ESA Names 2009 Award Winners

Lanham, MD; October 1, 2009 – ESA is pleased to announce the winners of its 2009 awards. Professional awards will be presented at the Opening Plenary Session of the ESA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, Sunday, December 13, 5:30-7:30 p.m. The student awards will be presented on Tuesday, December 15, 7:00-8:00 p.m. The awardees are listed below.

Honorary Member—Honorary Membership acknowledges those who have served ESA for at least 20 years through significant involvement in the affairs of the Society that has reached an extraordinary level. Dr. Shripat T. Kamble earned his Ph.D. in entomology from North Dakota State University (1974), and is currently a professor of entomology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Dr. Kamble has been an active member of the North Central Branch (NCB) since 1970, has served two terms on the ESA Governing Board (2000-2006), and has been actively involved in the certification program since its early days, serving as BCE Director in 2000 and Chair of the BCE Examining Committee from 2004-present. He has organized and moderated a total of 34 symposia at NCB and national ESA meetings. He also served the NCB as an executive member-at-large (2006-2009).

Dr. Kamble has worked at the University of Nebraska for 31 years as an assistant, associate, and full professor. He is a graduate faculty fellow and has supervised eight M.S. and eight Ph.D. students, as well as three postdoctoral researchers. He has served on various departmental committees, a pesticide advisory committee, and in the University Academic Senate. He has been a state liaison for the Pest Management Center, the Pesticide Impact Assessment Program, and the IR-4 program for more than 15 years. He has hosted 13 visiting scholars, has published 129 papers, and has acquired $3.15 million in grants.

His studies include assessments of insecticides to control pests affecting crops, livestock, turf-grass, stored grains, and households/structures. His studies on termites include research on environmental toxicology, baiting technology, and over-wintering physiology. His research on cockroaches includes the biochemical basis for insecticide resistance mechanisms, field evaluations of new products, and baiting technology. He has also studied insecticide exposure on field workers and insecticide drift.

Distinguished Achievement Award in Extension—This award recognizes outstanding contributions in extension entomology. This year’s winner, Dr. Michael J. Raupp, is a professor and extension specialist at the University of Maryland at College Park. He earned B.S. and M.S. degrees from Rutgers University, and his Ph.D. in entomology at the University of Maryland. As an extension specialist, he develops and implements IPM programs for managed landscapes. The goal is to improve sustainability of landscape systems through the conservation and enhancement of biological diversity with special emphasis on natural enemy communities. His extension programs provide training on the theory and practice of IPM to growers, landscape managers, master gardeners, and private citizens.

Mike has taught larval taxonomy, pest management, insect pests of ornamentals, general entomology, forensic entomology, extension education, and non-majors biology. He has more than 200 publications, including refereed articles, books and book chapters, extension publications, and lay articles. He has made more than 750 professional and extension presentations on the ecology and management of insect and mite pests. He is a regular guest on Good Morning America and has appeared on CNN, NPR, BBC, National Geographic Ultimate Explorer, and Lehrer News Hour, among others.

His “Bug of the Week” website (, an information source on the natural history of insects, received more than 500,000 visits since its inception. Mike has received eight regional or national awards for excellence in extension programming and media communications, including the Secretary of Agriculture’s Award for Environmental Protection. He has served ESA on Program and Awards Committees and as President of the Eastern Branch.

Distinguished Achievement Award in Horticultural Entomology (Sponsored by OHP)—This award honors any entomologist who has contributed to the American horticulture industry. This year’s awardee, Dr. Timothy D. Paine, is a professor in the Department of Entomology at the University of California, Riverside. He received his B.S. in entomology and his B.A. in history from the University of California, Davis. After a brief flirtation with law school, he returned to UC Davis to obtain a Ph.D. in entomology. Tim was a postdoctoral scientist at the University of Arkansas working in forest entomology and population dynamics of bark beetles before being appointed to the faculty at UC Riverside with the responsibility to develop pest management programs for pests of woody ornamental crops, landscape plants, and urban, managed, and unmanaged forests. He and his students have worked with arthropod pests across nine different orders, including studies on their behavior and chemical ecology, relations with host plants and natural enemies, competition and defense, population dynamics, impact of environmental stress, association with endosymbiotic bacteria, mycangial fungi and mycorrhizae of their host plants, cultural management, and biological control.

Tim is nationally and internationally recognized for his research on the ecology and integrated management of pests of woody plants and forest trees. He has received state and local chapter research awards from the California Association of Nurserymen, the Western Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture, the American Nursery and Landscape Association Norman Jay Coleman Award for Research, the ESA Recognition Award in Urban Entomology, and he was selected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of ESA.

Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching—This award is presented to the ESA member deemed to be the Society’s outstanding teacher of the year. The 2009 recipient, Dr. Carol M. Anelli, is an associate professor of entomology at Washington State University (WSU), Pullman and thesis director for the honors college. She earned her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in entomology from the University of Illinois, where she garnered recognition for teaching excellence as a teaching assistant. At WSU, she has developed eleven courses for the general education program, the honors college, and the Department of Entomology. Dr. Anelli served as inaugural chair for the WSU President’s Teaching Academy and serves on its board. The academy developed WSU’s “Six Learning Goals of the Baccalaureate,” in use campus-wide for student learning assessment and program accreditation. WSU has recognized Dr. Anelli’s teaching contributions with the Marian E. Smith Award for Faculty Achievement (1999), the Honors College Faculty Award (2002), and the Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award for Instruction (2009). Dr. Anelli has organized numerous ESA symposia and served as ESA Program Co-Chair (2004), Section B Chair (2004), Linnaean Games organizer/moderator (EB-ESA, PB-ESA), and Student Competitions Chair (PB-ESA). She is an Entomological Foundation counselor and has been co-editor for the Heritage feature of American Entomologist since 1997.

Dr. Anelli’s current research and publications address the history of entomology and evolutionary thought, the teaching of evolution, and pedagogy using active learning and interdisciplinary approaches (funded by a USDA-CSREES Higher Education Challenge Grant). She has organized outreach events and appeared on radio and television advocating for evolution education. She is co-principal organizer on an NSF-ISE grant to teach evolution through museum exhibits.

Distinguished Service Award to the Certification Program—The purpose of this award is to encourage and reward outstanding contributions to the ESA Certification Program and the professionalism of entomology. This year’s recipient, Dr. James E. Cilek, is a professor with the John A. Mulrennan, Sr. Public Health Entomology Research and Education Center at Florida A&M University. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Kentucky and his M.S. at Louisiana State University, with a B.S. earned from Purdue University in entomology.

Cilek became a Board Certified Entomologist in 1992 and has continued his membership since then. He has served on the Professional Maintenance and Certification Committee and chaired the medical/veterinary entomology specialty in 1997. In 2008, Cilek served as Director of ESA’s Board Certification Program. He has actively participated in the promotion of the BCE and ACE programs through increased visibility at the Branch level as well as at other professional entomological venues. He also provided an administrative mechanism that established BCE liaison positions to promote the profession of entomology within employer and professional societies. He currently serves on the Board Certified Entomologist Committee of the Southeastern Branch. He has published over 100 refereed and non-refereed publications on medical/veterinary entomology and currently serves as the ESA Medical, Urban and Veterinary Entomology Section Representative on the Editorial Board of Arthropod Management Tests. He also currently serves as Past Director of the ESA Certification Board.

Early Career Innovation Award (sponsored by BASF)—This award 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.). This year’s awardee, Dr. James D. Harwood, is an assistant professor in the Department of Entomology at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Harwood received his B.Sc. in biology (1997) and Ph.D. in insect ecology (2001) from Cardiff University and, after a postdoctoral position at the University of Kentucky, accepted a position within the department where he assumed research and teaching responsibilities in insect ecology, molecular ecology, and biological control. His research program, supported by multiple USDA and regionally competitive grants, seeks to understand mechanisms of foraging by generalist predators and to identify their roles in biological control through the integration of molecular techniques, behavioral studies, and ecological field experiments. These approaches are being used, in parallel, to delineate trophic connectivity and to measure the intensity of specific predator-prey interactions. Understanding the factors that regulate the abundance of these important natural enemies is ultimately providing information that discerns the role of prey biodiversity and habitat management on biological control. His teaching responsibilities include a graduate course in insect ecology and participation in the undergraduate Agricultural Biotechnology program. He is currently mentoring two postdoctoral research associates and advising three Ph.D and two M.S. students.

Dr. Harwood also serves as Chair of the ESA International Affairs Committee, which was responsible for developing the framework for establishing the International Branch of the Society earlier this year. Additionally, he has been active within IOBC-NRS, serving as a member-at-large (2006-2008), and the American Arachnological Society, where he is currently chair of the Marketing Committee.

Nan-Yao Su Award for Innovation and Creativity in Entomology—This brand new award was created from a $250,000 endowment from Dr. Nan-Yao Su to honor entomologists who are able to identify problems and develop creative, alternative solutions that significantly impact entomology. This year’s winner, Dr. Anthony A. James, is Distinguished Professor of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics (School of Medicine) and Molecular Biology & Biochemistry (School of Biological Sciences) at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). He is a member of the National Academy of Science and was a founding editor of the journal Insect Molecular Biology. He is an editorial advisor for PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. He received his B.S. and Ph.D. degrees at UCI. He went to Boston in 1979 for postdoctoral work (Harvard Medical School and Brandeis University) and joined the faculty at the Harvard School of Public Health in 1985. He returned to his alma mater in 1989, where he is today.

Dr. James is working on vector-parasite interactions, mosquito molecular biology, and other problems in insect developmental biology. His research emphasizes the use of genetic and molecular genetic tools to develop synthetic approaches to interrupting malaria parasite and dengue virus transmission by mosquitoes. His research group was the first to develop routine transgenesis procedures for mosquitoes, and they have been able to engineer single-chain antibodies that interfere with malaria parasite development in the mosquito. He is collaborating with other researchers to develop RNAi-mediated approaches to prevent dengue virus transmission. He is also using bioinformatics to study the evolution of control DNA involved in regulating genes involved in hematophagy. He has published over 140 papers, reviews, and policy documents and has provided guidance to 34 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.          

Recognition Award in Entomology (Sponsored by Syngenta Crop Protection)—This award recognizes entomologists who have made or are making significant contributions to agriculture. This year’s recipient, Dr. Bradley A. Mullens, is a professor at the University of California, Riverside. He received his B.S. in agriculture (animal science) and M.S. in agricultural biology (entomology) from the University of Tennessee, and his Ph.D. in entomology from Cornell University. He teaches courses on the natural history of insects, medical and veterinary entomology, and aquatic insects. Most people consider agriculture as plant crops, but animal agriculture is at least as important in many states. Brad works in veterinary entomology, particularly on biting midge vectors of bluetongue viruses to ruminants (e.g. cattle and desert bighorn sheep), fly pests of poultry and dairy systems, poultry ectoparasite control, and host-ectoparasite relationships. His 120+ reviewed, scientific papers focus on field ecology and ultimately integrated control (cultural, biological, and chemical tactics). He has worked in Denmark (Musca biological control and poultry mite ecology) and Reunion Island (stable fly biological control). Most recently his field projects, related to the ongoing bluetongue outbreak in Europe, were in Spain (ecology and management of midges). In 2008 he helped draft a scientific opinion dealing in part with vector control and surveillance to reduce potential for bluetongue spread there. He is a fellow of the Royal Entomological Society, has served on editorial boards for Journal of Medical Entomology and Medical and Veterinary Entomology, and he received the best paper award from Medical and Veterinary Entomology (2005-06) and the Lifetime Achievement Award for Veterinary Entomology (2005).

Recognition Award in Insect Physiology, Biochemistry, & Toxicology (Sponsored by Bayer CropScience)—This award recognizes and encourages innovative research in insect physiology, biochemistry and toxicology. The 2008 awardee, Dr. Michael R. Strand, is Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of Entomology at the University of Georgia. He also holds appointments in the Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases, Faculty of Infectious Diseases, and the Department of Genetics. Dr. Strand received his B.S. and Ph.D. from Texas A&M University. Internationally recognized, his primary research interests are in the study of the interactions between parasites, pathogens, and their insect hosts. His laboratory is highly interdisciplinary, with studies that focus on both the molecular and biochemical regulation of physiological processes as well as their effects on life history and evolution. Dr. Strand has authored or co-authored over 160 peer-reviewed journal papers and book chapters. His service contributions include appointments on several journal editorial boards, grant evaluation panels, and committees for national and international scientific agencies. Dr. Strand has advised more than 60 graduate students and postdoctoral scientists, and is also active in teaching at the undergraduate level. Dr Strand is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and has received several awards for his work.

Student Activity Award (Sponsored by Monsanto Company)—This award recognizes an ESA student member for outstanding contributions to the Society, his/her academic department, and the community, while simultaneously achieving academic excellence. Gregory J. Wiggins is a Ph.D. candidate working in the laboratory of Jerome Grant in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology at the University of Tennessee. Greg is studying the potential nontarget impacts of Rhinocyllus conicus and Trichosirocalus horridus on native Cirsium thistles, and he is using GIS to predict suitable habitats for native and introduced thistles to identify where native, non-target feeding may occur. He has authored or co-authored 10 refereed publications, 10 non-refereed publications, and has given more than 40 oral and poster presentations at various professional conferences. As a student member of the ESA, Greg has served as Representative and Chair of the Student Affairs Committee of the Southeastern Branch (SEB) and as SEB Representative to the ESA Student Affairs Committee. He has been a member of the SEB Local Arrangements Committee, co-organized three student symposia for SEB and ESA meetings, served as Student Liaison to the ESA Linnaean Games Committee, and helped organize and participated in musical jam sessions at SEB and ESA meetings. Greg also has enjoyed his involvement with entomological outreach programs for several events at the University of Tennessee and at many area schools and organizations. Greg has received several awards, including Best Student Paper (Tennessee Entomological Society), the Robert T. Gast Award for Best Ph.D. Paper (SEB), an ESA President’s Prize, and the John Henry Comstock Award. 

Student Certification Award (Sponsored by Springer Pest Solutions)—This award recognizes and encourages outstanding entomology graduate students with interest in the mission of the ESA Certification Program. This year’s winner, Timothy J. Husen, received his B.S. in biological sciences (2002) and his M.S. in entomology (2006) from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). Tim is currently a Ph.D. candidate and graduate research assistant in the UNL Department of Entomology, working in the Urban Entomology Laboratory. Tim’s research focuses on chitin synthase and chitinase gene expression in subterranean termites and the response of these genes/protein products to growth inhibiting chemicals.

Tim has also participated in a wide variety of research projects, such as termite inspections, liquid termiticide and baiting treatment applications, evaluating liquid and gel-bait insecticide treatments for nuisance ant control, and evaluating the degradation of liquid termiticides under differing storage and environmental conditions. He has been an ESA member since 2004, a Board Certified Entomologist (BCE)-Intern since 2008, and actively participates in the meetings of the BCE of Mid-America. Tim is also a member of the Sigma Xi chapter at UNL. He has served a one-year term on the North Central Branch Student Awards Committee and a two-year term on the Student Affairs Committee. Tim has given seven professional presentations at ESA meetings (both National and Branch), as well as several other extension and outreach presentations at the Nebraska Urban Pest Management Conference and the Lancaster County Extension Termite School.

John Henry Comstock Graduate Student Awards—These awards promote interest in entomology at the graduate level and stimulate interest in attending the ESA Annual Meeting. The following 2009 winners were selected by each of the five ESA Branches:

Dr. Scott M. Geib (Eastern Branch) attended Michigan State University (MSU), where he received his B.Sc. in zoology and entomology through the Lyman Briggs School of Natural Science with honors. While at MSU, Scott was employed for five years at the USDA Forest Service North Central Research Station, working on forest insect research projects. After graduating from MSU, Scott pursued his doctoral degree at the Pennsylvania State University under the guidance of Drs. Kelli Hoover in entomology and Ming Tien in biochemistry and molecular biology. There, Scott focused his research on the microbial ecology and biochemistry of the Asian longhorned beetle, with a focus on wood degradation in this insect’s gut. Upon receiving his Ph.D. in 2008, Scott received a USDA NRI postdoctoral fellowship in biobased energy and bioproducts to continue his work on the Asian longhorned beetle gut system, and he is currently working at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Penn State.

David R. Coyle (North Central Branch) is majoring in entomology at the University of Wisconsin and is expecting to complete his Ph.D. in December. He is advised by Dr. Kenneth Raffa. David’s dissertation research involves the ecology and effects of root feeding by invasive weevils on the health and growth of trees in the northern hardwood ecosystem. David’s dissertation research also involves invasive species management and pest management in production forestry. In addition to his dissertation research, David is collaborating on two other forestry research projects, one involving the use of Populus clones in phytoremediation plantings in northern Wisconsin, and a second long-term project determining the effects of resource amendments on tree growth, biomass, and nutrient partitioning on a research plantation in South Carolina. David is the author of two book chapters and 24 refereed journal articles. He has also authored several extension publications and has given 11 invited and 25 submitted presentations and 15 posters. David has authored or co-authored successful grants, including a highly competitive EPA STAR fellowship. David has demonstrated excellence in teaching forest entomology courses and is active in several professional societies, including the ESA-NCB Student Affairs Committee. He has shown tremendous initiative in organizing and moderating symposia at regional and national meetings. He has also volunteered his time and expertise in reviewing manuscripts for ESA and other journals.

Allison K. Hansen (Pacific Branch), a graduate student at the University of California, Riverside, investigates the potential role and maintenance of bacterial endosymbionts in their insect hosts. In the invasive psyllid Glycaspis brimblecombei, she found that an endosymbiont may confer resistance towards a wasp parasitoid introduced for biological control. In a second psyllid system (Bactericerca cockerelli), Hansen discovered the bacterial symbiont, Candidatus Liberibacter psyllaurous. She found that the psyllid vectors L. psyllaurous to the phloem of solanceous plants, and that the bacterium is associated with psyllid yellows. Psyllid yellows is a serious disease of solanceous crops, and the cause of this disease had been unidentified for over a century. Liberibacter psyllaurous may also prove to be a new model system for combating Huanglongbing disease in citrus, which is another Liberibacter-associated disease. Hansen has received two NSF grants in support of her research.

Waseem Akbar (Southeastern Branch) received his M.S. from Kansas State University, where he studied microbial control of the red flour beetle using Beauveria bassiana. Currently, he is a Ph.D. candidate working under Dr. Thomas E. (Gene) Reagan at Louisiana State University. His dissertation research focuses on resistance to the sugarcane aphid, including feeding behavior and identification of free amino acids with differential susceptibility among sugarcane cultivars. Waseem has 14 peer-reviewed publications, including seven as senior author. Additional studies have involved tebufenozide resistance in the sugarcane borer, biological control of the sugarcane aphid, cultural practices and invasive species, and stored grain insects IPM. Other awards include the LSU Department of Entomology’s L.D. Newsom Outstanding Ph.D. Student Award, the ESA President’s Prize (second place in an oral session), and the R.H. Painter M.S. Student Award at KSU. 

Michelle R. Sanford (Southwestern Branch) received her M.S. from the University of California, Riverside, where she examined the effects of nitrogen enrichment on mosquito production from constructed treatment wetlands with Dr. William E. Walton. Her research utilized a broad range of aquatic ecology sampling methods in an attempt to relate wetland ecosystem level changes to mosquito production and water quality. Michelle also worked with Dr. Joe B. Keiper on projects involving the description of the immature stages of some wetland Diptera.

She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Entomology at Texas A&M University under the advisement of Dr. Jeffery K. Tomberlin. Her dissertation work involves the examination of olfactory conditioning in mosquitoes with emphasis on the southern house mosquito, Culex quinquefasciatus Say. Specifically, she is examining the breadth and variables important to appetitive olfactory conditioning. Her research has also examined the interaction between non-consumptive predatory effects, larval experience, and adult oviposition preference in Cx. quinquefasciatus. This research also led to the opportunity to undertake a Fulbright research fellowship to Thailand to examine olfactory conditioning in Anopheline mosquitoes. She has six peer-reviewed publications with several more in preparation and plans to complete her doctoral work in May, 2010.