Ten Entomologists Join the Ranks of Fellows of the Entomological Society of America
Annapolis, MD; August 7, 2017—The Governing Board of the Entomological Society of America (ESA) has elected 10 new Fellows of the Society for 2017. Election as a Fellow of ESA acknowledges outstanding contributions to entomology in research, teaching, extension and outreach, administration, or the military. See more details on criteria for Fellow selection, as well as a full list of ESA Fellows.
The following Fellows will be recognized during Entomology 2017, November 5-8, in Denver, Colorado.
Nora J. Besansky, Ph.D.
Dr. Nora J. Besansky, O'Hara Professor of Biology at the University of Notre Dame (UND), was elected as Fellow in 2017. She is internationally known for her research on the genetics and evolution of anopheline mosquito vectors of malaria.
Besansky was born in 1960 in Washington, DC, and grew up in the Maryland suburbs (Silver Spring). Instead of flipping burgers, her very first paid job was as an intern at the newly minted Smithsonian Insect Zoo (1977), followed by summers working as a technician at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center and the Malaria Section of the Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where her love of malaria vectors was first cultivated. She earned a B.A. in Biology from Oberlin College in 1982 and a Ph.D. in Genetics from Yale University in 1990. After a short postdoctoral fellowship at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in retroviral diseases, she became a staff scientist with the CDC Malaria Branch from 1991 until 1997, when she joined the University of Notre Dame as an Associate Professor of Biology, rising to Professor in 2002. She was appointed O'Hara Professor in 2010, has served as Associate Chair of Biology since 2015, and has been affiliated with the UND Eck Institute for Global Health since its inception.
Besansky's research has been motivated by an interest in understanding why the dominant vectors of malaria nearly always belong to "species complexes" whose closely related members are often morphologically identical, yet differ enough physiologically and behaviorally to contain both non-vector and vector species. Her research on the Anopheles gambiae complex led to a resolution of the historical branching order of its species—a longstanding controversy—and a recognition of the genome-wide extent of introgression between two of its principal malaria vectors. Recently her research group has begun to explore similar issues in the less well-known but medically important An. funestus complex. Other projects include understanding the role of chromosomal inversions in local adaptation, and the genetic basis of ongoing ecological speciation within malaria vectors. Supported by the NIH, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the World Health Organization, her research has resulted in more than 130 scientific publications.
Besansky led a large international consortium that sequenced and analyzed the genomes of 16 Anopheles species, and she remains active in generating and improving genomic resources for the scientific community. She serves as Associate Editor for PLoS Pathogens and sits on several editorial boards, including Current Opinion in Insect Science. She served as member (and Chair) of the NIH Vector Biology Study Section. Besansky teaches undergraduate and graduate courses at UND and has advised 29 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows as well as 31 undergraduate researchers. Besansky has also been elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2005), the American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (2014), and the Royal Entomological Society (2016).
Married to fellow medical entomologist Frank Collins for more than 30 years, they are the parents of two sons and the devoted subjects of two cats.
Lincoln P. Brower, Ph.D.
Dr. Lincoln P. Brower, Research Professor of Biology at Sweet Briar College and Distinguished Service Professor of Zoology Emeritus at the University of Florida, was elected as Fellow in 2017. He is internationally known for his research on the chemical and physiological ecology and conservation of the monarch butterfly.
Professor Brower was born in New Jersey in 1931. He received a B.S. in Biology from Princeton University in 1953 and a Ph.D. in Zoology from Yale University in 1957, working with Charles Remington. A Fulbright Fellowship allowed him to spend 1957 and 1958 in E.B. Ford's ecological genetics lab at Oxford University before joining the biology department at Amherst College, where he rose from Instructor to the Stone Professor of Biology. In 1980 he moved to the University of Florida, as Professor of Zoology from 1980 to 1995 and Distinguished Service Professor from 1995 until his retirement in 1997. Sweet Briar College, a liberal arts college in Virginia where his wife is a faculty member, then appointed him as Research Professor of Biology.
In total, Brower has authored and coauthored more than 200 scientific papers, edited two books, and produced eight films. His early research on insect adaptive coloration led to collaborations with chemists and ecologists in exploring the chemical ecology of milkweeds, monarch butterflies, and bird predators. His photographs of a blue jay vomiting after eating a monarch butterfly are classics. When the winter location of eastern monarch butterflies was announced in 1976, Brower's research pivoted to studying the extraordinary winter colonies and to the microclimatic protection provided by the forests. On his first visit in January 1977, Brower recognized that the colonies could be lost to deforestation, and his work expanded to include conservation of this endangered phenomenon. He conducted field and laboratory research to understand the butterflies' habitat requirements, worked with conservation organizations and government agencies to design the monarch butterfly reserves, and encouraged the public to care about monarchs through innumerable public lectures and consulting for dozens of articles, books, and documentaries. In 2015, Brower was a signatory on the petition to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to designate the monarch butterfly as a threatened species.
Brower's awards include the E.O. Wilson Award of the Center for Biological Diversity, Reconocimiento a la Conservacion de la Naturaleza from the Mexican federal government, Marsh Award of the Royal Entomological Society, Wilbur Lucius Cross Medal from Yale, Henry Bates Award of the Association for Tropical Lepidoptera, Distinguished Animal Behaviorist Award of the Animal Behavior Society, and the Linnaean Medal for Zoology. He is a fellow of the Royal Entomological Society and Explorers Club, honorary life member of the Lepidopterists' Society, and research associate of the Smithsonian Institution and the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera at the University of Florida.
Brower and his wife, Professor Linda Fink, share their home in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains with three German shepherds and two cats. A conservation easement protects rich deciduous forest and abundant wildlife, including many charismatic insects, on their mountain land.
Yves Carrière, Ph.D.
Dr. Yves Carrière is a professor in the Department of Entomology at the University of Arizona. He is internationally known for his research in applied insect ecology, especially ecological aspects of insect resistance to insecticides and transgenic plants, and development of landscape-based pest management programs.
Professor Carrière was born in Montréal, Canada, in 1958. He earned a B.Sc. in Biology and M.Sc. in Entomology with Jeremy McNeil at Laval University in Quebec. He obtained his Ph.D. in 1991 at Simon Fraser University with Bernie Roitberg, studying the evolution of insect-plant interactions. He subsequently was a postdoctoral fellow with Derek Roff at McGill University, working on the evolution of insect life histories and resistance to insecticides. He then worked as an adjunct professor on the development of integrated pest management programs for turf grass insects with Jacques Brodeur at Laval University before taking his current position at the University of Arizona in 1998.
Dr. Carrière has studied numerous aspects of the interactions between insects and transgenic Bt crops. These include the regional impact of deployment of Bt crops on pest population dynamics, the impact of fitness costs on the evolution of resistance, and the association between similarity of Bt toxins and factors that affect evolution of resistance to pyramided Bt crops. He has also pioneered spatially explicit, large-scale analyses of pest population dynamics, spread of insect-transmitted viruses, patterns of evolution of resistance, and other factors related to management of resistance to Bt crops. Dr. Carrière has produced more than 190 scientific publications, including a book, 12 book chapters, and 140 peer-reviewed journal articles. His grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Institutes of Health, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, industry, and other sources total more than $12.6 million.
Dr. Carrière has enjoyed mentoring 39 graduate students, 12 as major supervisor and 27 as a committee member. He also mentored seven postdoctoral scientists and hosted five visiting scientists. He is involved in science outreach to the public and shares his interests in insects and cooking with thousands of visitors at the Insects as Food booth at the annual Arizona Insect Festival.
Recognition of Dr. Carrière's achievements includes selection as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2012); Distinguished Alumnus, Simon Fraser University (2012); and Research Faculty of the Year, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, University of Arizona (2013). He was chosen to serve on the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council committee evaluating the impact of genetically engineered crops on farm sustainability in the United States (2009-2010).
Carrière was a professional skier for several years before attending university and still enjoys skiing in the white mountains of Arizona. He lives with his wife, entomologist Kathleen Walker, and their son and daughter in Tucson.
Mustapha Debboun, Ph.D.
Dr. Mustapha Debboun is a Medical and Veterinary Entomologist. He was born in Tangier, Morocco, and received his B.A. in cellular and molecular biology from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York; an M.S. in medical entomology from the University of New Hampshire in Durham, New Hampshire; and a Ph.D. in medical and veterinary entomology from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Dr. Debboun is currently serving as the Director of Mosquito & Vector Control Division at Harris County Public Health in Houston, Texas. He has worked in global military public health entomology, vector-borne diseases, preventive medicine operations, research and development of arthropod repellents, and field personal protective measures. This work has taken him to more than 35 different countries in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and Latin and South America. His main goal is the integration of medical and veterinary entomology with other academic and operational public health fields to provide efficient and sustainable management of disease vectors and human protection from the vector-borne disease threat.
Dr. Debboun has served with distinction in the U.S. Army in various military assignments and leadership positions as Executive Officer, 714th Medical Detachment; Preventive Medicine Instructor, Academy of Health Sciences; Commander, 255th Medical Detachment, Headquarters, Department of the Army; Medical Research Technology Staff Officer at the Pentagon; Program Research Manager at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research; Theater Medical Entomologist during Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom; Commander, US Army Center for Health Promotion & Preventive Medicine-South at Fort McPherson; and Chief, Medical Zoology Branch, and Chief, Department of Preventive Health Services, at the Army Medical Department Center & School.
Dr. Debboun is a Board Certified Medical and Veterinary Entomologist, a U.S. Department of Defense Liaison to the Scientific Review Committee and Special Advisor to the Scientific Council of the International Committee of Military Medicine, and a member of six scientific associations. Dr. Debboun has authored or co-authored more than 105 peer-reviewed scientific publications and a book titled Prevention of Bug Bites, Stings, and Disease and co-edited two other books: Insect Repellents: Principles, Methods, and Uses and Insect Repellents Handbook. He also organizes and leads national and international public health entomology symposia, participates as a subject matter expert scientific reviewer and editorial review board member of eight scientific journals, and serves as Vice Chair of the Entomological Society of America Medical, Urban, and Vector Entomology Section. Dr. Debboun is nationally and internationally recognized for his work on global military and civilian public health entomology and on personal protective measures against disease vectors and arthropod repellent research and development.
Dr. Debboun's military and civilian awards include the Legion of Merit, two Bronze Star Medals, six Meritorious Service Medals, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, Order of Military Medical Merit, U.S. Army Surgeon General's "A" Professional Proficiency Designator for excellence and expertise in Medical & Veterinary Entomology, Distinguished Service Award to the Certification Program of the Entomological Society of America, and U.S. Department of Agriculture Outstanding Agricultural Service Award.
Dr. Debboun is married to his wife, Natalie, and they are parents of a daughter, Ameena, and two sons, Adam and David.
Michael S. Engel, Ph.D.
Dr. Michael S. Engel, a professor in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and senior curator in the Division of Entomology at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, was elected as Fellow in 2017. He is internationally known for his research on insect systematics and paleontology, and as a prolific writer, with more than 675 articles and books, including co-authoring with David A. Grimaldi the influential tome Evolution of the Insects (2005).
Professor Engel was born in Missouri in 1971 but lived there for only 10 months before his family relocated to the West Coast. In 1989, he matriculated at the University of Kansas, receiving his B.S. in physiology and cell biology and B.A. in chemistry in 1993, and then promptly entered the doctoral program in Entomology at Cornell University, graduating with his Ph.D. in May 1998. After graduation, he was appointed as a Research Scientist in the Department of Entomology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, remaining there until August 2000. In 2000, he returned to the University of Kansas, becoming assistant professor in the Department of Entomology and Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and assistant curator in the KU Natural History Museum's Division of Entomology, assuming the position formerly occupied by his mentor, Professor Charles D. Michener. He was subsequently promoted to associate professor and associate curator in 2005 and to full professor and senior curator in 2008. Engel founded the Journal of Melittology in 2013, a peer-reviewed serial for the study of non-Apis bees, and has served as editor, assistant editor, or editorial board member for numerous other journals, including Systematic Entomology, Arthropod Systematics and Phylogeny, Entomologist's Monthly Magazine, ZooKeys, Journal of Paleontology, and Cretaceous Research.
During his career, Engel's research has contributed to an understanding of the geological history, phylogenetic relationships, past and present diversity, and evolution of many insect lineages, as well as those of Entognatha, Crustacea, Arachnida, and Onychophora. His studies have made possible revised classifications and evolutionary histories of termites, zorapterans, lacewings, and bees, as well as syntheses on the origin of major features in insect evolution, most notably wings and flight. Aside from his paleontological endeavors, Engel has contributed to the systematics and biology of bees, most recently working on the fauna of the Arabian Peninsula.
Engel received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2006 and was previously elected a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London (2000) as well as of the Paleontological Society (2008). He received a 2006 William T. Kemper Fellowship in recognition of contributions to graduate education, as well as the 2008 Charles Schuchert Award of the Paleontological Society, 2009 Bicentenary Medal of the Linnean Society of London, 2014 University Scholarly Achievement Award of the University of Kansas, and a 2015 International Cooperation Award from the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Engel presently lives in Lawrence with his wife, Kellie, and enjoys time with his nephews and nieces, classical music, and readings in philology, comparative mythology, and history.
Bernd Heinrich, Ph.D.
Dr. Bernd Heinrich, emeritus professor of biology at the University of Vermont and formerly professor of entomology at the University of California, Berkeley, was elected Fellow in 2017. He is internationally known for his work in insect physiology and behavior and extending this work to ecology and evolution of vertebrates, especially ravens.
Heinrich was born in 1940, and from 1945 to 1950 his family lived isolated in a forest in northern Germany. There he came under the influence of his father, Gerd H. Heinrich, an international explorer and noted Ichneumon taxonomist. The family emigrated to the U.S. and he grew up in rural Maine. He received both his B.A. and M.S. from the University of Maine, Orono. He earned his Ph.D. from University of California, Los Angeles in 1970, immediately after which he joined the entomology faculty at UC, Berkeley and attained the rank of professor of entomology in 1976. He returned to his New England roots in 1980, taking a position at the University of Vermont.
Heinrich has been interested in insects since early childhood, starting with ichneumon- and caterpillar-hunting and a collection of carabid beetles at age eight. He has expanded his interests to numerous aspects of biology. His research career started with protozoan cell biology, leading to comparative physiology and behavior of moths, then butterflies, bumble bees, honey bees, vespid wasps, dung beetles, dragonflies, sexton beetles, caterpillars, and dipteran larvae. His major discovery was thermoregulation of sphinx moths in flight by a previously unknown mechanism in insects, which led to his continuing work in body temperature control and elucidating a new mechanism for social temperature control in honey bees. The physiology and behavior opened continued work on bumble bee foraging energetics with application to relations of the pollen vectors to the evolution of flower diversity at the ecological level. Subsequently, he contrasted aspects of the social biology of bees to that of ravens in their enigmatic sharing behavior evolved from competition for prized food resources.
Heinrich is a prodigious author with 128 refereed publications, with the most papers in the Journal of Experimental Biology (18), Animal Behaviour (9) and Science (8). He has written 20 books, 51 book chapters, and 93 popular science writings in magazines such as Audubon, Natural History,and Scientific American. His book Bumblebee Economics was a National Book Award in Science finalist. In addition to insects, he has published extensively on ornithology, including Ravens in Winter and Mind of the Raven, which won the John Burroughs Medal for Nature Writing. His Winter World: The Ingenuity of Animal Survival was a New York Times Bestseller.
Now living with his partner, Lynn, in a self-made cabin in the Maine woodland property near his original boyhood home, he continues his active interests in entomology and ornithology with field research and writing. He has four children and three grandchildren.
Richard Lindroth, Ph.D.
Dr. Richard Lindroth, Vilas Distinguished Achievement and Sorenson Professor in the Department of Entomology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was elected Fellow in 2017. He is an international leader in the disciplines of chemical ecology, plant-insect interactions, and global change ecology. He has also provided leadership in university administration, having served as Associate Dean for Research and Associate Director of the Agricultural Experiment Station in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at UW-Madison.
Lindroth was born in Batavia, Illinois, in 1954. As a "free range" kid, his love of biology was nurtured while roaming the fields, forests, and ponds of land that later became home to the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. He received his B.S. in wildlife biology at Iowa State University (1977) and his Ph.D. in ecology (under Dr. George Batzli) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1984). In 1985, he received a National Science Foundation (NSF) postdoctoral fellowship to work with Dr. Mike Scriber at UW-Madison, where a focus on swallowtail-plant interactions provided an exciting on-ramp to the world of entomology. Lindroth joined the faculty of the Department of Entomology, UW-Madison, as an assistant professor in 1988 and was promoted to associate professor in 1992 and to full professor in 1996. He served as Associate Dean for Research and Associate Director of the Agricultural Experiment Station from 2010 to 2016.
Lindroth's research program has been very broad, addressing the roles of mechanisms that underlie ecological interactions at levels spanning the range from biochemistry to ecosystems. His group has investigated how plant chemistry influences interactions between plants and insect herbivores and consequences thereof for community organization and ecosystem function. A major emphasis of their work has been the effects of global environmental change on plant-insect interactions in forest ecosystems. Lindroth has published more than 200 journal articles and book chapters and mentored 24 graduate students and 20 postdoctoral scientists. His research program has been supported by numerous grants from the NSF, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the U.S. Department of Energy.
Lindroth has served on the editorial boards of four journals and on grant review panels for the NSF and USDA. He is recipient of a Fulbright Senior Scholar award, the Silverstein-Simeone Award in Chemical Ecology, and numerous UW-Madison awards for research excellence. He is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Ecological Society of America.
Lindroth has been married for nearly 40 years to his wife Nancy, with whom he parented two extraordinary daughters and now enjoys two grandsons. When not working, he explores and speaks on topics at the interface of science and religion and pursues outdoor activities abetted by carbon-fiber technology: cycling, flyfishing and canoeing.
Sally Rockey, Ph.D.
Dr. Sally Rockey, Executive Director of the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, is internationally known as the face of federal research administration in agriculture and biomedicine and for transforming government programs, allowing innovation to flourish in the U.S. research enterprise.
Rockey was born in 1958 in Cleveland, Ohio. She was enamored with biology from an early age and particularly loved animals, which led her to pursue zoology at The Ohio State University where she received her B.S. in 1980. Having been struck by the curious nature of insects, she went on to receive her M.S. and Ph.D. in Entomology from The Ohio State University and did postgraduate work at University of Wisconsin prior to joining the government in 1986. Her first position was to oversee entomology programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service. From there she moved up within the organization to lead the competitive research program. In her final years with USDA she was the Chief Information Officer, applying her breadth of government knowledge to IT. From there she moved to the National Institutes of Health. As Deputy Director for Extramural Research at NIH, Rockey oversaw the operations of the largest extramural research program in the world. There she led groundbreaking initiatives on scientific workforce, administrative burden reduction, and electronic government. NIH was where she started her renowned "RockTalk" blog, which served as a model for government communication and opened the door to what was often considered a mystery, the NIH decision making process. In 2015, Rockey was selected to become the first Executive Director of the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, a nonprofit organization established through bipartisan support in the 2014 Farm Bill. Rockey was a natural fit for the position due to her extensive background in research administration and unique depth and breadth of knowledge of the connection between agriculture and health.
As a principal leader for research administration in the government, Rockey headed numerous federal committees such as the Research Business Models Working Group of the National Science and Technology Council's Committee on Science. She served as Vice President of the Human Frontiers of Science program, an international life-science grant program that funded multinational teams of scientists conducting groundbreaking research. Throughout her career, she has participated in hundreds of agency or government-wide activities on research policy and programs, been a frequent keynote speaker, and given more than a thousand invited presentations. In her current role, Dr. Rockey gave the prestigious Heuermann Lecture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and was the featured speaker at the annual awards ceremony for the Golden Goose Award, which recognizes the tremendous human and economic benefits of research. As a manager of very large staffs, she has mentored numerous employees, many of whom have followed her into research leadership positions.
Rockey has been recognized for her numerous professional accomplishments with the Presidential Rank Award for excellence in government leadership, the Joseph F. Carrabino award for promoting government university relationships, and the Association of Independent Research Institutions Public Service Award, among other recognitions.
Rockey is an avid reader, bridge player, and Bruce Springsteen fan. Her husband, Sam Stribling, also an entomologist, shares her love of travel, and they often visit their son, James Stribling, an artist in Savannah, Georgia.
Guy Smagghe, Ph.D.
Dr. Guy Smagghe, professor at the Department of Crop Protection at the Ghent University in Belgium, was elected as Fellow in 2017. He is internationally known for his work with insects important in agriculture, devoting his career to advancing modern agriculture, sustainability, and innovations in crop protection and pollination.
Dr. Smagghe was born in 1968 in Belgium, admiring insects and their metamorphosis already as a child. He received an M.S. in agronomy and crop protection in 1991 and his Ph.D. in 1995 at Ghent University. He held different pre- and post-doctoral grants and was a visiting postdoc in Spain, Switzerland, and the United States. He was appointed as research professor in 2002 and became full professor in 2012. His multidisciplinary team has a special emphasis on insect physiology, molecular biology, applied ecology, and mechanisms underlying the evolutionary success of insects against the plethora of biotic and abiotic challenges in the environment, all with the aim for an environment-friendly control of pest insects. Several model and pest insects have been used, including caterpillars, beetles, aphids, leafhoppers, and thrips. He also has an eye for pollinators, bumble bees, and wild bees and their pollination for better production in agriculture to feed an increasing world population. Dr. Smagghe also takes responsibility in government with respect to plant protection products and biopesticides as member of the Belgian Superior Health Council. At university, he is responsible for courses in themes of entomology, animal physiology and novel biopesticides.
He has 25 years' experience in basic and applied research into investigating the toxicology and mode of action of new insecticidal compounds and tactics in pest control. He played a pioneering role in comparative endocrinology with insect molting hormones and ecdysteroid mimetics. Meanwhile, he is also an expert in setting up and developing different insect and receptor assays. With bumblebees and wild bees, he had a true pioneering position and is playing a forefront role in Belgium, Europe, and the world.
Dr. Smagghe has published more than 550 papers and 28 book chapters and presented more than 750 oral and poster contributions. Since 2002, more than 100 students have obtained their M.S. under his tutorship, and he has been supervisor or co-supervisor of 42 successful Ph.D. theses. He invests much in the training of young talent of the world.
Dr. Smagghe is very active in the community as editor of 18 international journals, including Pest Management Science, Journal of Insect Physiology, and Pesticide Biochemistry & Physiology. He has organized conferences in Europe, the U.S., Brazil, China, and Africa. At the Entomological Society of America, he is a Publications Committee member. With his contributions on primary and continuous insect cell cultures, he was elected in 2007 as Fellow of the Society on In Vitro Biology and in 2016 as Distinguished Scientist. He was awarded the First Prize of the Belgian Royal Academia of Sciences, Linguistics and Fine Arts, in 1998 and elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2012, and he has received three honorary doctorate degrees (2011, 2014, 2015).
Married to his wife, Betty, for 25 years, they are the parents of three children.
Marla Spivak, Ph.D.
Dr. Marla Spivak, Distinguished McKnight Professor in the Department of Entomology at the University of Minnesota, was elected as Fellow in 2017. She is internationally known for her research on honey bee social immunity and for her extension efforts on bee breeding for colony health and productivity.
Spivak was born in Denver, Colorado, in 1955. She began keeping bees when she was 18 years old, working for a commercial beekeeper in New Mexico. She received a B.A. in Biology from Humboldt State University in northern California in 1978. She then traveled through South America, settling in Peru for some time before entering graduate school. She obtained her Ph.D. in entomology at the University of Kansas with Dr. Orley (Chip) Taylor in 1989 on the ecology and identification of Africanized honey bees in Costa Rica. From 1989 to 1991 she was a post-doctoral research associate at the Center for Insect Science at the University of Arizona and the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service Bee Research Laboratory in Tucson, working with Dr. Gloria Degrandi-Hoffman and Dr. Martha Gilliam. She was hired in the Entomology Department at the University of Minnesota in 1992 on a non-tenure track appointment. In 1993, the position was converted to tenure track and she was hired as Assistant Professor in Entomology, and she was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 1999 and Full Professor in 2006.
Spivak became interested in honey bee behavioral mechanisms of disease and parasite resistance (social immunity) in 1991 when she conducted studies on hygienic behavior with Dr. Gilliam. She demonstrated, in 1996, that hygienic colonies detect and remove pupae infested with the parasitic mite Varroa destructor, limiting parasite transmission. She bred the MN Hygienic line and used it to explore the neuroethological mechanisms of the trait and to test the performance and parasite resistance of hygienic colonies in commercial beekeeping apiaries. In 2009, she began researching the benefits of propolis (tree resins) to bees' immune function and pathogen defense. Other studies by students in her lab include the development of the first honey bee cell line, investigations on the effects of agricultural landscapes and pesticides on honey bee and native bee health, decoding the dance language to determine floral preferences of honey bees, and the creation of flowering "bee" lawns to support all bees. In 2011 she started the Bee Squad extension and education program within her lab, now run by Dr. Rebecca Masterman, for urban beekeepers and businesses. She also helped start the Tech Transfer Team program through the Bee Informed Partnership, Inc., to help migratory beekeepers reduce colony losses.
Spivak was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 2010. Recent awards include the 2015 Minnesota AgriGrowth Distinguished Service Award, the 2016 Siehl Prize laureate for excellence in agriculture, and the 2016 Wings WorldQuest Women of Discovery Earth Award. Her 2013 TED talk has more than 2.4 million views.
She is married to Chris Carlson. Her son, Dr. Bryan Alvarez, teaches music in Oakland middle schools.
CONTACT: Joe Rominiecki, firstname.lastname@example.org, 301-731-4535 x3009
ABOUT: ESA 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 over 6,000 members affiliated with educational institutions, health agencies, private industry, and government. Headquartered in Annapolis, Maryland, the Society stands ready as a non-partisan scientific and educational resource for all insect-related topics. For more information, visit http://www.entsoc.org.