ESA Names its 2013 Award Winners

Annapolis, MD; September 11, 2013 -- The Entomological Society of America is pleased to announce the winners of its 2013 awards. The awards will be presented at Entomology 2013, ESA's 61st Annual Meeting in Austin, TX from November 10-13, 2013.


RECOGNITION AWARD IN ENTOMOLOGY—This award, which is sponsored by Syngenta Crop Protection, recognizes entomologists who are making significant contributions to agriculture. Dr. Richard Stouthamer is the author of more than 120 peer-reviewed papers and fifteen book chapters. Dr Stouthamer received his BS degree in environmental sciences in 1976, followed by a BS in biology in 1980 and an MS in biology in 1983, all from the Wageningen Agricultural University in the Netherlands. He did his PhD at UC Riverside under the guidance of Dr. R.F. Luck (1989), and following a postdoc at the University of Rochester with Dr. J.H. Werren, he went back to the Netherlands in 1991 to work in the Department of Entomology of the Wageningen Agricultural University. In 2001 he returned to the Department of Entomology at UC Riverside. During his PhD studies, he discovered the involvement of Wolbachia bacteria in causing complete parthenogenesis in parasitoid wasps. The study of the interaction between Wolbachia and parasitoid wasps has been a mainstay of his research since that time. He has also been involved in the study of several insect-transmitted bacterial diseases such as Xylella fastidiosa (Pierce’s Disease), Candidatus Liberibacter psyllaurous (Zebra Chip) and most recently with tree branch-dieback caused by the ambrosia beetle Euwallacea fornicatus in trees in southern California. In addition, much of the work in his lab, done in cooperation with Dr. P.F. Rugman-Jones, involves the application of molecular genetic tools to easily distinguish cryptic species and determine the area of origin of invasive species.

DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD TO THE CERTIFICATION PROGRAM—This award encourages, recognizes, and rewards outstanding contributions to the ESA Certification Program and the professionalism of entomology. Dr. Liz Dykstra is the public health entomologist for the Washington State Department of Health. She is the principle investigator for the state’s Centers for Disease Control & Prevention-funded tick & tick-borne disease surveillance project, and she provides technical guidance on mosquito and mosquito-borne disease surveillance throughout the state. Dykstra also provides leadership and expertise on entomological and vector issues of public health importance for the state and represents the Department of Health on issues related to zoonotic and vector-borne diseases at meetings, workshops, invited presentations, committees, and conferences. Dykstra is a graduate of Luther College, where she received her BA in biology. Following service as a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal, West Africa, she earned her MS in epidemiology and her PhD in entomology from Texas A&M University, specializing in medical and veterinary entomology. Upon completion of her doctorate, she was commissioned an officer in the U.S. Navy. She served as an active duty entomologist for 6.5 years and continues to serve in the U.S. Navy Reserves, currently as the officer in charge of the 4th Medical Battalion Headquarters & Services Company, Detachment 6. She recently earned her diploma in joint professional military education from the Naval War College in Newport, R.I. Dykstra is a Board Certified Entomologist in medical and veterinary entomology and is the ESA Pacific Branch Representative to the Certification Board, and she’s the Division X Representative for the National Association of Vector Control Officials. She is also an adjunct associate professor in the Department of Entomology at Washington State University and a member of Phi Kappa Phi and Gamma Sigma Delta honor societies.

NAN-YAO SU AWARD FOR INNOVATION AND CREATIVITY IN ENTOMOLOGY—Each year this award is given to an ESA member who is able to demonstrate through his/her projects or accomplishments an ability to identify problems and develop creative, alternative solutions that significantly impact entomology. Dr. Bryony C. Bonning is a professor of entomology at Iowa State University where she is director of the Center for Arthropod Management Technologies (CAMTech), a National Science Foundation Industry / University Cooperative Research Center. Bonning received her BS in zoology from the University of Durham, UK and her PhD in entomology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She went on to postdoctoral appointments at the Natural Environment Research Council Institute of Virology in Oxford, UK and at the University of California, Davis. Bonning oversees cutting-edge research on insect physiology and insect pathology with the goal of developing novel, environmentally benign alternatives to chemical insecticides for insect pest management. Her desire to see delivery of novel pest management solutions played a large part in her authorship of five patents and in the establishment of CAMTech to better align research conducted within academia with the need of industry for practical pest management solutions. Bonning has published more than 110 scientific papers, reviews, and book chapters on diverse subjects including insecticidal toxins derived from Bacillus thuringiensis, insect small RNA, genetic optimization of insect viruses for pest management, insect virus discovery, and the development of insect resistant transgenic plants. Recent research has drawn on the disparate fields of plant virus-aphid molecular interactions and insect toxins to produce two innovative hemipteran management technologies: the modification of Bt toxins to target hemipteran pests which typically have low susceptibility to native Bt toxins, and the use of the coat protein of an aphid-vectored plant virus for delivery of insect specific neurotoxins to their target site within the aphid hemocoel. A native of England, she is a Fellow of the ESA and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

DISTINGUISHED ACHIEVEMENT AWARD IN EXTENSION—This annual award recognizes outstanding contributions to extension entomology. Dr. Linda Mason received her BS degree in wildlife ecology from the University of Florida, and her MS and PhD degrees in entomology at Auburn University and Louisiana State University respectively. Linda and her two very understanding daughters, Felicity and Jenna, reside in West Lafayette, IN, where she is an associate dean of the graduate school and a professor of entomology at Purdue University. Dr. Mason has an internationally recognized post-harvest extension program that provides innovative solutions for farmers, homeowners, and the food processing industry worldwide. She assists some of the leading food manufacturing and retail companies in the world on issues associated with food protection, food processing facility design, and pest management technology development. Dr. Mason was a founding member of the Purdue interdisciplinary grain storage team that received both the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Specialists Association and Dean’s Team Awards in 1999. S.L.A.M., the innovative training approach they developed, is now widely used in by extension educators all over the country. It emphasizes management strategies to control insect pests and reduce residual pesticides in food. Most recently she won the Mortar Board Women of Purdue award (2011), the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Specialists Association Career Award (2012), and the North Central Branch ESA Distinguished Achievement Award in Extension (2013). Dr. Mason, in collaboration with her team of graduate students and international visitors, conducts research on pest management strategies such as grain chilling and ozonation, which capitalizes on pest biology and behavior vulnerabilities. Her educational programs have resulted in numerous referred publications, including two self-directed correspondence courses, post-harvest IPM training materials, fact sheets, and articles for trade journals and newsletters. She has provided over 500 presentations to audiences ranging from farmers to business managers to home owners and government regulators on topics ranging from pest biology to fumigation management.

DISTINGUISHED ACHIEVEMENT AWARD IN TEACHING—This award is presented annually to the member of the Society deemed to be the most outstanding teacher of the year. Dr. Timothy D. Paine is a distinguished teaching professor in the Department of Entomology at the University of California, Riverside. He received his BS in entomology and his BA in history from the University of California, Davis. After a brief flirtation with law school, he returned to UC Davis to obtain his PhD in entomology. Tim was a postdoctoral scientist at the University of Arkansas before joining the faculty at UC Riverside in 1986. His research contributions on insect herbivores of woody plants in urban landscapes and forest systems were recognized with both the Entomological Foundation’s Recognition Award in Urban Entomology and the ESA Distinguished Achievement Award in Horticultural Entomology. Tim has taught large (>500 students) introductory biology classes (Introduction to Organismal Biology and Introduction to Evolution and Ecology), a breadth science class for humanities and social science students (Natural History of Insects), upper division classes for entomology and biology majors (General Entomology and Insect Ecology), and a class in the entomology graduate core (Core Areas of Entomology III: Supraorganismal Disciplines). He took the lead in developing a new graduate class (Philosophy & Pedagogy of Teaching Undergraduate Life Science) as part of his strong commitment to undergraduate learning. Intended for graduate students interested in pursuing academic careers, the class explores the challenge of designing new life science courses and provides opportunities to implement approaches for active learning. Tim’s efforts in teaching innovation and developing new materials and methods have been recognized with all of the UC Riverside campus teaching awards (Distinguished Teaching Award in 2004, and Innovative Teaching Award 2010), and he was selected for membership in the UCR Academy of Distinguished Teachers in 2013. He was recognized as a National Academies Education Fellow in the life sciences in 2008-09. Dr Paine is a Fellow of both the AAAS and the ESA.

RECOGNITION AWARD IN INSECT PHYSIOLOGY, BIOCHEMISTRY, AND TOXICOLOGY—This award, which is sponsored by Apex Bait Technologies, Inc., was established in 1996 to recognize and encourage innovative research in the areas of insect physiology, biochemistry, and toxicology in the broad sense. Dr. Subba Reddy Palli received his doctorate from the University of Western Ontario and postdoctoral training at the University of Washington. Upon graduation, he worked as a research scientist at the Canadian Forest Service’s Great Lakes Forestry Centre and later at Rohm and Hass Company as the senior research scientist and group leader. Dr. Palli joined the University of Kentucky’s Department of Entomology as an assistant professor in 2002 and was promoted to associate professor and professor in 2005 and 2008, respectively. He has received several prestigious awards at UK, including a University Research Professorship, the Thomas Poe Cooper Research Award, the Bobby Pass Excellence in Grantsmanship Award, the High Impact Research/Extension Award, and the Wethington Award. Dr. Palli also serves as the co-director of the Center for Arthropod Management Technologies, a recently established National Science Foundation Industry and University Cooperative Research Center. His research focuses on hormonal regulation of gene expression in insects with a goal of identifying proteins that play key roles in signal transduction of ecdysteroids, juvenile hormones, and other hormones to use them for developing novel, environmentally safe pest management methods. He has published 125 peer-reviewed journal articles, 20 book chapters, and co-edited a book. He holds four patents and has nine patent applications under consideration. He has organized and chaired several symposia at ESA Annual Meetings and at international conferences. Dr. Palli also served as President of the ESA Physiology, Biochemistry, and Toxicology Section. He currently serves on the editorial boards of nine journals and has served on the grant review panels of the NSF, the USDA-National Research Initiative, and the National Institutes of Health. 

DISTINGUISHED ACHIEVEMENT AWARD IN HORTICULTURAL ENTOMOLOGY—This award, which is sponsored by Gowan Company, honors any ESA member who has contributed to the American horticulture industry. Dr. Whitney Cranshaw is presently a professor and extension specialist of entomology at Colorado state University. For the past 30 years he has conducted a broadly based program largely directed at questions involving arthropod pests affecting horticultural commodities in Colorado, including vegetables, shade trees, turfgrass, and specialty crops. This has resulted in the production of over 80 refereed publications and several hundred related to extension and outreach. Included among the latter are the books Pests of the West, Garden Insects of North America, Guide to Colorado Insects, and, most recently, Bugs Rule! An Introduction to the World of Insects. Whitney Cranshaw maintains an active extension presence throughout the state, annually addressing 30-50 audiences including master gardeners, arborists, turf care professionals, pest control operators, and vegetable producers. Increasingly, this has also included programs across the country and, following his discovery and 2008 description of thousand cankers disease of walnut (with Ned Tisserat), has involved considerable effort related to management and containment of this emergent threat to North American Juglans. On campus teaching includes an introductory class in entomology for non-science majors and the Horticultural Entomology Lab. In the area of professional service, Whitney Cranshaw maintains the listserv discussion group OrnaEnt (co-founded with Mike Merchant) that provides a heavily used forum for over 220 professionals across the country with interests in subjects related to ornamental pest management. He is also an active participant in providing images through the BugWood/IPM Images system and in the promotion of insect common names through the ESA.

EARLY CAREER INNOVATION AWARD—This award, which is sponsored by BASF, honors young professionals working within the field of entomology who have demonstrated innovation through contributions within any area of specialization (research, teaching, extension, product development, public service, etc.). Dr. John Tooker is an assistant professor and extension specialist in the Department of Entomology at Penn State University. He received his undergraduate degree from Bates College and graduate degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign under the supervision of Larry Hanks. He conducted postdoctoral research with Consuelo De Moraes at Penn State. In his current position, his extension responsibilities involve helping farmers of Pennsylvania better manage insect pests that attack their field and forage crops. His research program mostly complements his extension efforts and has both applied and basic components, which are largely implemented by a set of outstanding graduate students. The applied portion seeks to understand local pest populations, the risks they pose to crops, and the value of different management options. His research group is particularly focused on scrutinizing new technologies for costs and benefits to stakeholders and understanding their environmental effects. Current applied research projects focus on the value of crop genotypic diversity for insect control (student: Ian Grettenberger), the influence of insecticidal seed treatments on biological control of early season crop pests (Maggie Douglas), and the influence of volatile herbicides on insect populations (Eric Bohnenblust). His basic ecological research strives to better understand plant-herbivore-beneficial insect interactions because an improved appreciation of relationships among trophic levels will lead to alternative, ecologically sound insect-management strategies. Current basic research projects explore the ability of plants to perceive and respond to insect-produced volatile cues (Anjel Helms) and mechanisms driving foraging preferences of flower-visiting insect species (Anthony Vaudo).


STUDENT CERTIFICATION AWARD—Sponsored by PestWest Environmental Science, this award recognizes and encourages outstanding entomology graduate students with interest in the mission of the ESA certification program, and to promote the understanding and importance of the program. Amanda Fujikawa has wanted to be an entomologist since she was five years old. She took her first official entomology class as an undergraduate at Casper Community College and continued at the University of Wyoming, graduating in 2006. Amanda received her MS from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2009, where her research focused on the morphological changes of blood spatter through blow fly feeding and defecating, and the impact of insect stains on crime scene reconstruction. Amanda is currently working on her PhD at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her research (and life) consists of counting and watching tens of thousands of fly eggs hatch and develop at different temperatures. During the summer, she also surveys flies and beetles on rabbit and pig carcasses in the Great Plains, hoping to eventually study large vertebrate decomposition and the effect on grassland ecosystems. Amanda became a BCE-Intern during the summer of 2013. When not in the lab, Amanda’s life is consumed by one very energetic four-year-old daughter, one not-so-energetic cat, and five noisy chickens.

STUDENT ACTIVITY AWARD—Sponsored by Monsanto Company, this award is presented annually to recognize a student for outstanding contributions to the Society, his/her academic department, and the community, while still achieving academic excellence. Carey Minteer received her BS in biology from the University of Central Arkansas, where her studies were concentrated in the field of plant biology. She received her MS in biology from the University of Arkansas. During her master’s work, she worked with Dr. Johnnie L. Gentry and studied invasion biology with a concentration on invasive plants. For her MS research she investigated the effects of spotted knapweed on plants native to the southeastern United States. Carey recently completed her doctoral studies in the Department of Entomology at the University of Arkansas with a minor in geographic information systems. Her dissertation research, under Dr. Timothy J. Kring, focused on the biological control of spotted knapweed. Carey is very active within her community, her department, and the ESA. Carey participates in many outreach activities for her department, including assisting local gardeners with insect problems at the local farmers’ market, speaking at local elementary schools about the importance of insects, and speaking at the local botanical garden. Carey is also very involved with her community and has volunteered with many local and national organizations, including the American Cancer Society, the Humane Society, Hobbs State Park, and the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Carey served on the Student Affairs Committee (SAC) of the Southeastern Branch of ESA, and she was Chair in 2011. During her time on that committee, Carey helped plan the student symposium and the Linnaean Games for the Southeastern Branch. Carey also served as Vice Chair and Chair of the ESA SAC, and she helped to organize the student symposium, the student debate competition, and the student reception for Entomology 2012 and Entomology 2013. Carey is currently a postdoctoral associate at the University of Arkansas’ Rice Research and Extension Center in Stuttgart Arkansas.

JOHN HENRY COMSTOCK GRADUATE STUDENT AWARDS—These six awards are given to one graduate student from each ESA Branch to promote interest in entomology and to stimulate interest in attending the ESA Annual Meeting.

Elina Lastro Niño (Eastern Branch) received her PhD in entomology from Penn State University 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 US. 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.

Kumaran Nagalingam (International Branch) is a behavioral and chemical ecologist with a strong interest in understanding the behavior of economically significant arthropods. His interests involve exploring the development of insect resistance to insecticides and insecticidal proteins, and integrated pest management. He is currently studying tephritid fruit flies within the team led by Associate Professor Tony Clarke to answer questions on the evolutionary and functional significance of male lures by examining transcriptional and physiological mechanisms underpinning behavioral changes seen in tephritids after ingestion of phytochemical lures. Kumaran received his BS in 2004 and MS in 2006 from Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) in India with a state government student project award. After graduation, he joined a research team at TNAU as a research fellow to work on insecticide molecules. He has also worked at the Central Institute of Cotton Research on the resurgence of sucking pests in transgenic cotton crops and resistance development in bollworms to Bt toxins. Kumaran is also interested in teaching, and has assisted in teaching undergraduate students experimental science and general entomology courses. He has published 12 papers in peer-reviewed journals, including one paper as lead author in Animal Behavior. Kumaran is pursuing his PhD at Queensland University of Technology (QUT). He won an Australian Entomological Society travel grant and QUT grant-in-aid to attend ICE 2012 in Daegu, South Korea.

Dr. Lisa Overall (Southwestern Branch) received her BS degree in biology from the University of Central Oklahoma. During her undergraduate studies, she was involved in research on carpenter and leafcutting bees. She went on to complete her MS and PhD at Oklahoma State University (OSU). Her master’s research focused on the management of harlequin bugs and yellowmargined leaf beetles with organic insecticides. Under the supervision of Dr. Eric Rebek, her PhD dissertation focus was on the incidence of Xylella fastidiosa that causes Pierce’s disease of grapes. This also included a survey of potential insect vectors and the identification of potential plant reservoir hosts. At OSU, she has been active in departmental student organizations, campus-wide graduate student organizations, and both Southwestern Branch and national ESA activities. She served as the student representative for the OSU Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology for the Graduate and Professional Student Government Association and later as communications director. She has served as Co-Chair and Chair of the SWB ESA Student Affairs Committee (SAC) and has also served as SWB ESA Student Representative for the national ESA SAC. Lisa competed in the Linnaean Games from 2009 until 2012. In 2010, she was awarded the Women’s Faculty Council Award at OSU, which is given for outstanding student research and scholarship.  After earning her doctorate, she briefly participated in research on the conservation of the American burying beetle. Lisa is currently a lecturer at Oklahoma State University and teaches Insect Biology and Classification and Insects and Society. 

Dr. Paul Michael Bardunias (Southeastern Branch) grew up in Westchester County, New York in a suburban setting that provided a budding entomologist with an endless supply of insects to play with. He received his BS degree from the University of Miami, and his MS in entomology from the University of Kansas for work on three-dimensional path integration with Dr. Deborah Smith and Dr. Rudolf Jander. He earned his PhD in entomology and nematology from the University of Florida for his work with Dr. Nan-Yao Su to uncover the mechanics of self-organized excavation behavior in subterranean termites. He has authored 19 peer-reviewed papers and a book chapter, and he designed a protocol that is being implemented to protect endangered parrot species from Africanized honey bees in Central and South America, along with Caroline Efstathion and Dr. William Kern of the University of Florida. Paul is currently working as a postdoctoral associate for Dr. Scott Turner of the State University of New York’s College of Environmental Science & Forestry. He is continuing his work on self-organization in social insects in collaboration with the Termes Project of the Wyss Institute at Harvard University by originating algorithms for autonomous construction in robots based on termite models. He is also adjunct faculty at Florida Atlantic University, where he passes on his knowledge of invertebrates in hopes of rearing a new crop of entomologists. In his spare time he pens articles on ancient Greek history.

Matan Shelomi (Pacific Branch) is a PhD candidate in the Department of Entomology and Nematology at the University of California, Davis. He joined the program after graduating cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in organismic and evolutionary biology from Harvard University in 2009. His advisor is Prof. Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology, and his research is on the digestive physiology of the Phasmatodea, in particular their cellulolytic enzymes and the enigmatic “appendices of the midgut.” He has also published papers on delusional parasitosis, morphometrics, and forensic entomology, and has given talks at every Pacific Branch and national ESA meeting since 2011, as well as at the International Science in Society Conference in Berkeley (2012), and the International Congress of Orthopterology in Kunming, China (2013). Shelomi is a National Science Foundation graduate research fellow, and has twice won the NSF East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes Fellowship—once to work at the National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences in Japan, and again to work at Academia Sinica in Taiwan. He serves on UC Davis’s ESA Student Debate team and the Linnaean Games team. Shelomi has organized and taught freshman seminars at UC Davis, and will be taking a position as graduate writing fellow. He has also written for the California Aggie (the Davis school newspaper), and is a top entomology expert on the Q&A website Due to graduate in 2014, he is currently seeking postdoctorate or professorship positions.

Dr. Nicholas M. Teets (North Central Branch) is currently a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Entomology and Nematology at the University of Florida, under the direction of Dr. Daniel A. Hahn. Teets earned his PhD in entomology in December of 2012 from Ohio State University, advised by Dr. David L. Denlinger. Teets’ research focuses on the environmental stress physiology of insects, including transcriptional, metabolic, and cell-signaling events that allow insects to survive unfavorable conditions. As part of this effort, he has twice traveled to Palmer Station in Antarctica to study mechanisms of stress tolerance in the Antarctic midge, Belgica antarctica. He currently has 14 peer-reviewed papers published or in press and has presented his work at numerous professional meetings. Outside of research, Teets has led the laboratory portion of the graduate level insect physiology course at Ohio State and has also instructed summer entomology courses for high school students through the PAST Foundation, a non-profit organization promoting STEM education for underprivileged high school students. Teets has engaged in professional service both at Ohio State and in the scientific community at large, particularly with ESA. He served on the ESA Student Affairs Committee for two years, and in this capacity he organized and moderated a symposium called “Identifying and Clarifying Emerging Technologies for Entomological Research: From Molecules to Landscapes” at the 2011 ESA Annual Meeting in Reno, NV.

The Entomological Society of America is the largest organization in the world serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and people in related disciplines. Founded in 1889, ESA today has more than 6,500 members affiliated with educational institutions, health agencies, private industry, and government. Members are researchers, teachers, extension service personnel, administrators, marketing representatives, research technicians, consultants, students, and hobbyists. For more information, visit