Shirley Luckhart Chosen for 2018 ESA Founders' Memorial Lecture

Lecture will honor Walter Reed, U.S. Army physician and pioneer in vector biology

Annapolis, MD; April 26, 2018—Shirley Luckhart, Ph.D., professor and co-director of the Center for Health in the Human Ecosystem at the University of Idaho, has been chosen to deliver the Founders' Memorial Award lecture at Entomology 2018, the Joint Annual Meeting of the Entomological Societies of America, Canada, and British Columbia, November 11-14, in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Shirley Luckhart, Ph.D.

Shirley Luckhart, Ph.D.

The Founders' Memorial Award was established in 1958 to honor the memory of scientists who made outstanding contributions to entomology. Each year at the Entomological Society of America (ESA) Annual Meeting, the recipient of the award delivers the Founders' Memorial Lecture, the topic of which is always a deceased entomologist. (See the list of past Founders' Memorial Award winners and honorees.)

At Entomology 2018, the subject of Dr. Luckhart's lecture will be Walter Reed (1851-1902), a U.S. Army physician who led the team of researchers that first confirmed the link between mosquitoes and the spread of yellow fever. Though trained as a medical doctor and not an entomologist, Reed's impact on entomology was profound and contributed significantly to the field of vector biology. Benefits of his work were realized almost immediately: Yellow fever outbreaks in the United States were contained by 1905, and construction of the Panama Canal—which had previously failed in large part due to workers falling victim to yellow fever and malaria—proceeded successfully under new efforts to minimize exposure to mosquitoes and the pathogens they carried.

Dr. Luckhart got her start in entomology more than 30 years ago, and in that time her research on the biochemistry and molecular cell biology of Anopheles mosquitoes has continued the scientific progress sparked by Reed more than a century ago. Her work has been continuously funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health since 1997, focused broadly on understanding the transmission of the causative agent of malaria by Anopheles mosquitoes. Many of her findings have led to interventions that block both infection and transmission, and, as a result, she has several patents in process.

Walter Reed

Walter Reed

Luckhart first made strides early in her career as a National Research Council postdoctoral scientist at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research after she completed her Ph.D. at Rutgers University in 1995. Since then, Luckhart has served in research and teaching roles at the Uniformed Service University of the Health Sciences; Virginia Tech; and the University of California, Davis.

In 2017, she joined the faculty of the University of Idaho, as a professor in both the Department of Entomology, Nematology and Plant Pathology and the Department of Biological Sciences and as a founding co-director of the university's Center for Health in the Human Ecosystem. In 2014, Luckhart was named a Fellow of the American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, and in 2017 she received a career excellence award in medical, urban, and veterinary entomology from the ESA Pacific Branch.

"Shirley sees her work as being part of not only her department, school, and university but of the universe of science. She is always interested in what other people do and seems to have innumerable collaborators," says Ronald Rosenberg, associate director for science at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control's Division of Vector-Borne Diseases. Rosenberg was director of the entomology division at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research when Luckhart was there in her postdoctoral position. "We often spoke of what an extraordinary and brave scientist Reed was. I think Shirley Luckhart is a superb choice to honor his legacy while looking into the future."

Dr. Luckhart will deliver the Founders' Memorial Lecture, titled "He Gave to Man Control Over That Dreadful Scourge, Yellow Fever," at the Entomology 2018 Awards Breakfast, beginning at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, November 13.

CONTACT: Joe Rominiecki,, 301-731-4535 x3009

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Entomology 2018, the Joint Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America, the Entomological Society of Canada, and the Entomological Society of British Columbia, will take place November 11-14, at the Vancouver Convention Centre in Vancouver, BC, Canada. The theme "Crossing Borders: Entomology in a Changing World" highlights the value of collaboration and cooperation across both geographic and interdisciplinary boundaries. The gathering will bring together approximately 3,000 insect scientists to share their latest research and communicate the global science of entomology. For more information, visit