George P. Georghiou, ESA Fellow (1989)

Dr. George P. Georghiou (deceased 6 November 2000), professor of entomology at the University of California, Riverside (UCR), was elected as Fellow in 1989. He was known worldwide for his pioneering work on insecticide resistance in arthropods, developing principles for delaying its onset by rotating insecticides, varying their modes of action, and using refugia to maintain susceptible populations.

Georghiou was born in 1925 in Cyprus, becoming fascinated with biology and insects while working in his father's orange grove. But his first formal entomological training came with a scholarship to study abroad from the Cyprus government after WWII, which enabled him to enroll in the U.S. at Cornell University. He received his B.S. (with distinction) in 1952 and M.S. the following year. As part of his scholarship commitment, he returned to Cyprus for five years, working as the entomologist in charge of plant protection in the Department of Agriculture. He would return to the U.S. for his Ph.D. in insect toxicology from the University of California, Berkeley in 1960. Subsequently joining the faculty at UCR as an assistant professor, he would become full professor in 1969, and remain there until retiring in 1993. He served as head of the Division of Toxicology and Physiology from 1975–1983, and then chair of Entomology from 1983–1984. His influence was felt throughout his career on panels with the World Health Organization, providing advice for many countries, and on consultancies with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. He also served on panels for the National Academy of Sciences.

The choice of insect toxicology and more specifically resistance management to the burgeoning arsenal of insecticides coming with and after DDT, was a personal one for Georghiou. Malaria affected his mother and brother, spurring his desire to control the malarial mosquito vectors, while recognizing the increasing problem of resistance to insecticides. His multidisciplinary approach provided a firm foundation for developing principles and models that would be used in future management strategies not only for resistance to insecticides but also antibiotics. As a result of his work, resistance management became integral to IPM. He published over 220 publications, including two books, and editing a third. He was highly respected by his students, many of whom upon completion of their degrees, returned to their home countries to share their knowledge.

Georghiou was widely honored for his contributions to science and public health including election as Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1964), a Guggenheim Fellowship (1967), the USDA Superior Service Award (1989), and the International Award from the American Chemical Society (2000). He was honored with the J.E. Bussart Memorial Award from ESA in 1989 and the Pacific Branch honored him with the Woodworth Award in 1980.

Georghiou was happily married for 32 years to Claire, with whom he had a son, Paul, and daughter, Evelyn, and five grandchildren. After Claire's death in 1985, he married Lois. Georghiou was interested in history, art, music, and languages throughout his life.

(updated April, 2015)