Dr. Patricia Conrad is a veterinarian and professor of parasitology whose interest is in the transmission of protozoal parasites between wildlife, humans and domestic animals. She leads an enthusiastic research team of graduate students, staff and collaborators investigating the presence of disease-causing parasites and bacteria in freshwater, marine and coastal ecosystems in California. Her current research on the land-to-sea flow of pathogens exemplifies the ‘One Health’ approach to assessing the risks of biological pollution on the health of wildlife (including marine mammals), domestic animals and humans. Developing new technologies for parasite detection, identifying new species and understanding the many factors that affect disease transmission are important part of their studies.
Dr. Conrad received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Colorado State University. As a Marshall Scholar she did her doctoral research at the Centre for Tropical Veterinary Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Scotland obtaining a Ph.D. in Tropical Animal Health and Protozology in 1984. Her post-doctoral research focused on the molecular epidemiology of vector-transmitted parasites of cattle and African Cape buffalo at the International Laboratory for Research on Animal Diseases in Nairobi, Kenya. She joined the faculty of the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis in 1988.
Dr. Conrad has worked on tropical diseases of livestock and wildlife in Scotland, Kenya and South Africa. Her experience working on tick-transmitted diseases in Africa lead to the discovery of new species of related parasites in dogs (Babesia conradae) and humans (Babesia duncani) in the U.S.A. Similarly, Dr. Conrad’s appreciation for the importance of livestock, especially dairy cattle, (a passion that prompted her to go to Africa after finishing her PhD) was evident in the success that she and her collaborators in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine later had in improving the diagnosis and control of Neosporosis, a disease that once discovered in 1988 proved to be a major cause of abortion in cattle with significant economic impacts on the dairy industry in California.
As the Co-Director of the One Health Center of Expertise in the University of California Global Health Institute, Dr. Conrad promotes collaborative research and education that considers the interconnectedness of humans, animals and environmental (land-use change worldwide (https://www.ucghi.universityofcalifornia.edu/
). Dr. Conrad was selected as an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow in 2004 for her work on the impact of pathogen pollution on threatened Southern sea otters and is committed to conveying science to policy makers and the public to improve animal and human health and environmental sustainability (http://www.leopoldleadership.org/content/fellows/search-detail.jsp?id=81
Dr. Conrad is the recipient of Carl J. Norden Distinguished Teaching Award, Pfizer Award for Research Excellence, and the Oscar W. Schalm and Norman E. Levine Lectureships. She currently has over 180 scientific publications in the fields of parasitology and emerging infectious diseases. Dr. Conrad is also a committed graduate and professional student mentor and has developed innovative computerized educational programs to encourage active problem-based learning in parasitology and global One Health.
In October 2011 Dr. Conrad was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies that provides national advice in the USA on issues relating to biomedical science, medicine, and health.
Her UC Davis faculty website is http://faculty.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/faculty/paconrad/.