Ralf Nauen, ESA Fellow (2013)

Dr. Ralf Nauen, a Bayer CropScience (BCS) Research Fellow in Monheim, Germany, was elected as Fellow in 2013. He is internationally recognized for his research in insect toxicology and resistance, focused on insecticide mode of action, resistance mechanisms, and management.

Nauen was born in Leverkusen, Germany, 31 December 1964. In 1981 he joined Bayer where he completed a program as certified laboratory assistant in biology in 1984. While working in the Plant Protection Division at Bayer he became interested in insect toxicology.  He studied chemistry at the Polytechnical College in Cologne, where he received a national diploma in chemistry in 1992. Afterwards he studied biology at the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Portsmouth, UK and received a Ph.D. for his work on insecticide pharmacokinetics. He then became a research scientist at BCS, working on insect toxicology and insecticide resistance spread, mechanisms, and management. In 2009 Dr. Nauen was elected as a research fellow at BCS. He is also lecturer (equivalent to adjunct professor) at the University of Hannover and has been the major supervisor for more than 30 Ph.D. and M.Sc. students in his laboratory.

His early research centered on neonicotinoid insecticides investigating the antifeedant properties of imidacloprid and reporting on the first issues of neonicotinoid resistance in whiteflies and molecular mechanisms of resistance. Dr. Nauen’s work on neonicotinoids and nicotinic acetylcholine receptors resulted in several highly cited book chapters and reviews. In addition to his publication record (140 peer-reviewed papers including 14 book chapters, cited more than 3350 times), Dr. Nauen also has 26 patents/patent applications that cover a range of novel insect control agents, genetic methods for insecticide discovery, and new chemistries. At BCS he contributed to the discovery, characterization, and development of novel insect control products such as neonicotinoids, cyclic ketoenols (e.g., spirotetramat), flubendiamide, and most recently the butenolide insecticide, flupyradifurone.

His research on insecticide and acaricide resistance covered more than a dozen invertebrate pests and many classes of insecticides. He and his co-authors published papers on insecticide resistance, its mechanisms and management, including the first case of complete maternal inheritance of resistance to an acaricide and the first paper on a ryanodine receptor target-site mutation in diamondback moth resistant to the newly introduced class of diamide insecticides. Dr. Nauen has been a long-time and very active member of the Insecticide Resistance Action Committee serving in a variety of capacities, including chairman from 2008–2013. As chairman, he expanded company membership and its global influence. He also serves as secretary of the German Expert Committee on Pesticide Resistance and is member of the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization Resistance Panel.

Dr. Nauen has been one of the preeminent scientists on the subject of insecticide resistance, and he organized and chaired several symposia at international conferences and gave numerous invited and keynote presentations in meetings, conferences, and symposia globally. He is Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society, UK, serves on several editorial boards, and is an executive editor of Pest Management Science.

Updated, December 2013