Edward Walker to Give Founders’ Memorial Lecture

Lanham, MD; June 1, 2009 – Dr. Edward D. Walker has been selected by the ESA Founders’ Memorial Award Judging Panel to deliver the Founders’ Memorial Award lecture at the ESA Annual Meeting this December in Indianapolis, Indiana. The honoree is the late Dr. George B. Craig, Jr.

ESA established the Founders’ Memorial Award in 1958 to honor scientists whose lives and careers enhanced entomology as a profession and who made significant contributions to the field in general and in their respective subdisciplines. At each Annual Meeting, the recipient of the award addresses the conferees during Sunday’s opening Plenary session to honor the memory and career of an outstanding entomologist.

Dr.  Ned Walker

Dr. Walker is a professor in the Department of Entomology and the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at Michigan State University. Trained as a medical entomologist, his program involves studies of the biology and control of mosquito vectors, and the dynamics of transmission of vector-borne diseases including malaria, West Nile viral encephalitis, and Lyme disease. He obtained a B.S. (1978) and an M.S. (1979) in zoology from Ohio University, working with Dr. William S. Romoser, and a Ph.D. in entomology (1983) with Dr. John D. Edman at the University of Massachusetts.

Dr. George B. Craig, Jr., the honoree, was born July 8, 1930 in Chicago. He died on December 21, 1995 while attending the ESA Annual Meeting in Las Vegas. His intense enthusiasm for entomology and mosquito biology was matched only by his passion for sports at the University of Notre Dame, where he devoted the majority of his career. After obtaining a B.S. in biology at the University of Indiana (1951), where he was a collegiate wrestler, Dr. Craig earned his M.S. (1952) and Ph.D. (1956) in entomology with Dr. William R. Horsfall at the University of Illinois, engaging in the study of mosquito eggs.

Dr. George Craig

After serving as a first lieutenant with the U.S. Army Preventive Medicine Detachment at Fort Meade, Maryland in 1954, and as a research entomologist with the U.S. Army Chemical Center in Maryland from 1954 to 1957, Dr. Craig joined the faculty of biological sciences at the University of Notre Dame, where he built a program on mosquito biology with an emphasis on the formal genetics of Aedes. He pioneered studies on genetic methods for control of Aedes aegypti, results of which revealed challenges that persist into the molecular era. His academic legacy included many undergraduate students who chose careers in entomology and biology, as well as numerous graduate students and postdocs.

In 1988, Dr. Craig won the ESA Founders’ Memorial Award himself, delivering a speech on H.G. Dyar at the Annual Meeting in Louisville, Kentucky. He also won the ESA Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching in 1975 and was selected as an ESA Fellow in 1986. Dr. Craig was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1983. According to Ned Walker, “He was an extraordinarily unassuming and generous individual, treating cub scout and colleague with equal deference.”

In recent years, Dr. Walker’s research has focused on malaria control in Kenya. Coincidently, this is the same country where Dr. Craig worked on controlling the yellow fever vector, Aedes aegypti, using a genetic translocation. According to Dr. John Edman, emeritus professor of entomology at the University of California, Davis, “Edward Walker is an outstanding speaker. He has an extremely interesting story to tell about his African malaria research—a compelling story that every ESA member should hear.”