Entomological Foundation Announces 2012 Award Winners

Lanham, MD; September 11, 2012 – The Entomological Foundation is pleased to announce the winners of its 2012 awards. The awards will be presented at Entomology 2012, the 60th Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America in Knoxville, Tennessee from November 11-14, 2012.


AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT—This award, which is sponsored by Syngenta Crop Protection, is based on outstanding contributions which have a direct relation to integrated pest management (IPM). DR. BHADRIRAJU SUBRAMANYAM (Subi) is currently a Don Wilbur Sr. Professor of Postharvest Protection in the Department of Grain Science and Industry at Kansas State University (1999-present), Manhattan, Kansas. He received a B.S. degree in agriculture from the Andhra Pradesh Agricultural University in India, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in stored-product entomology from the University of Minnesota in St. Paul. Dr. Subramanyam conducts research, education, and technology-transfer programs in the management of insect pests associated with stored raw grains, food/feed processing facilities, warehouses, and retail environments using pesticide alternatives.

At Kansas State University he teaches a four-credit course on food and feed product protection. Dr. Subramanyam has secured more than $10 million for his research and educational programs as a PI or co-PI, and has mentored 16 M.S. and 8 Ph.D. students at Kansas State University. He has vast consulting experiences with several companies within and outside the United States on issues related to sanitation, food safety (GMPs/HACCP), and insect and pesticide contamination in food and feed products. He published over 90 research papers and 60 extension/popular articles on stored-product insects, and has delivered over 412 presentations at professional meetings, workshops, and short courses within and outside the United States. He co-wrote three text books and co-edited two books on stored-product insects and pest management. In 2004 he received the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Stratospheric Ozone Protection Award for his research and educational programs on the use of elevated temperatures for management of insects in food-processing facilities, and in 2012 he was the recipient of the 2012 Andersons Cereals and Oilseeds Award of Excellence for outstanding research accomplishments.

INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT TEAM AWARD—This award, which is sponsored by Dow AgroSciences, recognizes the successful pest-control efforts of a small, collaborative work team which includes at least one entomologist from the private sector and one from the public sector. THE ZEBRA CHIP RESEARCH TEAM members include John Trumble (UC Riverside), Charlie Rush (Texas A&M University), Neil Gudmestad (North Dakota State University), Gerhard Bester (Frito Lay), Casey Butler (initially at UCR but now at Syngenta Crop Protection), Joe Munyaneza (USDA-ARS), Jim Crosslin (USDA-ARS), John Goolsby (USDA-ARS), Don Henne (Texas Agrilife Research), and Fekede Workneh (Texas Agrilife Research).

The Zebra Chip Research Team's research and extension efforts have had a dramatic effect on the potato industry. When the group was formed, the new pathogen Zebra chip, Candidatus Liberibacter psyllaurous/solanacearum, had devastated the potato industry, causing losses in the millions of dollars annually. Many growers were on the verge of simply leaving the industry. Pesticide use had increased dramatically, but with ineffectual results, further increasing economic losses. With a concerted effort, the ZC Research Team was successful in developing new techniques to identify the pathogen, and strategies that allowed researchers to document local, regional, and national movements of various biotypes of the vector (Bactericera cockerelli). They then determined within-plant and within-field movements of the vector and the ZC pathogen, permitting the development of binomial sequential sampling programs which allowed the growers to choose the level of risk they were willing to accept. These sampling programs subsequently allowed the accurate determination of the efficacy of pesticides, the benefit of available biological control agents, and the documentation of a variety of alternatives to massive and unsustainable pesticide use. Through the use of websites, YouTube, effective extension practices, and innumerable grower and scientific meetings, they promoted a sustainable, integrated program that permits the industry to produce potatoes profitably while minimizing negative effects on the environment.

HENRY & SYLVIA RICHARDSON RESEARCH GRANT—This grant provides research funds to postdoctoral ESA members who have at least one year of promising work experience, are undertaking research in selected areas, and have demonstrated a high level of scholarship. DR. KERRY MAUCK is a postdoctoral researcher at Penn State University. Kerry received her undergraduate degree in biology from the College of New Jersey, where she studied interactions among invasive and native tree seedlings and their natural enemies in forest understory environments. Her graduate work was performed at Penn State University, where she studied the chemical ecology of virus infections in plant hosts and the importance of virus-induced changes in attraction of aphid vectors. Her current research examines changes in mammalian host odors in response to infection by malaria, and how these changes influence interactions between hosts and mosquito vectors to better understand how host-produced attractants influence pathogen acquisition.

RECOGNITION AWARD IN URBAN ENTOMOLOGY—This award, which is sponsored by S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc., recognizes and encourages outstanding extension, research, and teaching contributions in urban entomology. DR. GREGG HENDERSON earned his M.S. in entomology at Washington State University and his Ph.D. in entomology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1989), and is currently the Paul K. Adams Professor of Urban Entomology at the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center. Dr. Henderson has conducted research on various urban pests of economic importance, such as ants, cockroaches, bed bugs, ticks and fleas. However, his main research focus is on termites, especially Formosan subterranean termites. He has been involved in developing baits, monitors, and new insecticides, and has tested termiticides that come from industry. In addition, Dr. Henderson spends a tremendous amount of time doing outreach projects that include presentations, home inspections, and identification of insects (sometimes talking to homeowners regarding delusory parasitosis).

Dr. Henderson has worked at Louisiana State University for more than 23 years and has published more than 100 refereed articles, 78 non-refereed articles, and four book chapters. In addition to research and extension, he has been involved in teaching graduate and undergraduate courses offered in the department as well as a three-week summer course for Louisiana pest control operators. His significant contributions in applied aspects of termite management are evident from his many (20) patents, some of which have already come into commercial application. Dr. Henderson has mentored five Ph.D. and nine M.S. students, and he has been successful in securing more than $6.5 million in research grants. He has served as an editor and reviewer of entomological journals and has also served in many professional organizations. Because of his exemplified contributions in the field of urban entomology, he has received several awards and appreciations throughout his career. One of his favorite awards was winning the first Editor’s Choice Award for outstanding paper of the year in American Entomologist in 2008.

ENTOMOLOGICAL FOUNDATION MEDAL OF HONOR—A Medal of Honor was established by the Entomological Foundation in 2007 to recognize distinguished service in the field of entomology. This award is the highest award presented by the Foundation and is given only to those who have attained preeminence in the field through outstanding contributions. Recipient selection is administered through the Foundation's Honoree Committee of the Board of Directors and Board of Counselors. DR. NAN-YAO SU is recognized internationally as an authority on termites and is known for his innovative approach for their population management. He authored and co-authored over 220 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on termite biology and control. His studies on the population ecology of subterranean termites and slow-acting toxicants led to the development of a baiting system for population control of these cryptic pests. Commercialized as the Sentricon system, it has been marketed in 18 countries since 1995 to protect over two million homes, and reduced pesticide use by more than 6,000 metric tons. The system has also been used widely in historic monuments, including the Statue of Liberty. Due to its safety features, the Sentricon system received the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award by the U.S. EPA. Dr. Su has served as a technical advisor relating to termite issues for foreign governments such as New Zealand and China. Other awards include the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture's Honor Award, the Foundation’s  Recognition Award in Urban Entomology, the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award by the University of Hawaii, and he’s a Fellow of the Entomological Society of America. In 2009, he established the ESA Nan-Yao Su Award for Innovation and Creativity in Entomology.

PRESIDENT’S PRIZE FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN PRIMARY EDUCATION—This award, which is sponsored by the Entomological Society of America, recognizes a primary school educator (grades K-6) who has gone beyond the traditional teaching methods by using insects as educational tools. BABETTE FARRAR is a second-grade teacher at Eugene Field Elementary, an International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme school in Springfield, Missouri. Babette collaborates with her team colleagues to write inquiry-based curriculums that exemplify global inter-connectedness and instill children to take positive action in the world. As a second career educator, Babette is a two-time Springfield Public Schools Teacher of the Year nominee, recipient of the 2009 Missouri Association of College for Teacher Education Award, and the 2006 Drury University Post-Baccalaureate Award  for Excellence in Teacher Education.

PRESIDENT’S PRIZE FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN SECONDARY EDUCATION—This award, which is sponsored by the Entomological Society of America, recognizes a secondary school educator (grades 7-12) who has gone beyond the traditional teaching methods by using insects as educational tools. KEVIN CROSBY is a special education teacher who works with students who have a variety of developmental delays and struggle with basic academic skills. In April, 2012, Kevin was selected as a Red Cross Real Educator Hero. Mr. Crosby was also honored as the Teacher of the Year by the Kids in Need Foundation in September, 2012. Over the last three years, Kevin Crosby has developed a unit devoted to teaching his special-needs students about insects.


BIOQUIP UNDERGRADUATE SCHOLARSHIP—This award, which is sponsored by BioQuip Products, is a $2,000 annual scholarship that assists a student in obtaining a degree in entomology or pursuing a career as an entomologist. AMANDA SKIDMORE is a senior at the University of Kentucky (UK), double majoring in entomology and sustainable agriculture. Her first entomological experience was with the 4-H Adventures with Insects Project. Little did she know that this exposure to the insect world would have a lasting impact on her future. Beginning in high school and continuing as an undergrad, she has worked in both a medical entomology lab as well as the extension lab at UK. She has conducted various research experiments related to mosquitoes, including vector competency with Brugia pahangi, has determined infection types by using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA), and has maintained multiple insect colonies. She has submitted a paper concerning her research with several mosquito strains where patterns of conditional sterility (cytoplasmic incompatibility) caused by bacterial endosymbionts were observed. She has also conducted experiments in pollinator efficiency to determine the attractiveness of native wildflowers to wild bee populations in a central Kentucky agro-ecosystem. Amanda’s primary interests are insect ecology, biological control, and medical entomology. She hopes to continue her education by pursuing a Ph.D. in entomology. She is also very involved in the local community,  and she volunteers with extension programs, is active in her church, and is training to be a modern Western square dance caller.

ICINN STUDENT RECOGNITION AWARD IN INSECT PHYSIOLOGY, BIOCHEMISTRY, TOXICOLOGY, AND MOLECULAR BIOLOGY—Sponsored by the International Congress on Insect Neurochemistry and Neurophysiology (ICINN), this award recognizes and encourages innovative research in the areas of insect physiology, biochemistry, toxicology, and molecular biology in the broad sense. The areas of research may include development, genetics, defense mechanisms, and other offshoots of physiology, biochemistry, and toxicology. ELINA LASTRO NIÑO received her Ph.D. in entomology from Penn State University (PSU) under the guidance of Dr. Christina Grozinger. Her dissertation research involved behavioral, physiological, and molecular characterization of factors affecting honey bee queen post-mating changes and queen-worker interactions. She is particularly interested in understanding the underlying molecular pathways regulating these changes and whether these changes are evident after the queen commences oviposition. She also studied factors that alter queen pheromone profiles and how this in turn regulates worker behavior and physiology which could affect colony status. During her postdoctoral appointment at PSU, Elina will expand on the findings of her doctoral research and will also examine socioeconomic factors affecting the establishment of honey bee breeding and stock improvement programs in the U.S. This research is supported by a USDA-NIFA postdoctoral fellowship. Elina is also very involved with outreach and extension, and she has received numerous fellowships, scholarships, and awards.

LILLIAN & ALEX FEIR GRADUATE STUDENT TRAVEL AWARD IN INSECT PHYSIOLOGY, BIOCHEMISTRY, OR MOLECULAR BIOLOGY—This award aims to encourage graduate students working with insects or other arthropods in the broad areas of physiology, biochemistry, and molecular biology to affiliate with ESA’s Physiology, Biochemistry, and Toxicology Section and to attend the ESA Annual Meeting or an International Congress of Entomology. JULIE V. HOPPER is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at the University of California, Berkeley under the guidance of Professor Nicholas Mills. Her dissertation research focuses on the mechanisms for successful biological control of the invasive light brown apple moth. Throughout her dissertation work, she became particularly interested in how parasitism modifies the balance between storage and availability of key nutrients in parasitized hosts. She utilized colorimetric analysis to investigate the influence of parasitoid life history strategy and development on the concentrations of proteins, lipids and carbohydrates in the host’s fat body and hemolymph. She followed this study with SDS PAGE analysis to determine if specific proteins are expressed during parasitism. Julie is very involved with the UC Berkeley Entomology Student Organization, and she served as the coordinator for the Essig Brunch seminar series last year. She has received numerous awards and fellowships and currently has two first-author publications. She will be presenting a talk entitled “Influence of Parasitism on Metabolites of the Light Brown Apple Moth, Epiphyas postvittana” at the 2012 ESA Annual Meeting in Knoxville, Tennessee.

KENNETH & BARBARA STARKS PLANT RESISTANCE TO INSECTS GRADUATE STUDENT RESEARCH AWARD—This grant is awarded to a graduate student in entomology or plant breeding/genetics for innovative research that contributes significantly to knowledge of plant resistance to insects. IAN GRETTENBERGER is a Ph.D. candidate in entomology at Penn State University and received his B.S. degree in biology from Western Washington University. His research seeks to imitate in agro-ecosystems the patterns and processes found in natural systems in order to improve management of pest insects. The goal of his research is to understand the potential of increasing within-species plant diversity in field crops to improve insect pest management. Modern crop fields are primarily planted with single varieties of a single crop. Ian’s work is examining how increasing in-field diversity through crop variety mixtures affects herbivorous insects and their natural enemies. Thus far, this research has focused on two model systems: soybean aphid (Aphis glycines) on soybeans, and bird cherry-oat aphid (Rhopalosiphum padi) on wheat, as well as their respective natural enemies.

LARRY LARSON GRADUATE STUDENT AWARD FOR LEADERSHIP IN APPLIED ENTOMOLOGY—This award, which is sponsored by Dow AgroSciences, recognizes Dr. Larry Larson’s role as a leader and pioneer in insect management and carries that legacy to the next generation of leaders in applied entomology. ALEJANDRO DEL POZO is a graduate research assistant in the Department of Entomology at North Carolina State University. Alejandro joined Dr. Dominic Reisig’s lab this past January as a Ph.D. student. His research is focused mainly on management and control of the bean plataspid Megacopta cribraria, an exotic pest which is threatening the soybean industry in the Southeastern region of the U.S. He holds an M.S. in entomology from Washington State University. Research from his master’s thesis helped to improve the IPM program of a lepidopteran defoliator, Gluphisia septentrionis, on hybrid poplar trees in the Pacific Northwest. Alejandro is a native of Lima, Peru. He holds a B.S. in agronomy from La Molina National Agrarian University, and he is a former asparagus grower back in his home country.

JEFFERY P. LAFAGE GRADUATE STUDENT RESEARCH AWARD—This grant, which was established by an endowment from donations by Rousell Bio, Dow AgroSciences, FMC, and the friends and family of Dr. Jeffery P. LaFage, is awarded to a graduate student who proposes innovative research that advances or contributes significantly to the knowledge of the biology or control of pests in the urban environment, especially termites or other wood-destroying organisms. PAUL MICHAEL BARDUNIAS, a Ph.D. candidate at the University or Florida, received his M.A. degree in entomology from the University of Kansas, and his B.S. degree from the University of Miami. He has authored 18 peer-reviewed research papers and a book chapter. His research is primarily focused on self-organized tunnel excavation in subterranean termites, and the topography that emerges. He has shown that the mechanics of soil excavation will result in wood fragments being sequestered along and within tunnels as tunnels extend from the soil into a wood source. His project, titled “A Preadaptation to Fungal Gardening in Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki Emerged from the Mechanics of Tunnel Formation,” aims to determine if Basidiomycota opportunistically invade this microhabitat and to characterize the nature of interactions between fungus and termites. The fungal infestation of wood within the tunnel network provides a putative precondition for the type of fungal gardening seen in more derived termite taxa. Alternately, if termites are exploiting fungus-conditioned wood, a novel form of fungal agriculture may be described.

SNODGRASS MEMORIAL RESEARCH AWARD—This award recognizes outstanding research by graduate students who have completed investigations in selected areas of entomology. MARIE DJERNAES was born in 1978 in Denmark and got interested in evolutionary processes at an early age, resulting in some interesting, but erroneous, hypotheses based on morphological observations on farm animals. She started university in 1999 and first became interested in insects in 2001 when doing an undergraduate project at the Natural History Museum of Denmark on cockroach genitalia. Marie received her B.S. in biology in 2003 from the University of Copenhagen, after having spent a year at the University of California, Riverside as an exchange student. She obtained her M.S. in biology from the University of Copenhagen in 2005, working on a molecular phylogeny of cockroaches. For her Ph.D. at the University of Alberta, Canada, Marie worked on the morphology and function of the sternum V glands in Trichoptera and Lepidoptera, including reconstructing the evolutionary history of the glands and exploring the glands and associated structures as a potential source of characters. She received her doctorate in biology (systematics and evolution) in 2010. Marie is currently a postdoc at the Natural History Museum in London, working on a combined molecular and morphological phylogeny of Dictyoptera, principally with the aim of finding the sister group of Cryptocercidae + Isoptera.

SHRIPAT KAMBLE URBAN ENTOMOLOGY GRADUATE STUDENT AWARD FOR INNOVATIVE RESEARCH—The Entomological Foundation recognizes the contributions of Dr. Shripat Kamble in urban entomology and his services to entomology, the Entomological Society of America, and to the ESA Certification Program. This award is provided to a doctoral student who is currently conducting research which demonstrates innovative and realistic approaches to urban entomology. DAWN CALIBEO is a Ph.D. candidate and graduate research assistant in the Department of Entomology and Nematology at the University of Florida, where she majored in biology/pre-med and minored in entomology. After obtaining her bachelor’s degree, Dawn earned an M.S. in medical and veterinary entomology from North Carolina State University. The title of her thesis was “Role and Mitigation of Two Vectors of Turkey Coronavirus, Musca domestica L. and Alphitobius diaperinus (Panzer).” Dawn was a technical training specialist and entomologist for Home Paramount Pest Control. She then joined BASF as a biology project manager for specialty products, including pest control, turf and ornamentals, forestry, and public health. Later she was promoted to global marketing manager for insecticides. Dawn has since returned to the University of Florida to earn her Ph.D. Her research on the Caribbean crazy ant, Nylanderia pubens, focuses on understanding the biology and ecology of this invasive pest with the goal of developing an integrated pest management strategy for Florida. Dawn is a licensed pesticide applicator, a Dow Sentricon apprentice, and a graduate of the Broward Community College School of Structural Fumigation. She is the recipient of the ESA Southeastern Branch’s 2003 Kirby Hays Outstanding M.S. Student Award and the 2002 ESA Student Paper Competition, and she has received multiple BASF Recognition Awards for work associated with the development of the metaflumizone-based Siesta insect bait line. Dawn is the author of nine publications (four peer reviewed) and has given over 15 presentations at scientific conferences.

STAN BECK FELLOWSHIP—This award assists needy students at the graduate or undergraduate level of their education in entomology and related disciplines at a college or university in the United States, Mexico, or Canada. SEUNG H. CHUNG is a graduate student working with Dr. Gary W. Felton at Penn State University. Seung received a master’s degree in plant ecology at Seoul National University in South Korea. Seung is studying plant-insect interactions using tomato plants and Colorado potato beetles as a model system. His research focuses on deciphering the mechanisms by which the beetles manipulate induced defenses of tomato plants. He is investigating the effect of oral secretion, which is introduced by the beetle onto leaves, on plant defensive responses. He and his family have gone through hardship since his daughter was born with short bowel Syndrome. Fortunately, his daughter now appears to be a healthy child.

The Entomological Foundation is a not-for-profit organization governed by a Board of Directors made up of representatives from the public and private sectors including academic institutions, government, and business and industry. Their mission is to build a future for entomology by educating young people about science through insects. For more information, visit http://www.entfdn.org.