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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

UC Davis researchers prevent spread of infectious disease

UC Davis research monitoring the flow of viruses from animals to humans is helping scientists ward off global epidemics.

At the quarterly “Evening with an Aggie” event, hosted by the Student Alumni Association (SAA), co-director of the UC Davis Wildlife Health Center Dr. Jonna Mazet will discuss UC Davis’ role in the effort to prevent the next pandemic. The event will take place tonight at the AGR conference room at the Walter A. Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

“Dr. Mazet is a four degree holder of UC Davis and her innovative research is at the forefront of global efforts to avert the next pandemic,” said SAA advisor Jane Eadie. “And Dr. Mazet is just one of many UC Davis graduates whose research is making a difference in their fields. Our illustrious alumni are an inspiration and something for all of us to be proud of.”

Recognizing the threat of global pandemics, the U.S. Agency for International Development launched its Emerging Pandemic Threats (EPT) program, which consists of five different projects that work together to prevent infectious diseases.

Mazet’s research falls under the PREDICT project, which focuses on the role of wildlife in facilitating the spread of new diseases. The UC Davis School Wildlife Health center received a 75 million dollar grant from the EPT program to help fund and advance this area of research.

“To establish and maintain global pathogen surveillance, we will work directly with local governments and conservation organizations to build or expand programs in wildlife and human health,” Mazet said in a press release. “Together we want to stop the next HIV. This collaborative approach is key to PREDICT’s success.”

Junior alumni coordinator of SAA Kamry Zhang organized and implemented tonight’s event with the additional help of the SAA board of directors. “Evening with an Aggie” is a quarterly student-run event that invites UC Davis alumni to campus to share their research with current students. The event has been implemented over the last seven years.

“The event was formerly known as the Alumni Panel where we invited alumni to talk to students about their careers,” Zhang said. “Evening with an Aggie only [presents] one alumnus at a time so that students and alumni can have more interaction time. It’s important to maintain ties with our alumni because it gives students the opportunity to network and know the kinds of careers available.”

REBECCA SHRAGGE can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.

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