Dr. Thomas Unnasch named Distinguished University Health Professor

Thomas Unnasch, PhD, professor and chair of global health in the USF College of Public Health, was named Distinguished University Health Professor.


The award, established at USF Health in 2006, recognizes senior faculty across all USF Health colleges and programs for substantial achievements in the areas of research, teaching, or clinical care. Distinguished University Health Professors are nominated, reviewed by external peers, recommended by an internal committee, and then designated by the USF Health Senior Vice President. One professor is named each year. Distinguished University Health Professors serve as an advisory group for the Vice President USF Health and President of the University, and provide discussions and counsel on issues affecting the overall academic and scholarly activities of the University.

Dr. Unnasch, who joined USF Health in 2007, earned his PhD degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and conducted post-doctoral work at Harvard University. He specializes in molecular biology, vector biology and ecology, and tropical public health.

He is one of the world’s leading experts on onchocerciasis, or river blindness, a rare parasitic disease spread by the bite of a black fly that breeds in fast-flowing rivers.

In addition to receiving a $5,000 base salary adjustment, Dr. Unnasch is invited to give either a university-wide or USF Health address during the academic year, and is granted the State University System title of Distinguished Professor.