Distinguished scientist: David Brett-Major, MD

David Brett-Major, MD

This profile is part of a series to highlight the researchers who will be honored at a ceremony on March 9 for UNMC’s Scientist Laureate, Research Leadership, Distinguished Scientist, New Investigator and Community Service to Research Award recipients.

Distinguished scientist

The Distinguished Scientist Award — which is sponsored by the chancellor — recognizes researchers who have been among the most productive scientists at UNMC during the past five years.

  • Name: David Brett-Major, MD
  • Title: Professor, UNMC Department of Epidemiology
  • Joined UNMC: December 2019
  • Hometown: Davie, Florida

Please describe your research focus in three words or less: 

Pathogen agnostic risk

Why is research important in the world today? 

Asking questions and striving to answer them helps us to continually achieve better patient- and community-centered outcomes.

My research will make a difference because: 

Always chasing the next pathogen is like 4-year-olds playing soccer. Ultimately, we need the efficiency, sustainability and power of risk-management solutions that matter regardless of the threat.

The best advice I’ve ever received is: 

I have relied upon a lot of advice over the years. I have not received a best bit; they each mattered in their time and space. However, it is near my late father-in-law’s birthday. He used to say, “It is too late to duck when you already have been shot.”

Three things you may not know about me are:

  • I expect you to do as I say and not as I do.
  • The longer that I take to cook something, the worse it is. This happens to be a family trait.
  • My work has not always been in health. But, like everyone else, health as a theme has always impacted my work. Consequently, thinking clearly and rigorously about those impacts and making well-informed choices is something that I believe that all of us can do.


  1. Lisa Spellman says:

    Love the quotes and insight! Congratulations on being named a distinguished scientist!

  2. Katherine Gaddis says:

    Congratulations, Dr. Brett-Major!

  3. Nicole Kolm-Valdivia says:

    Excellent! Congratulations, Dr. Brett-Major!

  4. Vicky NMuli says:

    Congratulations, Dr. Brett-Major.

  5. Mike Wadman says:

    Congrats David! Well-deserved honor.

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