Robert K. Washino, ESA Fellow (1996)

Dr. Robert K. Washino, emeritus professor and former chair of the Department of Entomology at the University of California Davis (UCD), was elected as Fellow in 1996. He is internationally known for his work with mosquitoes and vector control, devoting his career to advancing public health.

Washino was born and grew up in Sacramento, CA, admiring even then those who worked with mosquitoes such as Walter Reed, who discovered that yellow fever was transmitted by a mosquito. He received a B.S. in public health from the University of California Berkeley in 1954, an M.S. from UCD in 1956, and served as an entomologist in the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps from 1956–1958 in Europe. He joined the entomology faculty at UCD in 1964, before finishing his Ph.D. in 1967. He would chair the department from 1981–1987, and again post-retirement. He was appointed as associate dean of Academic Affairs in the UCD College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and also served a record tenure as a trustee of the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District (SYMVC) from 1973–2011, where he was elected as its president five times.

Washino published 193 papers and abstracts on mosquito biology, ecology and control, and co-authored the third edition of the authoritative treatise, Mosquitoes of California in 1978. In the 1990s, he led the effort to procure federal and state support for the construction of high security containment facilities at UCD and UC Riverside to facilitate studies involving exotic plant pests and diseases threatening the state. The reach of his contribution extended not only locally and statewide, but also nationally in testifying before Congress and serving on federal and state task forces involving the management of the exotic Africanized honey bee and Mediterranean fruit fly, and internationally with the World Health Organization.

Washino was very active in the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA), serving as its president from 1980–1981, as editor of the Journal of AMCA from 1996–1998, and winning the AMCA Medal of Honor in 1997. He represented Section D, Medical and Veterinary Entomology, on the ESA Governing Board from 1977–1980, and the Pacific Branch awarded him the 1987 C.W. Woodworth Award. In 1990, he served as president of the Mosquito and Vector Control Association of California. Lanzaro and Eldridge named Aedes washinoi in his honor in 1992, adding it to the list of North American species. In 1994, the SYMVC Washino Laboratory was named in his honor, a resource center and library that he helped design, and to which he has gifted his literature and photographic collection. Among Washino's awards are the 1996 Distinguished Achievement Award from the Society for Vector Ecology; the 2005 Harry Hoogstraal Medal for Outstanding Achievement in Medical Entomology, recognizing the global reach of his work on mosquito ecology and control; and the 2012 Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award from UCD's Academic Senate.

Married to his wife, Connie, for over 50 years, they are the parents of three and grandparents of four children.

(updated April, 2015)