Media Sources on Coronavirus Outbreak

Woman scientist with mask surrounded by blurry images of other masked scientists
Charlotte Acharya, a staff research associate, talks with Kazunari Nozue and Nicole Slatterngren, research assistants, in the COVID testing laboratory on January 11, 2021. (Gregory Urquiaga, UC Davis)

The following UC Davis experts from a variety of academic disciplines are available to offer commentary about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and its effects.

We've also compiled our news releases on research related to the coronavirus.

Zoonotic disease 

Jonna Mazet is a professor of epidemiology and disease ecology with the One Health Institute at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. She is a member of the Board of Directors of Global Virome Project and served as global director of the USAID PREDICT project for 10 years, an early-warning project aimed at finding emerging viruses before they spread to humans. Since 2009, PREDICT has empowered partners in over 30 countries to deploy a One Health approach for zoonotic disease prevention, detection, and response, including supporting 60 laboratories in the world's most risky areas for spillover to be able to do virus discovery. The project's teams have collected and tested samples from more than 164,000 animals and people and detected almost 1,200 potentially zoonotic viruses, among them 160 novel coronaviruses, including multiple SARS- and MERS-like coronaviruses. She can discuss emerging infectious disease, related conservation challenges and global health problem solving strategies. (Watch her TEDMED Talk: “What If We Could Immunize the World Against Pandemics?) Contact:

Christine Kreuder Johnson is a professor of epidemiology and ecosystem health and associate director of the One Health Institute, where she directs the EpiCenter for Disease Dynamics. She can discuss disease spillover and spread and the drivers of zoonotic disease transmission. She directs animal and human surveillance activities for USAID’s Emerging Pandemic Threats PREDICT project. Contact:

Human health

Dean Blumberg is chief of pediatric infectious diseases and associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics at UC Davis Children’s Hospital. He can discuss preventing and treating infections such as the novel coronavirus. He is also co-host of the Kids Considered podcast, a conversation between two pediatricians, discussing child health topics of interest to parents in plain, non-medical language. Contact:

Stuart Cohen is chief of infectious diseases at UC Davis Health. Dr. Cohen specializes in treating challenging syndromes linked with infectious diseases, infection and outbreak control, and the epidemiology of resistant microorganisms. His research focuses on developing new antimicrobial agents. He is available to comment on COVID-19. Contact:

Samuel Díaz-Muñoz is an assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, College of Biological Sciences and at the UC Davis Genome Center. He is fluent in Spanish and can discuss the biology of viruses in general. Díaz-Muñoz studies the social lives of viruses: how different viruses interact with other in the same host, and the evolution and ecology of viruses. Contact:

Animal health

Niels Pedersen is a distinguished professor emeritus at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and active in research of infectious and immunologic diseases in dogs and cats. He can discuss coronavirus species and disease in cats, dogs and pigs. He is considered a world authority on feline coronavirus diseases such as feline infectious peritonitis, or FIP, a highly fatal disease in kittens. He has led research examining the safety and efficacy of drug treatment for cats with FIP. Contact:

Jane Sykes is a professor of small animal medicine at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine with a special interest in small animal infectious diseases. She can discuss transmission of coronavirus and other infectious diseases between humans and pets. She has co-authored more than 100 peer-reviewed publications and is the editor of the Elsevier textbook Canine and Feline Infectious Diseases. Contact:

Kate Hurley is the program director for the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program. She can speak to animal shelter policy and practices during the coronavirus outbreak. Hurley is an authority on the welfare of confined cats and dogs, humane and effective strategies to manage community cats, and infectious disease. Her research interests include emerging or re-emerging diseases affecting dogs and cats in shelters, and the relationship between housing, health, wellness and adoption for shelter animals. Contact:

Cindy Karsten is the outreach veterinarian for the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program. She can discuss best practices for pet owners during coronavirus outbreak. She can also speak about the risk to pets and discuss recommendations for shelters and animal control officers to keep people and animals safe. Contact:

Economy, stock market, energy

Brad Barber is the Gallagher Professor of Finance at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management. Barber’s research focuses on asset pricing, behavioral finance, and private equity. He currently serves on the advisory boards of the Academic Female Finance Committee, or AFFECT, and the Principles of Responsible Investment, or PRI. He was a principal investigator for the CalPERS Sustainable Investment Research Initiative, or SIRI (2012-16), and the finance department editor for Management Science (2009-12). He is the founder of the Napa Finance Conference. Contact: 530-752-0512;

Alan M. Taylor, professor of economics and finance, has appointments in the Department of Economics and the Graduate School of Management. He is also a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a research fellow of the Center for Economic Policy Research in London. He currently serves as a co-editor at the Journal of International Economics. His research interests span macroeconomics, finance, international trade and economic history. Contact:

Òscar Jordà, professor of economics, specializes in macroeconomics, central banking and monetary policy. Together with professor Alan M. Taylor and Sanjay R. Singh authored a working paper in March 2020 on the historic economic effects of pandemics. The research was written about on

Keith Taylor is an extension professor at the University of California’s Cooperative Extension and UC Davis’ Department of Community and Regional Development and teaches in the Department of Human Ecology. Taylor is a recognized leader in utility cooperative governance and has worked widely with energy utilities nationally. Taylor focuses on rural economic issues. Contact:

Catherine Brinkley is an assistant professor of Community and Regional Development in the Department of Human Ecology. Her research centers around One Health, a concept that considers health shared among humans, animals and the environment. She is a city planner who conducts spatial analyses to inform practice. Brinkley focuses on economic issues and urban planning.

Mark Agerton, assistant professor in the Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics, is available to discuss his research on U.S. oil and gas supply issues. Contact:

See also: Source list on tariffs and trade

Food, merchandise and water supply, safety

Daniel Sumner, the Frank H. Buck Jr. Distinguished Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics, is the director of the University of California Agricultural Issues Center. He can address food supply-chain issues related to the coronavirus effects. His research and writing focus particularly on the consequences of farm and trade policy on agriculture and the economy. His work on agriculture and trade relates to NAFTA, the European Union and China. Prior to beginning his current position in January 1993, Sumner was the assistant secretary for economics at the United States Department of Agriculture. His research has an emphasis on agricultural trade in the Pacific Rim (especially Korea), dairy industry issues and rice policy. Contact:

Erin DiCaprio is an assistant Cooperative Extension specialist of food safety in the Department of Food Science and Technology. She can speak about coronavirus and food safety issues. She has expertise in microbial food safety, on-farm food safety related to produce production, food safety of processed foods, and food regulations. She is the regional lead for the Western Regional Center to Enhance Food Safety. She also co-hosts the UC Food Safety website, which contains food safety information for consumers, growers, and food processors. Click here for information on COVID-19 and food safety. Contact:

Thomas Harter, a professor and UC Cooperative Extension groundwater hydrologist at UC Davis can discuss the risk for COVID-19 transmission in domestic well water. He works with the agricultural industry, government agencies, and NGOs to manage groundwater resources. Learn more. Contact: (530) 400-1784,

Leigh Ann Simmons, chair of the Department of Human Ecology in the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, researches equity in health care delivery and chronic disease prevention in rural areas as well as food supply issues. Contact:

Rachel Chen, professor in the Graduate School of Management, conducts cutting edge research on operations and supply chain management. Contact:

Shannon Anderson is Michael and Joelle Hurlston Presidential Chair and Professor in the Graduate School of Management. Anderson's expertise focuses on performance measurement and cost control systems. Contact:

Food assistance, safety net

Marianne Bitler, professor of economics, has written widely on food assistance programs and the safety net in the United States. Recently, she chaired  a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine panel advising the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service on a  “A Consumer Food Data System for 2030 and Beyond.” A recent article for Econofact discussed the responsiveness of TANF, SNAP, unemployment insurance and the EITC during the Great Recession. Contact:

Reducing anxiety and fear; mental health

Peter Yellowlees, M.D., M.B.B.S., is chief wellness officer at UC Davis Health. He is an expert in physician health and telepsychiatry who has published seven books and over 200 scientific articles and book chapters. He was interviewed on Facebook Live about wellness strategies to reduce anxiety brought on by coronavirus. He authored a Medscape commentary about how physicians and health systems can reduce fear around COVID-19. Contact:; media relations contact: Carole Gan,

Richard Sexton is a distinguished professor in Agricultural and Resource Economics. Sexton researches agricultural marketing and trade, economics of cooperatives, and industrial organization. He analyzes agricultural markets, particularly Californian fruit, vegetable, and nut industries. Contact:

Gabriel J. (Jack) Chin is the Martin Luther King Jr. Professor at the School of Law. His research focuses on immigration law, criminal procedure, and race and law. Recently he discussed the constitutionality of hoarding food and toilet paper in the times of Coronavirus. Contact:

Donald A. Palmer is a professor at the Graduate School of Management. He researches the causes, processes, and consequences of wrongdoing in and by organizations. He also investigates the role of power and politics in corporate decision making. Recently he weighed in on the causes of hoarding in times of Coronavirus. Contact:

Clare Cannon is an associate professor of community and regional development in the Department of Human Ecology at UC Davis. Her research covers the intersection of social inequality, health and environmental justice. Earlier this year Cannon and colleagues at Tulane University in New Orleans surveyed almost 400 people about their emotional and mental health as the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns were taking hold. Contact:

Paul Hastings is a professor of psychology and a faculty member at the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain. He is currently running two surveys of personal and social responses to the pandemic. One survey looks at activities focused on others compared to those focused on the self, and a second survey measures how parents specifically are responding to the challenges of the pandemic. Contact:


Jeffrey Sherman, professor of psychology, researches and investigates the cognitive processes underlying social psychology and behavior. In particular, he is interested in how people perceive themselves, other people and groups of people. Much of his research focuses on stereotyping and prejudice. The topics he studies include: how people acquire stereotypes and prejudice, how stereotypes and prejudice affect our perceptions and memories of other people, the extent to which these biases are efficient or even automatic, and how people may or may not control unwanted stereotypes and prejudices. In addition to his academic appointment in psychology, Sherman is an affiliated faculty member of the Center for Mind and Brain. He also is principal investigator of the Social Cognition Lab. He currently serves as the editor of Social Cognition. Contact:

Stress and social distancing

Other professors of psychology on various issues related to COVID-19 effects are listed below. The name offers a link to their full biography and website.

Social and community risk

Professor Tom Beamish, sociology, has research and publications focusing on environmental hazards and risks; social and community movements; organizations and the economy; and science, technology and innovation studies. He has recently completed his second book, titled Community at Risk: Biodefense and the Collective Search for Security (Stanford University Press). This book focuses on and compares local community based civic politics in three different communities surrounding a controversial and risky government led biodefense proposal. He commented about the virus in the Washington Post. Contact:

Civil rights, unrest

For sources on historic statue removal, civil rights, unrest, the history of Juneteenth and related issues. Contact: Karen Nikos-Rose, media relations,; 530-219-5472.

Forced closures, ‘police power’

Elizabeth Joh, professor of law, has written an article for Politico on the subject of the rights of governments to force businesses, schools and other entities to close. “States — and their cities and counties by extension — possess what has long been known as a ‘police power’ to govern for the health, welfare and safety of their citizens. This broad authority, which can be traced to English common law and is reserved to the states by the 10th Amendment, is far from radical; it justifies why states can regulate at all.” Contact:

For assistance, please contact: 

  • Kat Kerlin, UC Davis News and Media Relations, One Health Institute, environmental) 530-752-7704,
  • Karen Finney, UC Davis Health, 916-734-9064, 
  • Karen Nikos-Rose, UC Davis News and Media Relations, (economics and psychology sources, law, social sciences, business, history), 530-752-6101, 
  • Amy Quinton, UC Davis News and Media Relations, (veterinary sources) 530-752-9843,



Primary Category

Secondary Categories

Human & Animal Health