Professor Peter Rabinowitz '70 studies how animal diseases like Coronavirus infect humans
Dr. Peter Rabinowitz '70 is a physician and researcher at the University of Washington in Seattle, and leads the University's MetaCenter for Pandemic Disease Preparedness. An expert in zoonotic disease (i.e. those transmitted from animals to people), Peter outlined in a Seattle Times op-ed earlier this month the key COVID-19 questions researchers in his field are focused on.
He outlines, "If food animals were involved in infecting humans, we need to...know which animals and why. We need to understand and address the global deforestation and other habitat destruction that puts us in closer contact with wildlife species such as bats. We need to confront the loss of biodiversity that increases the risk of pathogens jumping from wildlife species to domestic animals or humans." The full op-ed titled "3 steps to help prevent another animal-to-human virus pandemic" can be found on The Seattle Times' website.The study of health linkages between humans, animals, and the environment is an emerging field known as "One Health." Not surprisingly, Peter also directs UW's Center for One Health Research, whose topics of study range from diseases jumping to humans from wildlife and mosquitoes to health care for homeless people and their animals. The newest study Peter's lab has launched looks at whether people with COVID-19 can transmit the virus to their pets.
At Shady Hill, Peter spent many early mornings birdwatching in Mt Auburn Cemetery with SHS teacher Kathleen Raoul and other interested students. Peter trained as a family physician and a specialist in Occupational and Environmental Medicine. He credits his decision to start an academic center for One Health to a conversation with SHS classmate Nat Foote at a previous reunion. “Nat told me that if animals and nature were my passion, I should just go ahead and find a way to merge that with my medical background” he says.
Shady Hill is honored to count Peter as a graduate. His leadership in pandemic disease research and his pioneering role in the field of One Health make us proud!