- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
This year's recipient is Marc Tatar, an authority on the aging of insects.
Tatar, a professor in the Division of Biology and Medicine at Brown State University, Providence, R.I., will speak on “Integrated Control of Drosophila Aging by Insulin/IGF (Insulin-Like Growth Factor) Signaling” at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 5 in Ballroom A of the Activities and Recreation Center (ARC), UC Davis campus. Prior to the presentation, a wine and cheese reception will take place from 5 to 6 p.m. outside of Ballroom A.
The event is open to all interested persons, said James R. Carey, UC Davis professor of entomology, who will introduce his former student. The presentation will be recorded for later posting on the UCTV seminars.
Tatar has studied the demography, evolution and genetics of aging working with a variety of insect systems to explore the regulation and basic mechanisms of life history traits and senescence. The current work in the Tatar laboratory focuses on genetic analysis of Drosophila to understand how insulin/IGF signals and lipid hormones regulate aging, and how these endocrine signals interact with nutrition.
Tatar received his doctorate in ecology from UC Davis in 1994 while with the Graduate Group in Ecology, working in James Carey's laboratory. Tatar obtained his bachelor’s degree in biology in 1980 from Earlham College, Richmond, Ind., and went on to receive his master’s degree in zoology from UC Davis in 1984. He completed postdoctoral research in genetics at the University of Minnesota, St. Paul before joining the Brown University faculty in 1997. He was promoted to professor in 2007.
While at UC Davis, Tatar was the 1994 recipient of the Merton Love Award for his Outstanding Dissertation in Ecology and Evolution. He is an Ellison Senior Scholar, founding joint editor-in-chief of the journal Aging Cell, and a past member of the Board of Review Editors for Science.
The Leigh seminar memorializes cotton entomologist Thomas Frances Leigh (1923-1993), an international authority on the biology, ecology and management of arthropod pests affecting cotton production. During his 37-year UC Davis career, Leigh was based at the Shafter Research and Extension Center, also known as the U.S. Cotton Research Station. He researched pest and beneficial arthropod management in cotton fields, and host plant resistance in cotton to insects, mites, nematodes and diseases.
Leigh, who joined the UC Davis Department of Entomology in 1958, retired in 1991 as an emeritus professor, but he continued to remain active in his research and collaboration until his death on Oct. 26, 1993.
At Shafter, Leigh focused his research on the biology, ecology, host plant resistance, control and management of insects and spider mites on cotton. He stood at the forefront of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) of cotton pests, according to an article in the summer 1994 edition of American Entomologist. He taught courses on cotton IPM and host plant resistance.
In his memory, his family and associates set up the Leigh Distinguished Alumni Seminar Entomology Fund at the UC Davis Department of Entomology. When his wife, Nina, died in 2002, the alumni seminar became known as the Thomas and Nina Distinguished Alumni Seminar.
Thanks to the Leigh family, outstanding UC Davis alumni return to campus to share their accomplishments.