Dr. Thomas Unnasch has served as the co-Director for the Center for Biological Defense at USF, as well as the chair of the Department of Global Health. He is currently the Strategic Area Lead for Global and Planetary Health at USF. In addition to EEEV and WNV, his funded research has included work on onchocerciasis, filariasis, Zika virus, dengue virus, and SARs-Cov2. Dr. Unnasch began arboviral encephalitides research in 1997, conducting preliminary studies on Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus (EEEV), St. Louis Encephalitis (SLE), and LaCrosse Virus. In 2000, he received funding as part of the
first round of the NIH-NSF joint program in the Ecology of Infectious Diseases to work on the ecology of EEEV.
He has maintained funding for this work continuously since then, primarily from the EID program and NIAID. As an outgrowth
of this research, following the terrorist attacks in 2001, his laboratory (then at UAB) received select agent certification.
The laboratory was the only one at UAB with select agent clearance at the time. In 2008, he relocated to USF, where he was
named the principal investigator of the BSL3/aBSL3 facility located in the laboratories of the Center for Biological Defense and the Center for Global Health Infectious Disease Research in the Interdisciplinary Research Building (IDRB). The facility was certified for select agent work with EEEV in 2009.