Veterinary virologist earns UC Davis kudos

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Davis, Calif.- Dr. Tilahun Yilma, a veterinary virologist who genetically engineered a vaccine for a deadly cattle disease and is now working to develop an AIDS vaccine, is named the 2002 Faculty Research Lecturer by the University of California, Davis.

Davis, Calif.-Dr. Tilahun Yilma, a veterinary virologist who genetically engineered a vaccine for a deadly cattle disease and is now working to develop an AIDS vaccine, is named the 2002 Faculty Research Lecturer by the University of California, Davis.

The premier honor recognizes exceptional research contributions of a campus faculty member.

After earning his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 1970 from UC Davis, Yilma returned to Ethiopia and spent two years as a veterinarian tracking nomadic herders in a campaign to vaccinate Africa's cattle and wipe out rinderpest.

When Yilma returned to UC Davis in 1986 as a professor, he planned to develop a rinderpest vaccine suited for Africa. In one year, he published in the journal Science, the development of a simple vaccine produced through genetic engineering.

Yilma spent the next decade refining the vaccine and in 1997 the vaccine was approved for widespread use throughout Africa.

His research efforts are now focused on using similar recombinant-DNA technology to develop a vaccine for AIDS.

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