In a nod to the essential function of science and testing in the course of the pandemic, Nam Tran, a professor of medical pathology, has been named parade marshal for UC Davis’ 108th Picnic Day, being held in particular person on the Davis campus this Saturday, April 23.

“I hope my function as parade marshal raises consciousness in regards to the superb work executed by pathologists, medical laboratory scientists, public well being personnel, infectious illness and prevention consultants, and plenty of others over these final two years,” stated Tran, who earned three levels on the Davis campus. “I additionally hope it encourages future Aggies to think about pursuing careers inside these associated disciplines.”

Tran is the senior director of medical pathology at UC Davis Well being and a key determine in COVID-19 testing.

Over the previous two years, he emerged as a nationwide spokesperson for diagnostic lab science. He has been a reliable authority in dozens of reports tales to assist the general public perceive COVID-19 testing, together with completely different testing choices, why PCR is the gold normal and why it’s not a good suggestion to swab your throat for the antigen check.

A man stands in front of a mechanized laboratory machine that processes medical samples.
Professor Nam Tran stands in entrance of the Roche cobas 6800, which allowed UC Davis to shortly scale up COVID-19 testing in 2020.

Tran stated he was humbled and appreciative at being chosen marshal. “I can be there to signify the numerous UC Davis laboratory professionals who joined the combat in opposition to COVID-19,” he stated.

‘Rediscovering Tomorrow’

Picnic Day, held virtually yearly since 1909, has grown right into a campuswide open home, one of many largest student-run occasions within the nation, showcasing the richness of variety and achievements at UC Davis. This yr’s theme is “Rediscovering Tomorrow,” because the campus group rediscovers the enjoyment of an in-person Picnic Day for the primary time since 2019. Parking on campus is free on Picnic Day.

Opening ceremonies, together with the introduction of Tran because the parade marshal, start at 9:30 a.m. on the grandstands on North Quad Avenue outdoors Wickson Corridor. The parade will begin there at 10:30 a.m., winding its approach to downtown Davis and again, and can be livestreamed.

Tran’s colleague Sergio Rodriguez, chemistry supervisor within the Division of Pathology and Laboratory Drugs, might be a part of him on the parade marshal’s float, however he’s not sure who else. “Lab of us are shy!” Tran quipped.

Upfront of Picnic Day, Tran will take part in a Zoom session, “Meet the 2022 Picnic Day Marshal,” midday Tuesday, April 19, highlighting the college’s distinctive accomplishments in the course of the pandemic.

Nam Tran

I’m trying ahead to seeing Picnic Day and the parade from a distinct perspective. Will probably be good to see the group come collectively and share all that’s nice about UC Davis!”Nam Tran

Speedy response

In the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, Tran and his colleagues gained nationwide consideration for growing a COVID-19 diagnostic check from scratch in simply 19 days for the then-novel coronavirus. UC Davis’ Good Manufacturing Follow Facility helped by producing the mandatory viral transport media. 4 further COVID-19 testing platforms have been deployed by June, together with a two-hour fast check for the Emergency Division.

When little or no was recognized in regards to the virus, Tran applied a course of to avoid wasting contaminated sufferers’ COVID-19 medical samples through the UC Davis Well being biorepository, so that they may very well be utilized in future analysis in collaboration with the Davis campus.

By fall 2020, Tran’s workforce rolled out a fast 20-minute PCR check that would detect each flu and COVID-19. Within the spring of 2021, Tran and his collaborators debuted a novel COVID-19 testing platform, to be used outdoors well being care amenities, in collaboration with business companion SpectraPass.

Tran additionally labored to gear up statewide testing as a member of the California COVID-19 Testing Activity Pressure and served on College of California COVID committees.

The battle isn’t over

The parade marshal stated he enjoys seeing individuals’s faces once more in conditions the place masks are now not required — however famous that the battle in opposition to COVID-19 is just not over.

“The problem is to deal with what we’ve got discovered in the course of the pandemic — akin to the present well being disparities exacerbated by the pandemic, the constraints of present exams, and the unknowns associated SARS-CoV-2 an infection. The virus nonetheless has quite a bit to show us,” Tran stated.

Man in a swimming pool holds a water polo ball in front of an opponent.
Tran, holding the ball, was a member of the UC Davis Males’s Membership Water Polo workforce as a graduate pupil.

Tran majored in biochemistry and molecular biology as an undergraduate, incomes a Bachelor of Science diploma in 2003, and went on to earn a Grasp of Science diploma in pharmacology and toxicology and a Ph.D. in comparative pathology.

His graduate and postgraduate analysis targeted on growing molecular infectious illness exams to be used in important, emergency and catastrophe conditions. This analysis for UC Davis’ Level-of-Care Applied sciences Middle laid the groundwork for Tran and his workforce to sort out the testing complexities introduced by COVID-19.

Along with supporting the combat in opposition to COVID-19, Tran continues analysis in point-of-care testing. He’s the principal investigator accountable for the inaugural buildup of the brand new Middle for Diagnostic Innovation in Sacramento.

“I’m trying ahead to seeing Picnic Day and the parade from a distinct perspective,” Tran stated. “A lot onerous work goes into planning such a big occasion. Will probably be good to see the group come collectively and share all that’s nice about UC Davis!”

Planning your day

Organizers stated the occasion will adhere to all state, county and campus public well being tips, with face coverings strongly beneficial (and required on public transit and in well being care settings). People who find themselves feeling sick are requested to remain house.

Indoor occasions and animal reveals might require the Day by day Symptom Survey at their very own discretion, which is out there for each campus associates and company.

Begin right here to plan your day: “What to See at Picnic Day 108,” from Dateline UC Davis. The article features a hyperlink to the schedule of occasions.


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