Coby Schal, ESA Fellow (2006)

Dr. CobySchal, Blanton J. Whitmire distinguished professor at North Carolina State University (NCSU), was elected as ESA Fellow in 2006. He was born in Poland, grew up in Israel, and moved to New York City in 1968. He received a B.S. degree in biology at the State University of New York, Albany in 1976, and Ph.D. in entomology at the University of Kansas, Lawrence (KU) in 1983. His Ph.D. research with Dr. W. J. Bell investigated community and behavioral ecology of tropical cockroach species, as well as pheromone communication and chemical defense.

His postdoctoral work on sex pheromones in gypsy moths and tiger moths was at the Department of Entomology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst with Dr. R. T. Cardé. Between 1984 and 1993, he was assistant and then associate professor and extension specialist of urban entomology at Rutgers University.

At NCSU since 1993, Schal’s research group has taken an integrative approach to challenging questions in fundamental insect biology and to urban pest problems. He particularly enjoys collaborative research, publishing with more than half of the faculty at NCSU’s Department of Entomology. A broad interest in chemical ecology includes collaborative studies on cockroach sex and aggregation pheromones and their physiological regulation, evolution of moth sexual pheromone communication, roles of microbes in attracting mosquitoes to oviposition sites, and functions of cuticular lipids in ant and termite nestmate recognition. Research on gustation includes collaborative projects on the electrophysiological basis of glucose-aversion in cockroaches, aimed in part at optimizing baits.

Recent urban entomology research has also investigated the biology of cockroach-produced allergens, intervention strategies to mitigate their pervasiveness in the indoor environment, and the impacts of environmental interventions on the health of asthmatic children. The Schal lab has also been investigating the recent resurgence of bed bugs through collaborative research in population genetics and chemical ecology. Research in the lab has been funded by EPA, HUD, NIH, NSF, USDA, private foundations and industry, and the Schal group has published over 220 refereed papers.

At NCSU, Dr. Schal is co-founder and an executive committee member of the W. M. Keck Center for Behavioral Biology. He has served on many panel and review boards including the editorial boards for the Journal of Economic Entomology, Archives of Insect Biochemistry and Physiology, Journal of Insect Science, and Psyche, and as subject editor for the Journal of Economic Entomology and Pest Management Science. He has also served on the ESA’s Governing Board.

Dr. Schal has received many prestigious awards including an Award for Research Excellence in Urban Entomology by Orkin Pest Control in 1997, the ESA Recognition Award in Urban Entomology in 1999, the ESA Recognition Award in Insect Physiology, Biochemistry, and Toxicology from the Southeastern Branch in 2005, elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2006, the Alumni Association Outstanding Research Award at NCSU in 2009, and the Silverstein-Simeone Award from the International Society of Chemical Ecology in 2011.

(updated September, 2011)