David M. Soderlund, ESA Fellow (2015)

Dr. David M. Soderlund, professor of entomology at Cornell University, was elected as Fellow in 2015. He is recognized internationally as a leading authority on the toxicology and mode of action of insecticides affecting ion channels.

Soderlund was born in Oakland, California, in 1950. He received a B.S. in biology with high honors from Pacific Lutheran University (1971) and a Ph.D. in entomology from the University of California at Berkeley (1976) under the direction of John Casida. Following postdoctoral research with Michael Elliott at Rothamsted Experimental Station in the United Kingdom, he joined the Entomology Department at Cornell University’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in 1978, where he is Professor of Insecticide Toxicology. He served from 2007–2010 as the last Chair of the Entomology Department at Geneva, guiding that department's merger in 2010 with Cornell’s Entomology Department in Ithaca, and then was Associate Chair of the merged Entomology Department at Cornell from 2010–2012. From 1999–2015, Soderlund also served as the Director of the Northeast Region IR-4 Program at Cornell, part of a national cooperative program between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and land-grant universities, to register crop protection tools for use on specialty crops.

Soderlund’s research, spanning more than 35 years, produced numerous contributions to the science of insecticide toxicology, but he is best known for his research on the toxicology and mode of action of insecticides affecting voltage-gated sodium channels. This work, which includes studies of sodium channels from rats and humans as well as insects, identified molecular mechanisms of target site resistance to pyrethroids in insects and characterized the action of insecticides on individual mammalian sodium channel isoforms. These studies not only identified differences in sensitivity between isoforms that underlie pyrethroid neurotoxicity but also provided an experimental platform for the study of insecticide action on human sodium channels, an area of research with important regulatory implications. Soderlund has authored more than 110 research publications and 21 reviews and book chapters, and he holds four patents. He has mentored 24 postdoctoral scientists and 14 graduate and undergraduate students.

Awards that have recognized Soderlund’s accomplishments and contributions include: the 1990 Centennial Alumnus of Pacific Lutheran University; ESA Eastern Branch 2001 Distinguished Achievement Award in Insect Physiology, Biochemistry, and Toxicology; American Chemical Society's 2008 International Award for Research in Agrochemicals; and the 2009 Paul A. Dahm Memorial Lectureship at Iowa State University. Soderlund served as Associate Editor of Invertebrate Neurobiology (2001–2007). He currently serves on the editorial boards of Pesticide Biochemistry and Physiology (since 1987) and Archives of Insect Biochemistry and Physiology (since 1991).

Soderlund and his wife, Carol, have two children and one grandchild. Soderlund’s other interests and activities include nature and landscape photography, sailboat racing, and playing the trombone in local wind ensembles.

(updated November, 2016)