Plant-Insect Interactions Plenary Speakers

“Back to the Future:”  The role of AC-DC electropenetrography in solving intractable research problems of the past and the future

Elaine Backus

Biography: Elaine Backus is a Research Entomologist with gobal expertise in hemipteran-plant interactions (both vectors of plant pathogens and non-vectors), feeding behavior, causes of injury, and mechanisms of transmission of pathogens.  Best known for co-inventing and teaching workshops on the 3rd generation (AC-DC) of electropenetrographic (EPG) monitors, she has also solved intractable problems of how Empoasca spp. leafhoppers and Lygus spp. plant bugs cause direct crop injury, and how sharpshooters inoculate the lethal bacterial plant pathogen Xylella fastidiosa.  Results of her work have improved classical and transgenic crop breeding for host plant resistance, as well as chemical control.  A native of the U.S.A., Elaine has collaborated with researchers at many international centers, universities, and companies.  She was a Professor of Entomology at the University of Missouri-Columbia for 19 years, then moved to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s facility in Parlier, California, 16 years ago.


The "little things that run the world" are changing: Impact of climate change in plant-insect-parasitoid interactions

Paul-André Calatayud

Biography: Paul-André Calatayud is a researcher in entomology with extensive experience in plant-insect-parasitoid interactions (maize-Lepidoptera stem borers-parasitoids interactions); insect behaviour and insect/plant chemistry (chemoecology). He is a senior research scientist of Research Institute for Development (IRD), French Institute. A native of France, he has experienced field and laboratory studies in South America at CIAT (Colombia) and Africa at icipe (Kenya), where he is currently visiting scientist. In 2011, he was awarded a HDR, a French ability diploma to manage research studies in biological sciences from Paris XI University (Orsay, France).

He is Editor-in-Chief of International Journal of Insect Science and Associate Editor of Annales de la Société Entomologique de France and International Journal of Tropical Insects Science.


Back to the molecule-from large scale phenomena to molecular level function, modern approaches to chemical-ecology research

Chris Jeffrey

Chris Jeffrey was born in Chicago, Illinois and received his B.S. in Chemistry at Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin. He earned is Ph.D. In organic synthesis from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 2007 under the supervision of Prof. Thomas Hoye. In 2007, he was awarded the Council of Science and Technology Postdoctoral Fellowship to pursue his postdoctoral studies at Princeton University under the supervision of Prof. Erik J. Sorensen. He joined the faculty of the department of chemistry at the University of Nevada, Reno in 2010 as an assistant professor and was promoted to associate professor in 2016. As part of the Hitchcock Center for Chemical Ecology at UNR, he collaboratively works to develop methods and approaches to address various questions in chemical-ecology.

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