Kun Yan Zhu, ESA Fellow (2014)


Dr. Kun Yan Zhu, a professor of entomology at Kansas State University (KSU), was elected as Fellow in 2014. He is internationally recognized for his research on insect molecular toxicology.

Zhu was born in Zhejiang Province, China in 1955 and attended Zhejiang University (ZJU), where he received his B.S. in 1982 in plant protection specializing in entomology. After teaching and conducting research in entomology for five years at ZJU, he joined Dr. William A. Brindley’s laboratory at Utah State University as a graduate student in 1987. He earned his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in biology in 1989 and 1992, respectively. He then worked with Dr. John M. Clark as a postdoctoral research associate and later as a research faculty member at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst from 1992 to 1995. He accepted a position as assistant professor in the Department of Entomology at KSU in 1995, and was promoted to associate professor in 2002 and full professor in 2007.

Zhu’s research focuses on the management of insect pests, insecticide resistance, insect acetylcholinesterase (AChE), chitin biosynthesis and metabolism, and RNA interference (RNAi). His laboratory first documented the AChE paralogous gene in the greenbug, Schizaphis graminum (Rondani). This breakthrough discovery quickly led to the identifications of the paralogous gene and its mutations associated with insecticide resistance in many other insects by other researchers. His laboratory also developed a nanoparticle-based technique to deliver double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) for insect gene silencing. This patented technique has great potential for developing RNAi-based strategies for insect pest management. Zhu has authored or co-authored 135 peer-reviewed papers and reviews, 12 book chapters, and 325 presentations (114 invited) delivered at international, national, regional, and local professional meetings. He has served as a major or co-major professor for 19 graduate students (15 graduated), and as a supervisory committee member for an additional 30 graduate students in various academic disciplines. He has hosted 27 professors, Fulbright scholars, and other visiting scholars from Brazil, China, Egypt, Germany, India, and Togo.

Zhu was awarded the Summer Faculty Fellowship by the National Research Council in 2004, and from the ESA North Central Branch, the C.V. Riley Achievement Award in 2009 and the Recognition Award in Entomology in 2011. He was elected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2012, and received the Distinguished Graduate Faculty Award from KSU in 2014.  Zhu has served as subject editor for the Journal of Economic Entomology, academic editor of PLoS ONE, associate editor of Pest Management Science, and editorial board member of eight other scientific journals, including Archives of Insect Biochemistry and Physiology, Pesticide Biochemistry and Physiology, and Scientific Reports. He served as a guest editor for a special issue on insect RNAi and for a special section on insect chitin metabolism, both published in Insect Science in 2013. Zhu has handled numerous manuscripts as an editor, and peer reviewed more than 330 manuscripts for approximately 60 scientific journals.

Zhu is married to Xiaoli Wu, and has a son, Jeffery, and daughter, Lisa.

(updated February, 2015)