William K. Reisen, ESA Fellow (2003)

Dr. William K. Reisen, retired research entomologist and professor emeritus at the University of California, Davis' Center for Vectorborne Diseases, was elected Fellow in 2003.  He is recognized for studies on the ecology and biology of mosquitoes and the dynamics of arbovirus transmission.

Son of an army warrant officer, Reisen was born in Jersey City, NJ, 11 February 1946. He moved from there to New York then Naples, Italy, and returned to New Jersey to graduate from high school.  He completed his B.S. in entomology and plant pathology at the University of Delaware in 1967 and his M.S. in zoology at Clemson University, SC in 1968.  He served in the U.S. Air Force as a medical entomologist in Luzon, Philippines (1969–1971), then obtained his Ph.D. in zoology at the University of Oklahoma in 1974.  He became an assistant professor of international medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, first in Baltimore and then at the Pakistan Medical Research Centre in Lahore (1974–1980).  Hired as a research entomologist with the Arbovirus Research Unit in the School of Public Health at UC-Berkeley, he was assigned to Bakersfield, where he served as director of the Arbovirus Field Station for the next 25 years.  Although the Arbovirus Unit moved in 1995 from Berkeley to UCD, to form the nucleus of the Center for Vectorborne Diseases within the School of Veterinary Medicine, Reisen remained in Bakersfield until 2005, then transferred to the Davis campus, eventually becoming director of the Center in 2009. On campus, Reisen became an adjunct professor in the Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology (2005–2014). 

His diverse research career can be divided into phases: aquatic entomology, tropical medicine, genetic control of mosquitoes, and arbovirology. His M.S. and Ph.D. focused on stream ecology in South Carolina and Oklahoma.  His military career in Southeast Asia and later in Pakistan and Nepal shifted to vector-borne diseases. In Pakistan and Berkeley, Reisen worked with teams of geneticists and performed some of the first releases of genetically modified mosquitoes. Emphasis then shifted to the ecology, epidemiology, surveillance, and control of arboviruses and their vectors in California. The U.S. invasion of West Nile virus and the ensuing epidemic, provided a final research focus (2000–present).  His research has been funded by >50 extramural grants totaling >$20M and documented by >290 peer reviewed papers, 22 book chapters and >150 popular articles.  Since moving to campus in 2005, Reisen has mentored 6 postdocs, 8 Ph.D. and 2 M.S. students. He co-teaches Vector-borne and Zoonotic Diseases and lectures in Medical Entomology.   

Reisen has served ESA as editor and co-editor of the Journal of Medical Entomology (1988–present); ESA Publications Council (2004); judging panel for Fellows (2008–2011); and secretary, chair-elect and chair of Section D, Medical and Veterinary Entomology (1996–1998). 

He married Norma Reyes while in the Philippines and they have two children, Catherine and Phillip.  He has enjoyed basketball, tennis, and golf.  He raises mangoes with his in-laws on a farm in the Philippines.

(Updated April, 2015)