Pathobiology | Research News

Funding for Vector-borne Disease Center Renewed

[Dr. Rebecca Lee Smith in a field with trees]

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced that funding for the Midwest Center of Excellence for Vector-borne Disease will be renewed for another 5 years.

Professors Susan Paskewitz and Lyric Bartholomay co-direct the $10 million center headquartered at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Dr. Rebecca Lee Smith, associate professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine (pictured above), serves as principal investigator for the center’s partnership on the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus. Other partners are located in Minnesota, Michigan, Indiana, and Iowa.

“This award will continue to support our collaborative research program on understanding and predicting vector-borne disease risk,” said Dr. Smith.

The center addresses issues of critical importance to management of vector-borne disease in the United States, including those caused by viruses transmitted by mosquitoes (West Nile) as well as tick-borne pathogens like Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme Disease).

Over the next 5 years, center personnel will test and improve existing methods of mosquito and tick management and bite prevention, evaluate new products and methods, support the training of the next generation of medical/public health entomologists, and enhance a strong community of practice between academic scientists, public health organizations, mosquito control operations, and private pest control service providers.

Dr. Smith also leads the I-Tick Program at the University of Illinois.