S. Bradleigh Vinson, ESA Fellow (1995)

Dr. S. Bradleigh Vinson, professor at Texas A & M University, College Station, TX, was elected as Fellow in 1995.  He is internationally recognized for research in physiology and behavior of parasitoid Hymenoptera, imported fire ants (IFAs), and solitary bees of the genus Centris.

Vinson was born in Mansfield, OH on 8 April 1938. In his early years, he spent time on his grandfather’s farm collecting in the nearby woods, creeks, and ponds, and developed a small zoo in his basement and backyard. He received first place in the high school biology state exam and third place in chemistry.  He received a B.S. in entomology (1961) at Ohio State University, and then went to the zoology department at Mississippi State University (MSU) to work on brown recluse spiders for an M.S. degree. There, he disagreed with 2 herpetology students that believed vertebrates could not become resistant to pesticides.  The disagreement led to research and the first demonstrated case of vertebrate insecticide resistance, which he published in Science in 1963. He received his M.S. in 1963 and stayed for a Ph.D. in the “new” entomology department. He received his Ph.D. in 1965 for his research on how parasitoids find their hosts and worked on IFA’s. Vinson stayed at MSU as an assistant professor, during which time he also studied radio-isotope use for 6 weeks at Oak Ridge National Laboratory followed by a trip to the University of North Carolina to participate in a special course on pesticide chemistry and use. In 1969 he became associate professor at MSU. In 1969, he moved to Texas A&M University as associate professor where, among other research, he discovered the polydnaviruses. He became a full professor in 1975, a faculty fellow in 1999, and a senior faculty fellow in 2006.

Vinson has served as program chair for the ESA Annual Meeting (1973), president of the Entomological Foundation (2007–2010) and as Chair in several capacities for ESA, including Section B (1979), Program Evaluation Committee (1974), and Publication Council (1990). He was chair for a governor’s conference on IFA’s (1988), chair of the 5th International IFA Conference (1995), and chair of a committee to develop a review of IFA research for EPA (1980).

He has served on the editorial boards of 15 journals and as editor for 3.  He has published 741 papers, 87 book chapters, 12 book reviews, and edited 7 books.  He has organized 7 symposia in the U.S. and 15 internationally and has been invited to speak in 206 symposia. In 2012, he was awarded the International Society of Hymenopterists Distinguished Research Medal.

His 77 students and 44 postdoctoral fellows have gone on to successful careers in academia, industry, and government and several have received their own major awards. Vinson is married to Pat (Kidner) Vinson and has a son, Stuart Brentleigh, married; and a daughter, Shirleigh Beth, married; and three granddaughters from each.  He is a major collector of works associated with the American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs and of insect stamps.

(updated May, 2013)