Bradley A. Mullens, ESA Fellow (2011)

Dr. Brad Mullens, a professor at the University of California, Riverside (UCR), was elected as Fellow in 2011. He is known internationally for research in veterinary entomology.

Mullens was born in Audubon, IA on 5 April 1954 and later moved to Knoxville, TN. Mullens obtained his B.S. degree in animal science in 1976 and his M.S. degree in entomology in 1979 from the University of Tennessee (UT). While at UT, he fell in love with, and married, an amazing country girl named Teresa Ragain and they have two boys, Chris and Patrick. Mullens earned his entomology Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1982. After graduation, an assistant professor job was waiting for him at UCR.

Mullens’ research is characterized by diverse, in-depth, multi-year field ecology studies that provide management tools while revealing new information about pest biology or host-parasite relationships. Mullens has worked with many arthropod pests of poultry, livestock, and wildlife, but he is especially known worldwide for his work with bluetongue virus (BTV) in ruminants.  His innovative cultural control experiments targeted aquatic immatures of the principal vector, Culicoides sonorensis Wirth & Jones, by manipulating organic loading, water levels, and edge slopes in dairy wastewater ponds. Later studies included research on mermithid nematodes, detailed documentation of attack rates on cattle compared with trap collections, and a rare, comprehensive attempt to document all components of vectorial capacity and relate them to pathogen transmission. Following an unprecedented BTV outbreak in 1999, Mullens advised European colleagues on field studies for vector monitoring, control, and suppressing disease spread.

Mullens’ field studies with other fly pests and poultry ectoparasites also have been innovative.  In one of Mullens’ most intensive studies, he monitored 100 individual cows 5 days per week for an entire stable fly season and documented fly defensive responses and one of the first clear instances of behavioral habituation to biting flies.  In his work with poultry pests, he showed the importance of intact beaks and dustbathing for grooming and pest suppression, how the hen immune response suppresses mites, and how ectoparasites distribute related to on-host microhabitat factors such as temperature.  His work has become especially relevant for recent concerns about animal welfare.

Mullens loves teaching, including such courses as Natural History of Insects, Medical and Veterinary Entomology, and Aquatic Insects. He has received several awards in his career including the ESA Pacific Branch awards for IPM and Medical/Veterinary Entomology, ESA’s Recognition Award, the Lifetime Achievement Award for Veterinary Entomology, outstanding paper award from Medical and Veterinary Entomology (MVE) for 2006–2007, and is Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society. Mullens has held several service positions including two terms on the editorial board of the Journal of Medical Entomology (JME), subject editor for JME and the Journal of Economic Entomology, the editorial boards of MVE and Veterinarni Medicina, Chair of ESA Section D, symposium organizer, student-competition judge,  and session moderator. Mullens’ hobbies include making oldtime music on various Appalachian instruments, fishing, and hunting with his Labrador.

(updated June, 2012)