Phillip G. Lawyer, ESA Fellow (2014)

Dr. Phillip G. Lawyer retired as core staff scientist/medical entomologist at the Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases, in the National Institute of Health's National Institute of Allergy Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and the Division of Entomology at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR). Elected as Fellow in 2014, he is recognized internationally for research on sand flies (Psychodidae: Phlebotominae) and associated diseases, with special emphasis on sand fly biology and vector-parasite interactions (Leishmania and  Bartonella).

Dr. Lawyer was born in Wenatchee, WA, on 10 May 1945, and spent his childhood and adolescent years in Washington, Alaska, and Utah. He earned a B.S. in 1970 and an M.S. in medical entomology in 1971, both from the University of Utah, and a Ph.D. in medical entomology in 1984 from the University of Florida.

His professional experience spans over 43 years in operational and extension entomology, teaching, and research, including 30 years in the U.S. Army. He was the last military entomologist deployed to the Republic of Vietnam, where he conducted malaria control operations, plague surveillance, and supervised inspections of cargo leaving the country. At the U.S. Army Environmental Hygiene Agency, he conducted pest-management surveillance at military installations in 18 midwestern and northeastern states. He served two years as pest-management instructor at the Army’s Academy of Health Sciences at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, TX. He was selected for an Army educational fellowship at the University of Florida to earn a Ph.D., and upon graduation was assigned to the WRAIR Department of Entomology as head of the Leishmaniasis Vector Research Section, followed by four years in Kenya researching the epidemiology of leishmaniasis in the Great Rift Valley. After returning from Kenya, assignments included: chief of the WRAIR Department of Entomology; chief, Defense Pest Management Information Analysis Center, Armed Forces Pest Management Board; entomology consultant to the Army Surgeon General; and associate professor of Medical Zoology, Division of Preventive Medicine and Biometrics, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS). Upon retiring from the Army in 2001, Colonel Lawyer joined the Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases, NIAID, where he oversaw the establishment and maintenance of 17+ sand fly colonies used in leishmaniasis and bartonellosis research. His sand fly mass-rearing procedures are used in laboratories throughout the world.

Dr. Lawyer’s international experience includes numerous research projects in Central and South America, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. He has authored or co-authored more than 70 refereed publications and four book chapters. He served seven years as sand fly subject matter editor for the Journal of Medical Entomology and has organized several sand fly symposia for ESA Annual Meetings. He has served on the Scientific Program Committee for the International Symposium on Phlebotomine Sand Flies since 1991. Awards include the Bronze Star Medal (Vietnam); “A” Designator (Army equivalent of full professor); and various Outstanding Mentor awards for working with students too numerous to count but too amazing to forget.

Dr. Lawyer is married with six children and 19 grandchildren. His hobbies include gardening and painting.

(updated February, 2015)