Chris Barker, PhD, is a professor in the Department of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. He studies the epidemiology and ecology of mosquito-transmitted viruses, and he directs California’s central diagnostic laboratory and related data management systems for surveillance of mosquito-borne viruses. Chris has MS degrees in epidemiology and entomology and a PhD in medical entomology.
Surveillance and Laboratory Team
Ying Fang manages the DART Surveillance Laboratory, where mosquito and bird specimens are tested for viral infection using molecular and traditional biological methods to support surveillance and research on mosquito-borne encephalitis viruses. Ying also evaluates new laboratory methodology, ensures quality control of work within the DART BSL-3 and other laboratories, curates the DART virus reference collection, and supervises and trains personnel.
Sandra Garcia is a laboratory assistant in the DART Surveillance Laboratory. She has a wide range of laboratory skills and tests mosquito and bird samples from mosquito control agencies throughout California using RT-PCR, plaque assay, and EIA.
Aynaz Lotfata, PhD is a researcher in the Department of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. She studies the spatial epidemiology and modeling of mosquito-transmitted viruses. She has MS degrees in geography & urban planning and a PhD in geospatial sciences.
Olivia Winokur, PhD is postdoctoral scholar and a public health entomologist at the Barker lab, UC Davis, conducting research and developing public health entomology curricula and resources. Olivia obtained her BS from Cornell University where she studied dog heartworm transmission and mosquito flight tone variation and completed her PhD in 2022 at UC Davis where she studied
Talia Wong, VMD, is a PhD student in the Epidemiology Graduate Group at UC Davis. Her work is focused on developing a vector control strategy for the primary vectors of West Nile virus in California, Culex tarsalis and Culex pipiens. Talia earned her VMD from the University of Pennsylvania and is an ACVP board-certified veterinary pathologist.
Karen Click, MPH, is a PhD student in the Epidemiology Graduate Group at UC Davis. She obtained her MPH from UC Berkeley, where she studied how land cover and drought affect Valley fever rates and seasonal patterns in California. Her dissertation will focus on the impacts of climate and health equity on West Nile virus transmission.
Sarah Abusaa, MPH, is a PhD student in the Epidemiology Graduate Group at UC Davis. Her research focuses on predicting the spread of the invasive mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. She obtained her MPH from Yale University, where she studied factors affecting household-level variation in the abundance of container-breeding mosquitoes on the island of Montserrat.
Ania Kawiecki, DVM is a PhD student in the Epidemiology Graduate Group at UC Davis. She has a DVM from Complutense University of Madrid, Spain, and a MS in virology from Louisiana State University. Ania has worked with our team in Iquitos, Peru, and her dissertation will focus on the epidemiology of dengue and Zika viruses.
Anam Safoora is an undergraduate student majoring in global disease biology. She is interested in studying the spread of vector-borne diseases and their impact on global health. She is currently working on her senior capstone project testing artificial intelligence accuracy in mosquito identification. When not in class or studying, she enjoys hiking and doing something fun outdoors