Athens, Ga. – Biao He, a renowned veterinary virologist and vaccine developer, has been appointed to the Fred C. Davison Distinguished University Chair in Veterinary Medicine.
He, a Georgia Research Alliance Distinguished Investigator and professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine’s department of infectious diseases, is known for his research on host-viral pathogen interactions and anti-viral vaccine development.
His laboratory focuses on defining viral pathogenesis at the molecular level and asking how viral proteins overcome host defense. He also collaborates with a large number of infectious disease researchers on UGA’s campus examining the efficacy of using a non-pathogenic parainfluenza virus as a vaccine against a variety of viral and other disease agents including HIV, influenza, tuberculosis and malaria, and as a novel anti-cancer therapy.
“Dr. He actively collaborates with many other investigators in the college and university, which is the fundamental objective for this endowed chair position,” said Sheila W. Allen, dean of the college. “Dr. He works with faculty in the basic and clinical sciences to help them better understand the nature of disease processes so that novel therapies can be developed.”
He earned a doctorate in microbiology and immunology in 1996 from the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center. He served as an assistant and then associate professor of veterinary and biomedical sciences at Pennsylvania State University before moving to UGA in 2009.
“Dr. He is the perfect choice for the Davison Chair. His collaborative nature and research programs are the essence of what this position was designed for,” said Fred Quinn, head of the college’s department of infectious diseases. “Dr. He is an extraordinary scientist and entrepreneur. His work, particularly in the area of vaccine development against emerging and zoonotic infectious diseases, will enhance our research reputation and provide a translational platform for the control of numerous problematic human and animal disease agents.”
Fred C. Davison graduated from the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine in 1952 and returned in 1964 to serve as dean. He became vice chancellor of the University System of Georgia in 1966 and was named UGA’s 17th president a year later. He served as president of the university until 1986.
Davison is considered largely responsible for boosting UGA’s recognition as a research institution. During his tenure as president, the university’s funding for research grants climbed by $20 million. By the 1970s, UGA ranked as one of the top 50 research institutions in the U.S.
“It is such a great honor to be named Davison Chair,” He said. “I am looking forward to continuing and expanding our collaborative research as well as to training our future generations of veterinarians.”
Alumni and friends of the college contributed the funds to endow the Fred C. Davison Distinguished University Chair in the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine.
UGA College of Veterinary Medicine
The College of Veterinary Medicine, founded in 1946 at UGA, is dedicated to training future veterinarians, conducting research related to animal and human diseases and providing veterinary services for animals and their owners. Research efforts are aimed at enhancing the quality of life for animals and people, improving the productivity of poultry and livestock and preserving a healthy interface between wildlife and people in the environment they share. The college enrolls 102 students each fall out of more than 900 who apply. For more information, see www.vet.uga.edu.
UGA College of Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital
The current UGA College of Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital, built in 1979, serves more than 22,500 patients a year in one of the smallest teaching hospitals in the U.S. The college is currently building a new veterinary medical learning center, which will include a new teaching hospital as well as classrooms and laboratories that will allow for the education of more veterinarians. For more information, see http://vet.uga.edu/vmlc/.