A resident of Davis, Judson served as a faculty member of the UC Davis Department of Entomology (now UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology) for 30 years, from 1961 until his retirement in 1991.
"The Department of Entomology and Nematology lost one of its pillars with the passing of Dr. Judson," said Michael Parrella, professor and chair of the department. "Although the department's national and international reputation is based on the work of current faculty, it cannot be denied the prestige of the department can also be attributed to our retired faculty. It sounds cliched, but we are standing on the shoulders of giants and Dr. Judson was one of these. Dr. Judson continued to be an active member of the department -- coming regularly to our seminars and participating in social events. Up until a few years ago, he helped teach our core course in Insect Physiology. Chariie Judson's contributions to the science of entomology and to the department will never be forgotten."
Born Oct 21, 1926 in Lodi, Calif., Charles grew up on a ranch in Riverside, where he developed and nurtured his passion for the outdoors, nature, science and animals. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy during World War II, serving on the USS Wichita.
He received his bachelor of science degree in zoology from UC Santa Barbara in 1950, and his doctorate in entomology from UC Berkeley in 1954. He and his wife, Marilyn, and family moved to Davis in 1958 when he accepted a position with the California Department of Public Health. He joined the UC Davis faculty in 1961 as an insect physiologist professor. He was a 35-year member of the Entomological Society of America.
“Our family quickly learned not to be afraid of insects, but to respect them in our environment,” recalled Jan. “We don't squish most bugs, but put them outside.”
“Charles enjoyed his work as a researcher and student advisor and often would invite students to his home, maintaining lifelong relationships,” Marilyn said.
Professor Judson launched the career of many PhD students; he inspired them to better understand insect behavior by investigating insect physiological control mechanisms
Emeritus entomology professor Robert Washino, former department chair and former associate dean, UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, recalled that “Charles Judson was one of the newcomers who among others--Professors Norman Gary, George McClelland, Donald McLean-- joined the department in the early sixties and introduced greater emphases on physiology and behavior into the teaching and research program that previously stressed taxonomy and regulatory entomology.”
“Charles was one of the first faculty members in the department to be awarded a National Institutes of Health grant for his work on mosquito egg physiology,” Washino said. “I believe Charlie's calm and deliberate manner of successfully carrying out his teaching, research and public service made him a most valuable member of the department. One of Charlie's most productive graduate students, Henry Hagedorn, went on to make major contributions in mosquito reproductive physiology at the University of Arizona at Tucson.”
Many of Professor Judson's colleagues praised him as an excellent scientist and wonderful friend. Said distinguished professor of entomology James R. Carey: "Charlie Judson radiated graciousness, trust and respect, and personified everything good in a university scientist, mentor, and teacher. He not only helped shape our department in its early days, but also set a very high bar for personal decency and professional integrity. Colleagues like Charlie are hard to find, difficult to lose, and impossible to forget."
Albert Grigarick, UC Davis emeritus professor of entomology, said “Charlie was a friend, colleague, and neighbor for nearly 50 years. He was always willing to help you in your academic endeavors or backyard projects. He will be missed by the many students that sought his scientific knowledge and friendly advice.”
Former graduate student Tom Batchelor. who focused his research on the nature of physiological lesions in insects caused by radiation, was Professor Judson's last graduate student. “Gaining control of mosquitoes to reduce their impact on human health has been at the heart of many research programs for decades,” said Batchelor, who now lives in New Zealand. “Professor Judson's research contributed to a better understanding of specific aspects of their feeding and oviposition behavior, and the physiological control mechanisms underpinning this behavior.”
Throughout his academic career, Professor Judson focused his research on the stimuli that caused mosquito eggs to hatch. “Using the eggs of Aedes aegypti and A. nicromaculis, he found that mosquito eggs in water under low oxygen conditions hatched readily,” Batchelor said. “Just the act of decreasing the oxygen concentration, and not just a low oxygen concentration itself, proved to be a powerful hatching stimulus. He also examined the ability of various compounds to penetrate the egg of the mosquito, since mosquito eggs are rather impermeable to water and several chemicals. His research on the ovicidal qualities of these compounds led to further research on better ways to control mosquitoes at the egg stage.”
Another aspect of his research explored the physiological basis underlying a mated female's predisposition to oviposit. Professor Judson showed oviposition was stimulated by a “biochemical signal” emitted by the accessory gland of the male mosquito, Batchelor pointed out. “Virgin females tend to retain their eggs and not oviposit, but they will oviposit if a male accessory gland is implanted into them. Similarly, Professor Judson showed that mosquito biting behavior coincided with the terminal phases of each egg cycle, and that fewer mated females fed at these times than virgin females.”
As an aside, Batchelor said he sometimes saw Professor Judson feeding his laboratory mosquitoes by putting his whole arm in their cage—“when the hamster was having a day off.” Professor Judson commented that feeding the mosquitoes this way was not putting his health at risk, “but rather the health of the mosquitoes exposed to low levels of nicotine and alcohol residues in his blood!” Batchelor recalled.
Entomologist Fran Keller, who served as Professor Judson's teaching assistant for his insect physiology class while working toward her doctorate in entomology, recalled that “Charlie was always happy to see students. At the Department of Entomology's barbecues, I remember how he would make the rounds and make sure he talked with all the students. My interactions with him as a TA for insect physiology were always informative, relaxed and positive. He enjoyed teaching and sharing his knowledge with students. He was a thoughtful, caring and compassionate mentor.”
“Charlie also served on my oral exam committee,” Keller said. “He had a way of confronting you with questions that made you think. As a mentor, that is what you are supposed to do. As a physiologist he asked me, ‘Why do you want to work so hard on beetles doing a revision when somebody is just going to come along and change it all around in 50 years? You taxonomists always seem to be changing names,' and as a taxonomist I answered, ‘Well, if I do it correctly, then changes will be made when there are new discoveries, so I am providing a foundation for future work.' And he replied, 'Okay that makes sense.' He wanted students to think about their future and what they were doing. To say Charlie was concerned for and kind to his students would be an understatement. I am very saddened by his passing and I will miss his presence as a friend and mentor.”
In addition to his teaching and research, Professor Judson was actively involved in the community, working with Habitat for Humanity, Yolo County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), Yolo County Grand Jury, Yolo Family Service Agency, Sierra Club, Short-Term Emergency Aid Committee (STEAC), Senor Learning Unlimited and All Things Right and Relevant.
His other interests included politics, gardening, photography, woodworking and the building of wooden boats. He and his family spent many hours on Loon Lake, the Sierras, in his hand-built vessels, including kayaks, canoes and dinghies. His involvement with the Traditional Small Craft Association, his family said, “led to wonderful friendships, as well as involvement in Seeds of Learning, through which he spent several summers in El Salvador.”
His parents met on the UC Davis campus when both were students at UC Berkeley and were required to spend a year at “The Farm” because of their major. His father help plant the black walnuts on Russell Boulevard.
At his request, no memorial service will be held. The family will gather during the holidays to scatter his ashes in Monterey Dunes, sharing fond memories of beachcombing, digging holes in the sand, and just being together as a close-knit family.
Professor Judson was a strong believer in “walking the walk” by acting on his integrity and beliefs, his family said. In lieu of flowers, he would ask that people “pay it forward” by reaching out to another person or group.
Smith, who curates the 400,000 butterfly and moth collection at the Bohart Museum, will be honored Friday, Oct. 2 at the college's Award of Distinction ceremony in the UC Davis Activities and Recreation Center (ARC) Pavilion.
“Alumni, students, staff and faculty will gather to celebrate the contributions made by our college,” said coordinator Carolyn Cloud. “This year the college will present the Award of Distinction to seven outstanding individuals who have made significant contributions to our college's success.”
The other 2015 recipients are Jacqueline Beckley, Chuck Nichols and Tony Smith, alumni awards; Chris van Kessel, faculty; David Ginsburg, staff, and John Meyer, friend. The ceremony begins at 5:30 and will be followed by a reception and farmers' market from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. See http://collegecelebration.ucdavis.edu.
Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and UC Davis professor of entomology, nominated Smith for the award. “You could not ask for a better friend than Jeff Smith,” she said, noting that he has “brought us international acclaim and saved us $160,000 through donations of specimens and materials, identification skills and his professional woodworking skills. This does not include the thousands of hours he has donated in outreach programs that draw attention to the museum, the college and the university.”
Kimsey, who has directed the museum since 1989, remembers when Smith joined the museum. “When Jeff was working for Univar Environmental Services, a 35-year career until his retirement in 2013, he would spend some of his vacation days at the museum. Over the years Jeff took over more and more of the curation of the butterfly and moth collection. He took home literally thousands of field pinned specimens and spread their wings at home, bringing them back to the museum perfectly mounted. To date he has spread the wings on more than 200,000 butterflies and moths. This translates into something like 33,000 hours of work!”
Kimsey praised Smith for completely reorganizing the butterfly and moth collection. “It's no small feat to rearrange this many specimens, housed in roughly one thousand drawers,” she said. “Many thousands of the specimens needed to be identified, and the taxonomy required extensive updating and reorganization.”
“As if this weren't enough, Jeff has made many other contributions to the museum. He donated his brother's collection and library when his brother died unexpectedly. He and his wife have made financial contributions towards the museum's endowment, and he donates other materials and specimens he collects on various collecting trips in the U.S. and overseas.”
Lauding Smith's “phenomenal knowledge of urban insect and spiders,” Kimsey said: “We often go to him with questions we get from the public and from colleagues. He volunteers for our weekend open houses as often as he can, as well as the UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Day in February and UC Davis Picnic Day in April. Few volunteers, faculty, students or staff work as well with the public as Jeff does. He has a wonderfully engaging way of talking to children and adults, and he knows just how to inspire and educate every age group. It's awesome to watch.”
“Overall, Jeff has made major contributions to the Bohart Museum of Entomology, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and UC Davis in his work with the museum collections and his tremendous public outreach and education efforts,” Kimsey concluded. “For him it's a labor of love, for us he's the best thing that ever happened.”
Smith, a resident of Rocklin, is not only a Bohart associate but a member of the Bohart Museum Society and the Lepidopterists' Society. Of his work, he puts it this way: “Entomology is my passion and the Bohart Museum is my cause.”
The Bohart Museum houses a global collection of nearly eight million specimens. It is also the home of the seventh largest insect collection in North America, and the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of the insect biodiversity. Noted entomologist Richard M. Bohart (1913-2007) founded the museum.
Special attractions include a “live” petting zoo, featuring Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and tarantulas. Visitors are invited to hold the insects and photograph them. The museum's gift shop, open year around, includes T-shirts, sweatshirts, books, jewelry, posters, insect-collecting equipment and insect-themed candy.
The Bohart Museum's regular hours are from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. The museum is closed to the public on Fridays and on major holidays. Admission is free. Open houses, focusing on specific themes, are held on weekends throughout the academic year.
More information on the Bohart Museum is available by contacting (530) 752-0493 or Tabatha Yang, education and public outreach coordinator at email@example.com
That's the topic of a special conference--open to the public –set from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 9 at the UC Davis Conference Center, 550 Alumni Lane. UC Davis researchers and state officials will address the crowd, announced conference coordinator Dave Fujino, director of the UC Davis-based California Center for Urban Horticulture.
“We are pleased to have such a knowledgeable lineup of UC Davis researchers who will clarify the issue of impact of neonicotinoid impacts on pollinators by summarizing and presenting the past and current science-based research,” Fujino said. “We are also fortunate to have additional presentations on the regulation guidelines on neonicotinoids and their role in controlling invasive pests in California, and a diverse group of stakeholders participating in a panel discussion on the neonicotinoid issue.”
Neonicotinoids, recently implicated in the worldwide die-off of pollinators, including honey bees, are a class of neuro-active insecticides chemically similar to nicotine. Considered important in the control of many significant agricultural and veterinary pests, they target the central nervous system of insects, resulting in paralysis and death. “Neonics,” as they're called, are commonly used on farms, and around homes, schools, and city landscapes.
Michael Parrella, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, will provide an overview of the current use of neonicotinoids and the role of honey bees in California agriculture. Six other speakers are scheduled, along with a panel discussion.
The speakers include:
- Brian Leahy, director of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, who will discuss “California Pesticide Regulation of Neonicotinoids”
- Nick Condos, director of the Plant Health and Pest Prevention Services Division, California Department of Food and Agriculture, “Neonicotinoid Risks Associated with Invasive Species Management”
- Karen Jetter, associate project economist, UC Agricultural Issues Center, “Trends in Neonicotinoid Usage in California Agriculture and the Control of Invasive Species”
- Margaret “Rei” Scampavia, a doctoral candidate who studies with major professors Neal Williams and Ed Lewis of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, “Past Neonicotinoid and Bee Research”
- Elina Lastro Niño, Extension apiculturist based at the Harry H. Laidlaw Honey Bee Research Facility, UC Davis, “Current Neonicotinoid and Bee Research.”
The California Center for Urban Horticulture (CCUH) will co-host the event with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Sponsors include California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers (CANGC), a trade organization founded in 1911 to promote and protect the California nursery industry; Four Winds Growers, based in Winters, Calif.; Scotts Miracle-Gro, a company headquartered in Marysville, Ohio, and known as the world's largest marketer of branded consumer lawn and garden products; and Monrovia, a horticultural craftsmen company headquartered in Azusa, Calif.
At the close of the conference, Fujino will preside over a panel discussion on neonicotinoid issues and concerns. Questions and answers from the audience will follow. The panel is to include a UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor, and representatives from the California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers, Home Depot, Scotts Miracle-Gro, Bayer CropScience and the American Beekeeping Federation.
The registration fee of $50 will include lunch, as well as the post-conference social hour. To register, access the CCHU website at http://ccuh.ucdavis.edu/public/copy_of_public/neonicotinoid-pollinator-conference-2015/neonic or contact CCUH representative Kate Lincoln at firstname.lastname@example.org or (530) 752-6642.
The European Union recently adopted a proposal to restrict the use of three pesticides belonging to the neonicotinoid family (clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiametoxam) for a period of two years. In addition, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that by January 2016, it will ban the use of seeds treated with neonicotinoid pesticides and the use of crops improved through biotechnology throughout the 150 million acres managed by the National Wildlife Refuge System.
So says ecologist Richard Karban, professor of entomology in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, in his newly published book, Plant Sensing and Communication (University of Chicago Press).
The 240-page book is a “landmark in its field,” said Graeme Ruxton of the University of St. Andrews, UK, co-author of Experimental Design for the Life Sciences and Plant-Animal Communication.
The book is “the first comprehensive overview of what is known about how plants perceive their environments, communicate those perceptions, and learn,” according to the publisher. “Facing many of the same challenges as animals, plants have developed many similar capabilities: they sense light, chemicals, mechanical stimulation, temperature, electricity, and sound. Moreover, prior experiences have lasting impacts on sensitivity and response to cues; plants, in essence, have memory."
Added the publisher: “Nor are their senses limited to the processes of an individual plant: plants eavesdrop on the cues and behaviors of neighbors and—for example, through flowers and fruits—exchange information with other types of organisms. Far from inanimate organisms limited by their stationary existence, plants, this book makes unquestionably clear, are in constant and lively discourse.”
What are 10 things to know about plant sensing and communication? According to Karban:
- Plants sense their environments and respond.
- Although they lack central nervous systems, they process information and appear to "behave intelligently."
- They sense the position of competitors and "forage" for light.
- They sense the availability of water and nutrients in the soil and "forage" for these resources.
- Their decisions are influenced by past experiences, akin to memory.
- The respond to reliable cues that predict future events, allowing them to "anticipate."
- Plants respond differently to cues that they themselves produce, allowing them to distinguish self from non-self.
- They respond differently to close relatives and strangers.
- Plants that are prevented from sensing or responding experience reduced fitness.
- By understanding the "language" of plant responses, we can grow healthier and more productive plants.
Karban has researched plant communication in sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) on the east side of the Sierra since 1995. His groundbreaking research on plant communication among kin, published in February 2013 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, drew international attention. In that study, Karban and his co-researchers found that kin have distinct advantages when it comes to plant communication, just as “the ability of many animals to recognize kin has allowed them to evolve diverse cooperative behaviors.”
“Plants responded more effectively to volatile cues from close relatives than from distant relatives in all four experiments and communication reduced levels of leaf damage experienced over the three growing seasons,” they wrote.
In other words, if you're a sagebrush and your nearby kin is being eaten by a grasshopper, deer, jackrabbit, caterpillar or other predator, communication is more effective if you're closely related. Through volatile cues, your kin will inform you of the danger so you can adjust your defenses.
Karban likened this kind of plant communication to eavesdropping.” Plants “hear” the volatile cues of their neighbors as predators damage them.
The most basic form of communication? When a plant is being shaded, it senses the diminished light quality caused by a competitor and responds by moving away, Karban says.
“Plants are smart,” wrote Adrian Barnett of New Scientist in reviewing the book. “But to notice we have to overcome our ingrained cultural biases. . . . Clearly, we will never play chess with a rose, nor ask the orchid on our windowsill for advice. But that is the point: humans are guilty of serious parochialism, of defining intelligence in terms of a nervous system and muscle-based speed that enables things to be done fast…Plants are highly responsive, attuned to gravity, grains of sand, sunlight, starlight, the footfalls of tiny insects, and to slow rhythms outside our range. They are subtle, aware, strategic beings whose lives involve an environmental sensitivity very distant from the simple flower and seed factories of popular imagination.”
Barnett praised Karban's book as a “timely, highly accessible summary of fast-developing fields.”
Karban is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and has published more than 100 journal articles and now, three books.
Karban is featured in the Dec. 23-30, 2013 edition of The New Yorker in Michael Pollan's piece, “The Intelligent Plant: Scientists Debate a New Way of Understanding Plants."
F1000 Faculty member John Imig of the Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, recommended the research, “Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress in the Peripheral Nervous System Is a Significant Driver of Neuropathic Pain," published July 6 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
F1000 is a continually updated collection of more than 145,000 recommendations of top articles in biology and medicine. F1000, updated daily by the F1000 Faculty, covers more than 3700 peer-reviewed journals.
Wrote Imig, of F1000 Physiology: “This scientific study provides convincing evidence for a novel concept as to what causes neuropathic pain. Cellular endoplasmic reticulum stress, ‘ER stress,' has been implicated in diabetes and findings in this scientific study now implicate ER stress in neuropathic pain. This group of investigators previously found that drugs that target ER stress reduce symptoms of diabetes. Interestingly, this scientific study provides exciting data clearly demonstrating that molecular chaperones and soluble epoxide hydrolase inhibitors reduce ER stress and neuropathic pain in a synergistic manner. This provides a new opportunity for developing innovative single molecule or combination therapeutics for neuropathic pain.”
In the groundbreaking research estimated to affect millions of patients globally, the UC Davis scientists found that a biological process, termed ER stress, is the significant driver of neuropathic pain. Lead researchers Bora Inceoglu of the Hammock lab UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology/UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Ahmed Bettaieb of the Fawaz Haj lab, Department of Nutrition, pinpointed the key mechanism that causes neuropathic pain--a complex, chronic and difficult-to-treat pain caused by nerve injuries from trauma or from such diseases as diabetes, shingles, multiple sclerosis and stroke.
The research should ignite the discovery of a new generation of therapeutics, paving the way for more efficient and effective ways to alleviate neuropathic pain, the researchers said.
“This is a fundamental discovery that opens new ways to control chronic pain,” said corresponding author and senior researcher Hammock, a distinguished professor of entomology who holds a joint appointment with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, and the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center.
“We can now specifically search for agents to control ER stress and its downstream pathways,” said Hammock. “This search is already underway in a number of laboratories working on cancer and other diseases.”
In the study, “Ahmed demonstrated key molecular signatures associated with diabetes and diabetic pain indicative of ER stress,” said Fawaz Haj, a senior author and corresponding author. The Haj laboratory studies the molecular basis of metabolic diseases, mainly obesity and type 2 diabetes.
“Diabetic neuropathy is a common consequence of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes which affects 60 to 70 percent of the diabetic patients,” said Ahmed Bettaieb, who has just accepted a position as assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition, University of Tennessee-Knoxville.”
Inceoglu showed that neuropathic pain could be initiated by diverse compounds that cause ER stress and reversed by agents that block it.
Holly Caster, editor of PAINWeek, interviewed Hammock July 10 and published a Q&A in a piece titled "Pain Reporter: The Professor and the Science Behind the Potential Management of Neuropathic Pain."
Hammock pointed out that his research "started as very fundamental research in developmental biology using insects as models. We found that the soluble epoxide hydrolase is highly conserved in evolution and asked its role in man and other mammals. We first found that inhibitors of the enzyme stabilize natural anti hypertensive compounds called EETs and reduced blood pressure. We then found that they reduced inflammation and inflammatory pain. We tried neuropathic pain as an indication because it is so difficult to treat and were surprised to find that the sEH inhibitor worked far better than drugs like gabapentin and Lyrica currently sold for neuropathic pain. I have attached a comparison. Having failed to interest large pharma companies in this biology we started a small company EicOsis to move the inhibitors to the clinic for treating pain in both companion animals and man. "
The research, Hammock noted, was initially done on rodents. "The fact that the compounds work in a variety of species builds confidence. It argues that with regard to neuropathic pain, different species are similar (dog, horse, man, rat, etc.)," he told her.