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Experts on Coronavirus Outbreak

By Kat Kerlin on January 21, 2020 in Human & Animal Health

UC Davis Live: How Does Novel Coronavirus Affect The Body?

The following experts from the UC Davis One Health Institute, UC Davis Health, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, the Graduate School of Management and Department of Economics, and the Department of Psychology are available to offer commentary about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and its effects.

Zoonotic disease 

Jonna Mazet is an epidemiologist and executive director of the One Health Institute at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. She is a member of the Board of Directors of Global Virome Project and served as global director of the USAID PREDICT project for 10 years, an early-warning project aimed at finding emerging viruses before they spread to humans. Since 2009, PREDICT has empowered partners in over 30 countries to deploy a One Health approach for zoonotic disease prevention, detection, and response, including supporting 60 laboratories in the world's most risky areas for spillover to be able to do virus discovery. The project's teams have collected and tested samples from more than 164,000 animals and people and detected almost 1,200 potentially zoonotic viruses, among them 160 novel coronaviruses, including multiple SARS- and MERS-like coronaviruses. She can discuss emerging infectious disease, related conservation challenges and global health problem solving strategies. (Watch her TEDMED Talk: “What If We Could Immunize the World Against Pandemics?) Contact:

Tracey Goldstein is a professor in the Department of Pathology, Immunology and Microbiology and associate director of the One Health Institute, where she directs the One Health Institute Laboratory. She can discuss infectious disease detection and transmission among wildlife, domestic animals and people, as well as the use of testing protocols to detect the COVID-19 coronavirus. She leads the pathogen detection and laboratory capacity building objectives for the USAID PREDICT project. Contact:

Christine Kreuder Johnson is a professor of epidemiology and ecosystem health and associate director of the One Health Institute, where she directs the EpiCenter for Disease Dynamics. She can discuss disease spillover and spread and the drivers of zoonotic disease transmission. She directs animal and human surveillance activities for USAID’s Emerging Pandemic Threats PREDICT project. Contact:

Human health

Dean Blumberg is chief of pediatric infectious diseases and associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics at UC Davis Children’s Hospital. He can discuss preventing and treating infections such as the novel coronavirus. He is also co-host of the Kids Considered podcast, a conversation between two pediatricians, discussing child health topics of interest to parents in plain, non-medical language. Contact:

Stuart Cohen is chief of infectious diseases at UC Davis Health. Dr. Cohen specializes in treating challenging syndromes linked with infectious diseases, infection and outbreak control, and the epidemiology of resistant microorganisms. His research focuses on developing new antimicrobial agents. He is available to comment on COVID-19. Contact: or 

Animal health

Niels Pedersen is a distinguished professor emeritus at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and active in research of infectious and immunologic diseases in dogs and cats. He can discuss coronavirus species and disease in cats, dogs and pigs. He is considered a world authority on feline coronavirus diseases such as feline infectious peritonitis, or FIP, a highly fatal disease in kittens. He has led research examining the safety and efficacy of drug treatment for cats with FIP. Contact:

Jane Sykes is a professor of small animal medicine at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine with a special interest in small animal infectious diseases. She is also the chief veterinary medical officer of the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. She can discuss transmission of coronavirus and other infectious diseases between humans and pets. She has co-authored more than 100 peer-reviewed publications and is the editor of the Elsevier textbook Canine and Feline Infectious Diseases. Contact:

Coronavirus and the stock market

The following UC Davis faculty can shed light on the stock market dip in light of the coronavirus outbreak. The global supply chain, already under pressure with trade issues, now faces further strain from the coronavirus.

Brad Barber is the Gallagher Professor of Finance at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management. Barber’s research focuses on asset pricing, behavioral finance, and private equity. He currently serves on the advisory boards of the Academic Female Finance Committee, or AFFECT, and the Principles of Responsible Investment, or PRI. He was a principal investigator for the CalPERS Sustainable Investment  Research Initiative, or SIRI (2012-16), and the finance department editor for Management Science (2009-12). He is the founder of the Napa Finance Conference. Contact: 530-752-0512;

Alan M. Taylor, professor of economics and finance, has appointments in the Department of Economics and the Graduate School of Management. He is also a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a research fellow of the Center for Economic Policy Research in London. He currently serves as a co-editor at the Journal of International Economics. His research interests span macroeconomics, finance, international trade and economic history. Contact:

Food supply and safety

Daniel Sumner, the Frank H. Buck Jr. Distinguished Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics, is the director of the University of California Agricultural Issues Center. He can address food supply-chain issues related to the coronavirus effects. His research and writing focus particularly on the consequences of farm and trade policy on agriculture and the economy. His work on agriculture and trade relates to NAFTA, the European Union and China. Prior to beginning his current position in January 1993, Sumner was the assistant secretary for economics at the United States Department of Agriculture. His research has an emphasis on agricultural trade in the Pacific Rim (especially Korea), dairy industry issues and rice policy. Contact:

Erin DiCaprio is an assistant Cooperative Extension specialist of food safety in the Department of Food Science and Technology. She can speak about coronavirus and food safety issues. She has expertise in microbial food safety, on-farm food safety related to produce production, food safety of processed foods, and food regulations. She is the regional lead for the Western Regional Center to Enhance Food Safety. She also co-hosts the UC Food Safety website, which contains food safety information for consumers, growers, and food processors. Click here for information on COVID-19 and food safety. Contact:

Food assistance, safety net

Marianne Bitler, professor of economics, has written widely on food assistance programs and the safety net in the United States. Recently, she chaired  a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine panel advising the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service on a  “A Consumer Food Data System for 2030 and Beyond.” A recent article for Econofact discussed the responsiveness of TANF, SNAP, unemployment insurance and the EITC during the Great Recession. Contact:

Energy, oil and gas prices

Mark Agerton, assistant professor in the Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics, is available to discuss his research on U.S. oil and gas supply issues. Contact:

See also: Source list on tariffs and trade

Psychiatry — reducing anxiety, fear

Peter Yellowlees, M.D., M.B.B.S., is chief wellness officer at UC Davis Health. He is an expert in physician health and telepsychiatry who has published seven books and over 200 scientific articles and book chapters. He was interviewed on Facebook Live about wellness strategies to reduce anxiety brought on by coronavirus. He authored a Medscape commentary about how physicians and health systems can reduce fear around COVID-19. Contact:; media relations contact: Carole Gan,

Prejudice against Chinese or other Asian Americans

Jeffrey Sherman, professor of psychology, researches and investigates the cognitive processes underlying social psychology and behavior. In particular, he is interested in how people perceive themselves, other people and groups of people. Much of his research focuses on stereotyping and prejudice. The topics he studies include: how people acquire stereotypes and prejudice, how stereotypes and prejudice affect our perceptions and memories of other people, the extent to which these biases are efficient or even automatic, and how people may or may not control unwanted stereotypes and prejudices. In addition to his academic appointment in psychology, Sherman is an affiliated faculty member of the Center for Mind and Brain. He also is principal investigator of the Social Cognition Lab. He currently serves as the editor of Social Cognition. Contact:

Other psychology sources — socializing, stress, social distancing

Other professors of psychology on various issues related to COVID-19 effects are listed below. The name offers a link to their full biography and website.

Risks, social and community

Professor Tom Beamish, sociology, has research and publications focusing on environmental hazards and risks; social and community movements; organizations and the economy; and science, technology and innovation studies. He has recently completed his second book, titled Community at Risk: Biodefense and the Collective Search for Security (Stanford University Press). This book focuses on and compares local community based civic politics in three different communities surrounding a controversial and risky government led biodefense proposal. He commented about the virus in the Washington Post. Contact:

Forced closures, ‘police power’

Elizabeth Joh, professor of law, has written an article for Politico on the subject of the rights of governments to force businesses, schools and other entities to close. “States — and their cities and counties by extension — possess what has long been known as a ‘police power’ to govern for the health, welfare and safety of their citizens. This broad authority, which can be traced to English common law and is reserved to the states by the 10th Amendment, is far from radical; it justifies why states can regulate at all.” Contact:

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