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Entomological Society announces 2007 award winners

The Entomological Society of America (ESA) is pleased to announce the winners of its 2007 awards. Professional awards will be presented at the 2007 Annual Meeting in San Diego on December 9, 2007, and student awards will be presented on December 11. The Societys professional and student awards are listed below with professional awards listed first.

Professional Awards

Distinguished Achievement Award in ExtensionThis award recognizes outstanding contributions in extension entomology. This years winner, Dr. William (Bill) D. Hutchison, is a professor of entomology and extension entomologist at the University of Minnesota. His outreach and research focus includes the development of ecologically based IPM for vegetables and grapes, with a goal of reducing economic and environmental risk. In 1996, Dr. Hutchison and several graduate students developed the VegEdge web site to support timely access of research-based Vegetable IPM results for growers, vegetable processors, crop consultants and extension staff in the Midwest Region. VegEdge is home to factsheets, real-time monitoring data for several insect pests, and the Minnesota Fruit & Vegetable IPM News, a joint effort with the Minnesota Deptartment of Agriculture IPM Program. During the summer months, VegEdge receives more than 2,500 requests/day. He has also published over 85 extension publications, 97 refereed journal articles and 17 book chapters. Dr. Hutchison has been very responsive to the needs of vegetable producers in the North Central Region. He recently led a multi-state effort to better understand migratory behavior and insecticide resistance in Helicoverpa zea, an effort that combines traditional research with data from multiple cooperators, to assist growers and IPM field representatives with real-time and strategic decision making.

Distinguished Achievement Award in Horticultural EntomologyThis award honors any entomologist who has contributed to the American horticulture industry. This years awardee, Dr. Peter A. Follett, is a research entomologist with USDA-ARS at the U.S. Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center in Hilo, Hawaii. He received his B.S. from the University of Vermont, his M.S. from Oregon State University, and his Ph.D. from North Carolina State University in 1993. Dr. Folletts research program focuses on developing new or improved pest management methods and postharvest treatments for quarantined pests that restrict the export of tropical fruits and vegetables from Hawaii. He is nationally and internationally recognized for his research on tropical invasive pests, pest risk management, and high temperature and irradiation quarantine treatments. Dr. Follett has published 75 refereed journal papers, 40 proceedings papers, and a number of invited book chapters. He is currently an associate editor for Journal of Economic Entomology and Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata.

Distinguished Achievement Award in TeachingThis award is presented to the ESA member deemed to be the Societys outstanding teacher of the year. The 2007 recipient, Dr. Joe McHugh, is a professor in the Department of Entomology at the University of Georgia and is the curator of the Arthropod Collection at the Georgia Museum of Natural History. McHughs research program focuses on the morphology and systematics of Coleoptera. He has produced 40 refereed journal articles and book chapters. McHugh is an active member of his department, serving as the undergraduate coordinator, chair of the Academic Affairs Committee, and faculty advisor to the student entomology club. His primary teaching responsibilities include insect taxonomy, insect morphology, and principles of systematics. Since arriving at UGA, he has received six teaching awards. McHugh has served on numerous ESA committees and judging panels, was the Chairman of Section A in 2001, and is the current president of the Coleopterists Society. McHugh received his B.S. from Cornell, his M.S. from the University of Connecticut, and his Ph.D. from Cornell.

Distinguished Service Award to the Certification ProgramThe purpose of this award is to encourage and reward outstanding contributions to the ESA Certification Program and the professionalism of entomology. This years recipient, Dr. Robert Davis, is a market development specialist for BASF Specialty Products. Bob received his educational degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. At UNL he received a B.S. degree in natural resources and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in entomology. His graduate degree work focused on testing and evaluating termite control techniques. He has worked in the pest control industry since 1984, providing services, technical support and research & development. Dr. Davis has provided over 24 presentations at professional meetings and averages over 70 training presentations per year to pest control professionals. He has produced five refereed publications with five in review. Bob has been a member of ESA since 1988 and ARPE/BCE since 1990. He has served on various committees within ESA and most recently served on the ESA/BCE certification board for six years. Dr. Davis enjoys sharing the excitement of entomology with the Boy Scouts and is a counselor for the Insect Studies merit badge.

Recognition Award in Entomology (Sponsored by Syngenta Crop Protection)This award recognizes entomologists who have made or are making signigicant contributions to agriculture. This years recipient, Dr. Mark Hoddle, is an extension specialist in biological control in the Entomology Department at the University of California, Riverside, and he is the director of the Center for Invasive Species Research. Dr. Hoddle completed his B.S. and M.S. at the University of Auckland in New Zealand and was awarded his Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1996. Upon taking a faculty position in 1997, his research has focused on invasive arthropod pest species and their control with natural enemies. Dr. Hoddle has published over 80 peer-reviewed scientific papers and two Annual Review of Entomology articles. He is co-author on a new book on biological control, which will be published in the summer of 2008, and is one of the principle organizers of the bi-annual California Conference on Biological Control and the International Symposium on the Biological Control of Arthropods.

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 2007 awardee, Dr. Michael R. Kanost, received his B.S. degree in zoology and entomology from Colorado State University in 1979, and his Ph.D. in entomology from Purdue University in 1983. He did postdoctoral research at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario and at the University of Arizona before beginning a faculty position at Kansas State University, where he is now University Distinguished Professor and Head of the Department of Biochemistry and an ancillary member of the Department of Entomology faculty. Kanosts research includes investigating how proteins in insect hemolymph function in innate immune responses and the biochemistry involved in formation of the insect exoskeleton. He has published more than 120 journal articles and book chapters and is on the editorial boards of Archives of Insect Biochemistry and Physiology, Developmental and Comparative Immunology, Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Journal of Insect Science.

ESA Student Awards

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. Sandra W. Woolfolk, the 2007 awardee, is a Ph.D. candidate at Mississippi State University. Her research is on the bacterial and fungal associates of red imported fire ants in Mississippi. Originally from Indonesia and a mother of two school children, she has given 34 paper/display presentations (including two invited talks), published seven peer-reviewed journal articles and seven non-refereed articles. She has served on four ESA/SEBESA committees, and has organized three ESA symposia. At MS State, she served as a graduate representative for the graduate student association and in officers positions for the entomology club. Sandra established outstanding graduate student awards in her department and has engaged in more than 25 outreach events for K-12. In the community, she is actively involved as a Girl Scout leader and in an organization that promotes cross-cultural understandings. She was the recipient of two of ESAs Presidents Prizes, the Sigma Xi Grants-In-Aid Research Award, and numerous fellowships/scholarships/awards from MS State and various professional societies.

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 years winner, Michael L. Fisher, is an M.S. student in entomology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He earned two B.S. degrees from Iowa State University, one in entomology (2003) and the other in animal ecology (2001). His masters research focuses on how photoperiod and light intensity affect development rates of some forensically-important blow flies for increased accuracy when estimating the postmortem interval (PMI). His background is in medical and veterinary entomology, and he is currently a Board Certified Entomology-Intern with medical/veterinary specialization. Fisher is a member of the UNL Linnaean Games team, the winner of last years national competition at the 2006 ESA Annual Meeting. He is also currently on active duty in the U.S. Navy, and upon graduation in December, 2007, he will be commissioned as a Lieutenant JG and will serve as a medical entomologist at the Navy Entomology Center for Excellence (NECE) in Jacksonville, Florida.

John Henry Comstock Graduate Student AwardsThese awards promote interest in entomology at the graduate level and stimulate interest in attending the ESA Annual Meeting. The following 2007 winners were selected by each of the five ESA Branches:

  • Dr. Andrew E. Short (Eastern Branch) received his Ph.D. in entomology from Cornell University in May, 2007 under the advisement of Dr. James Liebherr. He previously received his B.S. in entomology from the University of Delaware. In his dissertation research on the systematics of the aquatic beetle family Hydrophilidae, he utilized morphology and molecular data to explore patterns of morphological and habitat evolution, particularly those implicated in aquatic-terrestrial habitat shifting. He serves as a collaborating specialist for aquatic beetles in a number of biotic surveys, including Costa Rica, Venezuela, Mongolia, New Caledonia, and Thailand, and has authored more than 20 peer-reviewed publications. Short is presently a postdoctoral researcher at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History and will join the faculty of the University of Kansas as an assistant professor and curator of entomology in 2009.

  • Dr. Daniela M. Takiya (North Central Branch) received her Ph.D. in entomology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in May 2007. Her thesis research was focused on sharpshooters (Cicadellidae: Cicadellinae), including taxonomy, morphology and DNA-sequence based phylogenies, and consequences of this phylogenetic hypothesis in the classification and behavior of this leafhopper lineage. She took an interest in leafhoppers during her B.S. and M.S. work at Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, and her academic accomplishments enabled her to obtain a fellowship for doctorate research abroad from the Brazilian government. She maintains an online taxonomic key and database of proconiine sharpshooters (, was awarded about $10,000 to support her research during her graduate studies, made 28 research presentations at national and international meetings, published 17 peer-reviewed papers, and serves as an editorial board member for Systematic Entomology (Royal Entomological Society). She continues her studies on sharpshooter systematics as a postdoctoral fellow at Universidade Federal do Paran in Curitiba, Brazil.

  • Rajagopalbabu Srinivasan (Pacific Branch) obtained his M.S. in entomology from Tamil Nadu Agricultural University. His M.S. research revealed that the granulosis virus of diamondback moth, in conjunction with insecticides, mitigated pesticide-detoxifying enzymes and delayed resistance development. At TNAU, he received a merit scholarship and the prestigious Dr. T. V. Ramakrishna Ayyar award. He received his Ph.D. in entomology from the University of Idaho. His research focused on the role of hairy nightshade on the potato leafroll virus pathosystem, demonstrating the importance of the weed as a vector and virus reservoir, and examining its influence on virus epidemiology. His dissertation research has earned him several awards and honors, including the ESAs Presidents Prize, the Manis award, the Barr endowment award, and Phi Sigma membership. His research also helped to obtain grants worth $120,000. His postdoctoral research at the University of Florida focused on endosymbiotic microbiota of citrus psyllid and on citrus psyllid management. He is currently continuing his research on aphids and viruses in potato systems at the University of Idaho. He has published seven peer-reviewed papers, and four book chapters.

  • Gregory J. Wiggins (Southeastern Branch) received a B.A. in biology from Southern Adventist University, Collegedale, Tennessee, in 1994 and received his masters in entomology and plant pathology in 1997 at the University of Tennessee. Greg was accepted into the Plants, Soils, and Insects Ph.D. program through the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology at the University of Tennessee in 2004 and is studying the potential non-target impacts of Rhinocyllus conicus and Trichosirocalus horridus on native Cirsium thistles under Jerome Grant. Additionally, he is using GIS to predict suitable habitats for native and introduced thistles to identify where native non-target feeding may occur. Greg has authored or co-authored six refereed publications, 10 non-refereed publications, and has given more than 40 oral and poster presentations at various professional conferences. Greg has served at both the branch and national levels on the Student Affairs Committee and is involved in Linnaean Games and outreach activities. In August 2005, he was awarded a Greater Research Opportunities Fellowship (ca. $100,000) from the Environmental Protection Agency.

  • Alejandro Calixto (Southwestern Branch) is currently a Ph.D. student in the Department of Entomology at Texas A&M University. He holds a B.S. in biology and an M.S. in entomology. His research focuses on investigating the role of interspecific competition following application of different management practices on the re-invasion and expansion of the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren) in Texas. He has also studied spider assemblages in pecans (187 species in current database) to understand the role spiders may play in structuring pest/predator populations. These biologically based research efforts combine obtaining an understanding of natural systems and applying the results to inform production agriculture and the general public. He is active at the branch and national levels of ESA, and has more than 12 refereed journal papers.


Contact: Richard Levine
Entomological Society of America

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