Consuelo De Moraes, ESA Fellow (2013)

Dr. Consuelo De Moraes, a professor at The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, Switzerland, was elected as Fellow in 2013. She is an entomologist and ecologist who studies the complex role of chemistry in interactions among plants, insects, and other organisms; and her research addresses phenomena at scales ranging from the molecular and biochemical bases of plant responses to insect herbivory to the community-level effects of chemical signaling. She is particularly interested in the ecological functions of plant-derived olfactory cues, and many of her most significant research accomplishments have documented previously unexpected levels of informational complexity in plant volatile emissions and elucidated the sophisticated ways in which insects and other organisms interpret and respond to volatile signals.

A native Brazilian, De Moraes, earned her B.Sc. from the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil in 1992.  After graduating, she came to the U.S. and completed a doctorate in entomology at the University of Georgia in 1998.  Since 2001, she was a faculty member in the Department of Entomology at Penn State. In 2013 she accepted a professorship atETH where she heads the Laboratory of Biocommunication and Entomology. 

Over the course of her career, Dr. De Moraes has amassed an impressive record of innovative research and has produced a number of truly groundbreaking studies—some of which have revealed completely novel and unexpected aspects of chemical signaling and opened new lines of research into the chemical mediation of interactions among plants and other organisms. This work has been broadly influential both within and beyond the field of chemical ecology. De Moraes’ findings have been published in leading scientific journals including Nature,Science,and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science and frequently receive coverage from popular press outlets around the world. Her research is discussed in textbooks from a variety of life-science disciplines and has been the subject of several documentary films and articles in major media outlets and popular science magazines that reach a broad audience.

Dr. De Moraes’ accomplishments have been recognized through numerous awards and honors, including a prestigious Packard Foundation Fellowship; the Beckman Foundation Young Investigator award; the DuPont Young Professor award; the ESA Early Career Innovation Award; The International Chemical Ecology Society’s Silverstein-Simeone Award, and the NSF CAREER Award. She was recently named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She has received steady funding from a range of government and foundation sources, including the National Science Foundation, the USDA, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  She has also played an active role in promoting the field of chemical ecology and entomology through public outreach and education. Her research program is engaged in a variety of innovative educational programs centered on the science of chemical ecology, including the development of learning activities for school children and workshops for promising high-school students.

(updated February, 2014)