field of vectorborne disease ecology during the last five years have been in improving our understanding of the mechanisms by which mosquito-borne viruses persist in nature. This work has led to a detailed understanding of the disease transmission systems, which has provided much of the basis for the development of systems to monitor and predict risk of disease in humans. His expertise and insight gained from his comprehensive research on endemic mosquito-borne viruses, as well as his recent research on West Nile virus, have guided the state’s response plans and have brought considerable recognition to UC Davis.

Dr. Reisen is widely recognized internationally as a leader in his field. He and his research team are considered among the most productive groups publishing on mosquito/arbovirus ecology. Not only is he profusely productive, but the relevance and quality of his work is also considered second to none. Dr. Reisen’s colleagues praise his work as being meticulous, thoughtful, thorough, and that it embodies the highest standards of scientific research. His overall contribution to knowledge in his field must be recognized as absolutely outstanding.