Dinglasan receives UFRF professorship

Dr. Rhoel Dinglasan

Dr. Rhoel Dinglasan

Dr. Rhoel Dinglasan, a professor of infectious diseases at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, has received a UF Research Foundation professorship.

“This recognition goes to faculty who have a distinguished current record of research and a strong research agenda that is likely to lead to continuing distinction in their fields,” said David Norton, UF’s vice president for research. “Based on the more than 700 UF faculty recognized over the past 26 years, we can expect significant research discoveries, scholarship and technology transfer from this group in the future.”

The UFRF Professors were recommended by their college deans based on nominations from their department chairs, a personal statement and an evaluation of their recent research accomplishments as evidenced by publications in scholarly journals, external funding, honors and awards, development of intellectual property and other measures appropriate to their field of expertise.

“Dr. Dinglasan’s scholarly contributions clearly identify him as a preeminent innovator and leader in his discipline, vector-borne diseases, with a focus on malaria and arboviruses,” said Dr. Julie Moore, chair of the Department of Infectious Diseases and Immunology at the college.

Recruited to UF in 2016 through the university’s preeminence initiative, he received tenure in 2018 and was promoted to professor in 2020.

Dinglasan leads an innovative and dynamic research program that focuses predominantly on developing new tools to combat malaria and arboviruses, which are transmitted by mosquitoes. Arboviruses, including dengue, Zika and West Vile, are increasingly a threat in Florida, and outbreaks of malaria, such as the one that occurred last year, are a persistent public health threat for Floridians.

“He has combined his interdisciplinary expertise in molecular vector biology, virology, parasitology, vaccinology, biochemistry, mass spectrometry and public health to make major advances that protect not only the lives of Florida residents but people across the globe who are at risk for arbovirus and malaria infections,” Moore said.

In addition to developing and bringing to clinical trial a novel malaria vaccine, developing the first ever saliva-based malaria diagnostic test that obviates the use of sharps to collect the test sample, and pioneering a highly efficient and reproducible system to study the elusive liver stage of the malaria parasite life cycle, Dinglasan’s efforts have changed the face of vector biology and public health entomology globally, she added.

Upon his arrival at UF, Dinglasan won $10 million in funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to establish one of five inaugural U.S.-based Regional Centers of Excellence in Vector-Borne Diseases. With these resources, and the multiple partners he assembled to conduct the work, Dinglasan has supported capacity building and establishment of a community of practice of vector biologists and public health entomologists across 12 southeastern states and two Caribbean territories. The accomplishments he facilitated through this project resulted in another $10 million in renewed funding to UF in 2022.

Over the past five years, Dinglasan’s grant portfolio has included extramural funding from federal sponsors as well as industry and foreign foundation funders that collectively exceeds $31.6 million, with another $6.3 million expected/committed. He also recently received a prestigious and highly competitive International Center of Excellence for Malaria Research grant from NIH that will total more than $3.7 million.

“This level of funding support places Dr. Dinglasan at the very top in our college and among the top 20% of earners at UF,” Moore said.

Since 2019, Dinglasan has published in 39 leading peer-reviewed specialist and generalist scientific journals. To date, his 99 cumulative publications have accumulated 2,089 citations. He has provided leadership in both local service activities and support of the scientific community and presents regularly at scientific conferences nationally and internationally.

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