- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
His appointment, announced earlier this month by Neal Van Alfen, Dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CA&ES), was confirmed by Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef.
“Dr. Parrella is an outstanding administrator, researcher, entomologist and teacher,” said Van Alfen. “He is known worldwide for battling pests of environmental horticulture, and with that same enthusiasm, talent and commitment, he will lead the department over the next five years. He is an inspiring and innovative leader with a strong vision of the future.”
Parrella replaces interim chair Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and professor of entomology. Kimsey, who completed a one-year term July 1, will continue in a leadership role as the department's vice chair.
A member of the UC Davis Department of Entomology faculty since 1989, Parrella chaired the department from 1991-1999 before becoming associate dean, Division of Agricultural Sciences, CA&ES. That appointment ends this year.
“I am excited about coming back to lead the Department of Entomology,” Parrella said. “The department has recently added three exciting new faculty and despite some significant budget challenges that lie ahead of us, I am confident that the department can continue its significant research, teaching and extension/engagement roles that has led to its No. 1 national ranking.”
In addition to his entomology appointment, Parrella holds a joint appointment with the Department of Plant Sciences.
A native of Elizabeth, N.J., Parrella received his bachelor of science degree in animal science in 1974 from Rutgers-State University of Cook College, New Brunswick, N.J., and his master's and doctorate degrees in entomology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va., in 1977 and 1980, respectively. He began his academic career as an assistant professor at UC Riverside in 1980 and was promoted to professor in 1988. In 1989, Dr. Parrella relocated to the UC Davis campus.
Parrella maintains a teaching/research program in entomology and develops integrated pest management (IPM) and biological control strategies for the environmental horticulture industry. He is widely known for his applied research that has advanced IPM and biological control for this industry that includes floriculture crops, nursery and bedding plants and landscape plants in the urban environment.
In demand as a speaker at national and international conferences, he gave the keynote address, ‘Worldwide Development of Sustainable Production Systems in Greenhouses” at the Greensys 2009 Conference, sponsored by the International Society for Horticulture Science last month in Quebec City, Canada.
Parrella has trained more than 30 students and postdoctoral students, many of whom work in floricultural entomology. He is the author of more than 375 publications that are equally split between scientific and trade journals. For 10 years he wrote a monthly column for the trade magazines Greenhouse Grower and GrowerTalks.
The recipient of numerous awards, Parrella was selected a fellow of the 5700-member Entomological Society of America (ESA) in 2008. ESA honors up to 10 fellows annually for their outstanding contributions in entomological research, teaching, extension or administration.Parrella received the Emma Lausten Horticulture Award from Rutgers University in 2007; the Virginia Tech Distinguished Alumni Award in 1998; the Alex Laurie Research Award from the Society of American Florists in 1997; the Futura Research and Education Award from the Professional Plant Growers Association in 1991; Recognition Award from the Entomological Society of America in 1987; and the California Association Research Award in 1986. He is the Yolo County representative to the Sacramento/Yolo County Mosquito Abatement District Board of Trustees.