They go together like superman (Clark Kent) and supervillian (Lex Luthor). Or like Coccinellidae (lady beetles) and Aphididae (aphids).
Fact is, IPM specialist Frank Zalom, a distinguished professor of entomology and Extension entomologist at the University of California, Davis, targets pests. He solves pest problems the IPM way--using effective, biologically based pest management approaches.
Over the last four decades, he has honed an incredible career. Absolutely incredible.
And now he's receiving a well-deserved lifetime achievement award at the Ninth International IPM Symposium March 19-22 in Baltimore.
“Dr. Zalom continues to advance the science and implementation of IPM,” said Steve Nadler, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. “His integrity, service and respect for all are legendary.”
At the Baltimore seminar, Zalom will deliver a presentation on “The ‘I' in IPM: Reflections on the International IPM Symposium and Evolution of the IPM Paradigm.” He will reflect on his 16 years co-chairing the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities' National IPM Committee, the committee that launched the symposia. Zalom also played a role in organizing the first four IPM Symposia.
In addition, Zalom and fellow members of the UC European Grapevine Moth Team will receive an award of excellence for contributing to eradication of the pest in 2016--only six years after its discovery in California vineyards.
The only other lifetime achievement award recipient this year also has a UC connection: Peter Goodell, UC IPM advisor emeritus, affiliated with the Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center. And a longtime friend and colleague of Frank Zalom.
Zalom, who holds a doctorate in entomology from UC Davis, teaches arthropod pest management, targets pests using IPM methods, and develops major agricultural IPM programs for California's specialty crops.
Zalom is a past president of the 7000-member Entomological Society of America; co-founder of the International IPM symposia; and for 16 years, directed the University of California Statewide IPM Program, considered “the gold standard” of IPM programs.
Zalom's 16 years at the helm of the UC IPM program set the standard, nationally and globally, for subsequent IPM programs. He established a statewide, interdisciplinary IPM team of Cooperative Extension farm advisors, and oversaw development of the website's online degree-day tool, and the database of degree-day models that remains widely used by California's county-based extension staff and crop consultants.
“Advancing the science and implementation of IPM will reduce the impact of pests and pest control on agriculture and the environment,” Zalom said. “This is critical in California, where we grow more than a third of our nation's vegetables and two-thirds of our nation's fruits and nuts. California agriculture is a $42.6 billion industry that generates at least $100 billion in related economic industry.”
The Zalom laboratory has helped establish biologically based IPM programs for arthropod pests of California tree, vine, small fruit and vegetable crops valued at over $19 billion. The lab has addressed 17 invasive species introductions, among them southern green stink bug, silverleaf whitefly, glassy-winged sharpshooter, olive fly, invasive saltcedar, light brown apple moth, spotted wing drosophila, and most recently European grape vine moth, brown marmorated stink bug and bagrada bug. Specific programs have reduced insecticide use and pesticide runoff into surface waters, and resulted in more effective management of several key and invasive pests of specialty crops.
Zalom interacts broadly with research colleagues, extension educators, growers, consultants, environmental groups, and public agency personnel throughout the state, nation and world to advance the science and use of IPM. He has served on scores of national ad hoc committees of agencies and organizations that shaped IPM policy and directions. He was recently appointed to a new Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) task force that will produce a white paper on behalf of the organization on Integrated Pest Management. He previously served on the task force for the CAST Issue Paper, “Feasibility of Prescription Pesticide Use in the United States."
Zalom's professional goals are four-fold (1) to solve pest problems using effective, biologically based pest management approaches; (2) to provide IPM leadership at the regional, state, national and international levels, (3) to maintain a vigorous cutting edge research program in entomology, especially related to IPM and invasive species; and (4) to educate a new generation of IPM practitioners through effective undergraduate teaching and graduate student mentoring.
Zalom has pursued his goals through a combination of fundamental studies related to pest biology, physiology, and community ecology; problem-focused, hypothesis-driven management research; and community-oriented extension efforts. “I focus my research on exploiting weaknesses in the biology of a pest species and its niche in the agroecosystem or the broader landscape,” Zalom said.
Among his many accomplishments:
- Appointed the first Editorial Board chair of ESA's new Journal of Integrated Pest Management.
- Founding member of the steering committee for the USDA-NIFA Pest Management Information Platform for Extension (ipmPIPE), an effort intended to assess risk of disease and insect outbreaks.
- Co-principal investigator of the USDA grant for $3.49 million that originally funded the Western IPM Center, located at UC Davis
- Numerous leadership roles in the Entomological Society of America (ESA), including president in 2014, member of ESA's presidential line for four years and Governing Board member for four years. He also served as the president of the Entomological Foundation and first chair of ESA's new Science Policy Committee.
- Author of more than 350 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and books, and has served as major professor for 12 Ph.D. students and seven master's students.
- Recipient of multiple awards at UC Davis including one for his outstanding mentoring, of women graduate students and post-doctoral scholars.
- Co-chair of the International Entomology Leadership Summit in 2016 in Orlando,Fla.
Zalom is a fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, Entomological Society of America, American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Royal Entomological Society (London). Previous IPM awards include the Entomological Foundation's IPM Team Award and Excellence in IPM Award, and the Perry Adkisson Distinguished Speaker Award from Texas A&M University. He is the only entomologist to be awarded the BY Morrison Memorial Medal for horticultural research, presented by the Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the American Society for Horticultural Science.
Zalom, who joined the UC Davis faculty in 1980, shortly after receiving his doctorate of entomology in 1978, earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees in zoology and ecology from Arizona State University, Tempe.
Now it's off to Baltimore to receive a well-deserved honor. Congratulations, Frank Zalom, champion of IPM!
The unique symposium, the work of chemical ecologist Walter Leal, professor in the UC Davis Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology and his 18 biochemistry students, drew an attentive crowd and scores of questions about the mosquito-borne virus, which is primarily transmitted by the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti.
In pregnant women, the Zika virus can cause fetal microcephaly and other severe brain anomalies, as well as a number of other medical issues. In adults, it can be sexually transmitted and can cause Guillain–Barré syndrome, a disorder of the immune system that damages the peripheral nervous system.
“I am certain that every person in attendance, either online or in Giedt Hall, whether specialist or not, knows more about Zika now then when the symposium started,” Leal said. “Mission accomplished! Those who did not attend and/or think that my statement is exaggerated or not accurate should go watch the recorded version of the symposium at https://video.ucdavis.edu/media/Zika+Virus+Public+Awareness+Symposium/0_n3aupf5c.”
“The highlight of the symposium, however, was the level of participation of the students," said Leal, a fellow of the Entomological Society of America and co-chair of the International Congress of Entomology meeting, set Sept. 25-30 in Orlando, Fla. "Clearly, new teaching approaches lead to students' engagement. This was an experiment that worked.”
A native of Brazil, Leal is a noted mosquito researcher (his lab discovered the secret mode of DEET) who collaborates with colleagues in Brazil. He recently participated in the international Zika scientific conference there.
What prompted the symposium? Leal and the 18 students decided that a scientific symposium would generate increased public awareness about the growing threat. They brought in speakers from the Brazilian frontlines (through Skype) and a Colorado State University researcher who contracted the Zika virus in Senegal and transmitted it to his wife. He was the first to discover that the virus is transmitted sexually.
The 18 students excelled, drawing praise from attendees and participants alike. In an email to Leal, James Carey, distinguished professor of entomology, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, wrote: "All were poised, confident, well prepared and articulate. You should be given a lot of credit for this creative outcome of your teaching efforts."
Symposium speakers included:
"The Zika Epidemic – An Overview"
Professor Walter S. Leal
UC Davis Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology
"Congenital Zika Syndrome"
Dr. Regina Coeli Ramos, University of Pernambuco, Brazil (remote)
"Zika Virus and Me"
Professor Brian Foy (remote)
Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology, Colorado State University
Zika Virus: Looking into Mosquitoes' Vectorial Capacity
Professor Constância F. J. Ayres
Department of Entomology, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz-Pernambuco, Brazil (remote)
"Don't Let Mosquitoes Bug You with Zika – Repel Them"
Professor Walter S. Leal
UC Davis Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology
"DEET vs. Zika – I Would Go with the Former"
Dr. Emanual Maverakis
Department of Dermatology, UC Davis School of Medicine
"Keeping Mosquito at Bay, Not in Your Backyard"
Dr. Paula Macedo
Laboratory Director, Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito & Vector Control District
"Friends Don't Let Friends Get Zika"
Dr. Stuart H. Cohen
Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and director of Hospital Epidemiology and Infection Control, UC Davis Medical School.
Some key points from the symposium
- Most people who contract Zika do not exhibit any symptoms whatsoever
- Zika virus is sexually transmitted; if you contract Zika, you can transmit it to your sexual partner.
- The mosquito, Aedes aegypti, is already in California, including the Clovis area and Palo Alto area
- Nearly 600 cases of Zika have already been reported in the United States, mostly in New York, Florida and California. Each case involved a U.S. traveler from a Zika virus "hot spot"
- Zika can persist up to 62 days in human semen
- Laboratory tests show that the common mosquito, Culex, can vector the virus and field tests are underway. Culex transmits West Nile Virus, Japanese encephalitis, and equine encephalitis.
- The two mosquitoes have varying feeding and breeding patterns: Culex feeds at night; and Aedes aegypti in the day, while Culex lays its eggs in polluted water, and Aedes aegypti in clean/clear water
- Culex quinquefasciatus, the southern house mosquito, is a potential vector; it has similar vector competence, and is much more abundant
The Zika virus was first isolated in 1947, in a rhesus monkey in a forest near Entebbe, Uganda. Brazil reported a human outbreak in early 2015. The virus is now spreading to other parts of South, Central and North America. The World Health Organization says the virus is likely to spread throughout most of the Americas by the end of the year. It is advising that people returning from known Zika outbreak areas to follow safe sex practices or abstain from sex for at least eight weeks.
He's an entomologist, trained to find ways to control insect pests, but now he aims to help humans with medical issues, including diabetes, high blood pressure and depression.
Bruce Hammock, distinguished professor of entomology at UC Davis, has just received the international John C. McGiff Memorial Award for his pioneering contributions to eicosanoid research.
The average person on the street probably has no clue what eicosanoids are. Well, as Hammock explains: "Eicosanoids are a particular class of fats that, rather than being nutritional or structural, are regulatory. They regulate blood pressure, childbirth, pain, inflammation, tissue repair and other biologies. By mass, more than 75 percent of the world's medications work on the eicosanoid pathway. These include such familiar drugs as aspirin, Advil, Ibuprofin and Motrin."
Hammock, who holds a joint appointment with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, received the award during the International Winder Eicosanoid (WEC) Conference, March 13-16 in Baltimore, Md. He delivered the McGiff Memorial Lecture on “Epoxide Hydrolase Inhibitors as Biochemical Probes and Drug Candidates.”
“The current drugs that alter the eicosanoid pathways block the formation of drugs that block natural fats that increase hypertension, increase pain and increase inflammation,” Hammock explained. “We have been working on a third branch of the pathway that reduces blood pressure, inflammation and pain. By blocking the degradation of these natural molecules we block harmful biologies. These new drugs are promising for control of diabetes, hypertension and other diseases. We are working to move some of these compounds that work outside of the brain to the clinic for both man and companion animals to control inflammatory and chronic pain.”
"However, we found that some of our compounds reach the brain where they can reduce complications from stroke and convulsions, including those from epilepsy. Based on these brain-penetrating compounds, Kenji Hashimoto's lab at the Chiba University Center for Forensic Mental Health, Japan, found that they are promising for depression, bipolar disorders and some other central nervous system effects. These compounds have proven valuable to numerous investigators to understand disease biology and are being followed by several drug companies.”
Using the newly discovered chemical in the Hammock lab, the UC Davis and Hashimoto researchers drew international attention on March 14 for their publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The result could be a new, innovative tool to control depression, a severe and chronic disease that affects 350 million persons worldwide, they said.
“The research in animal models of depression suggests that sEH plays a key role in modulating inflammation, which is involved in depression,” according to the UC Davis-issued news release. “Inhibitors of sEH protect natural lipids in the brain that reduce inflammation, and neuropathic pain. Thus, these inhibitors could be potential therapeutic drugs for depression.”
WEC is a group of scientists who have high standards of research, but freely collaborate and exchange reagents and ideas. It represents science at its best. "Never would we have made the advances we have at Davis without this friendship and collaboration of scientists from around the world,” Hammock said. This year's conference drew 150 scientists.
Bruce Hammock, who received his doctorate in entomology/toxicology from UC Berkeley in 1973, joined the UC Davis entomology faculty in 1980. With Sarjeet Gill (now at UC Riverside) he discovered that the enzyme, soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH), degrades fatty acid epoxides and plays an important role in human diseases. He and his lab have developed inhibitors of sEH that are anti-inflammatory, anti-hypertensive, analgesic and organ-protective. Recently he founded the company, Eicosis LLC, to target diabetic neuropathic pain. The company just received two large federal grants for translational drug development and aims to move one of the sEH inhibitors to human clinical trials.
The Hammock lab is the 30-year home of the UC Davis/NIEHS Superfund Research and Training Program, an interdisciplinary program funded by the National Institute of Environmental Sciences (NIEHS) that has brought in almost $60 million to the UC Davis campus. The Hammock lab is also the home of the NIH Training Grant in Biomolecular Technology. The lab alumni, totaling more than 100 graduates, hold positions of distinction in academia, industry and government as well as over 300 postdoctorals.
The UC Davis distinguished professor has authored or co-authored more than 1020 peer-reviewed publications, many in top journals. This includes 500 related to epoxide hydrolase, 80 related to esterase and amidase, more than 260 related to immunoassay, and 240 related to insect biology.
Hammock is a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI), which honors academic invention and encourages translations of inventions to benefit society. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the recipient of numerous other awards, including major teaching awards at UC Davis.
And yes, he's an entomologist. He's a fellow of the Entomological Society of America (ESA) and recipient of the ESA's Recognition Award for Insect Physiology, Biochemistry and Toxicology.
Bruce Hammock: from six-legged insect pests to two-legged Homo sapiens.
Insects populate the earth and they're also populating the 140th annual Dixon May Fair (May7-10).
Sharon Payne, superintendent of the Youth Building in Denverton Hall, noticed quite a few insects in the building--but in photographs. The youths' images included praying mantids, lady beetles and a Gulf Fritillary butterfly. Many of the images are from Solano County 4-H'ers.
Payne, a past president of the Solano County 4-H Leaders' Council and active in the Sherwood Forest 4-H Club of Vallejo and Benicia, coordinates the exhibits in the Dixon May Fair's Youth Building with fellow 4-H colleagues Gloria Gonzales and Julianna Payne.
Julianna served as a Solano County 4-H Ambassador for the 2012-2013 program year. Both Sharon and Julianna, mother and daughter, are master trainers in the 4-H THRIVE program, a leadership development project.
And over at Madden Hall, the almond and walnut industries have come to life, in keeping with the fair theme, "Nuttin' But Fun." Dixon May Fair chief executive officer Patricia "Pat" Conklin came up with the idea of wall-sized photos of almond and walnut orchards and bee pollination. (Wall photos donated by yours truly.)
It's good to see the focus on agricultural industries, the focus on 4-H, and the focus on entomology at California's oldest district fair. The grounds are located at 655 S. First St., Dixon.
And, by the way, of Solano County's 12 4-H clubs, Dixon claims five of them: Maine Prairie, Dixon Ridge, Roving Clovers, Tremont and Wolfskill.
A great agricultural community!
Images of arthropods in the public domain that you can download.
Free. For. All.
Noted insect photographer/entomologist Alex Wild, curator of entomology for the Biodiversity Collections, University of Texas at Austin, has launched the "Insects Unlocked" Project, aiming for $8000 over a month-long campaign.
Wild, who received his doctorate in entomology in 2005 from the University of California, Davis, is a professional insect photographer extraordinaire. And, under his mentorship, a team of students in UT's Insect Image Lab "will learn the art and artistry of digital microphotography while capturing images of Texas's smallest wildlife," he explains. They will "create thousands of beautiful, unique, and informative visual works for release into the public domain. The resulting image collection will be open for anyone to use, free of the constraints of traditional copyright."
"Where can you use Insects Unlocked's images?" he asks. "Anywhere you'd like! Web pages, magazine covers, books, billboards, blogs, t-shirts, scientific papers, apps, social media, coffee mug designs, classroom presentations, Wikipedia, and more. Ours are public works and can be used for anything, including commercialization, without the need for advance permission or even credit."
Today he posted on his Facebook page: "I am pleased to report that the Insects Unlocked project to crowd-fund public domain arthropod images is more than 60% funded, not even a week into a month-long campaign. Your support has been generous and unexpected--thanks so much! To celebrate, over the weekend I created some new public domain images for the project, including this 60 image focus-stack of a Brachygastra mellifica Mexican honey wasp (see below). If you'd like to support more images like this, consider contributing at the link: https://hornraiser.utexas.edu/proj…/54e79bbc14bdf7205ddd5ab7
Basically, donations to the program will support several undergraduate students as they learn the UT imaging system and receive training in scientific imaging, entomology, and outreach. As Wild says, "Donations will also improve our processing computers, add cameras and lighting rigs for field use, and offset the costs of web hosting. Our team will start in the summer of 2015, using the 2015-16 academic cycle as a pilot while we evaluate the feasibility of a long term publicly-funded program."
How many images will be in the public domain? "The amount and type of images we produce is proportional to the level of support we receive," Wild says. "Our image lab is located inside the UT insect collection, and we begin with high-magnification captures of curated material, as well as live field photography at the adjoining Brackenridge Field Laboratory. Should we exceed our funding goal, the Insects Unlocked team may be able to mount expeditions to diverse parts of Texas to photograph and video more live insect behavior in the field.
Wild, who studied with major professor/ant specialist Phil Ward at UC Davis, captures amazing images of insects. His work has been published in scientific journals, books, magazines, and newspapers, including the New York Times, National Geographic and Scientific American. He returned to the UC Davis campus in October 2011 to deliver a presentation on "How to Take Better Insect Photographs." His presentation is the most popular of all the UCTV seminar videos posted by the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. Watch it online.
Wild is enjoying his new position as curator. The collection contains about 500,000 pinned and 500,000 ethanol specimens. "We have one of the world's largest collections of cave arthropods," he said.
Alex Wild appreciates the generosity of the 75 donors (as of today). But he, too, is generous--exceedingly generous!--with his time and talents that will benefit us all.