So could research on a fly--a model organism--help us understand and maybe lead to treatment of schizophrenia and other complex disorders?
Postdoctoral fellow Sergio Hidalgo Sotelo of the UC Davis Department will present an in-person seminar on “Using Drosophila melanogaster to Understand Complex Disorders: Insights on the Pathophysiology of Schizophrenia” on Wednesday, Oct. 20 in 122 Briggs Hall, Kleiber Hall Drive.
Sotelo, a researcher in the laboratory of molecular geneticist and physiologist Joanna Chiu, professor and vice chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, will speak at 4:10 p.m. Plans are to record the seminar for later viewing.
In his abstract, Sotelo relates: “As genome association technologies improve, we have more information regarding the genetic components underlying neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and schizophrenia. Drosophila melanogaster offers a genetically tractable in vivo system that can be used to perform genetic screens and characterization of genes associated with complex disorders. By combining physiological and behavioral analyses, my work aims to understand the molecular mechanism and neuronal networks involved in some of these conditions.”
Untangling the Mechanisms. “Schizophrenia is a condition that is characterized by its debilitating and poorly understood symptoms," he pointed out. "By studying the genetic component of this disorder, we aim to untangle the mechanisms behind those symptoms. This could potentially help us to develop new and more effective treatments. Using a similar approach would give us insights better understanding of others disorders like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.”
Said Professor Chiu: “Sergio's exciting thesis research highlights the value of Drosophila as an animal model to study biological processors. To many, it is probably surprising to hear that this tiny insect is constantly used as an animal model to study complex human diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. In fact, there are quite a number of similarities between fly and human physiological systems, even in the brain.”
According to Wikipedia: "Starting with Charles W. Woodworth's proposal of the use of this species as a model organism, D. melanogaster continues to be widely used for biological research in genetics, physiology, microbial pathogenesis, and life history evolution. As of 2017, five Nobel Prizes have been awarded to drosophilists for their work using the animal."
Sotelo joined the Chiu lab as a postdoctoral fellow in the summer of 2020. “Despite the difficult situation brought on by COVID, Sergio is making significant progress in his research on biological rhythms," Chiu said. "He has brought his expertise in neurogenetics, infused the lab with creative energy, and contributed to the training and growth of younger investigators in the lab. Recently, he was named a Pew Latin American Fellow in the Biomedical Sciences, a prestigious award for a well-deserved scientist.”
A native of Puente Alto, Santiago, Chile, Sotelo is one of 10 post-docs from across Latin America—including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay—to receive two years of funding to conduct research. The fellows work under the mentorship of prominent biomedical scientists, including alumni of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences.
The UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology seminars are held on Wednesdays at 4:10 p.m. and include both in-person and virtual lectures. All in-person seminars are held in 122 Briggs Hall, while the virtual seminars are broadcast on Zoom. For more information, contact seminar coordinator Shahid Siddique, at email@example.com.
De Lange assembled a project team that wrote a research paper on the agricultural use of drones, published last February in the Journal of Economic Entomology (JEE). It went on to win the JEE 2021 Editors' Choice Award and will be recognized at the Entomological Society of America (ESA) meeting, set Oct. 31-Nov. 3 in Denver. ESA announced the awards online.
The paper, “Drones: Innovative Technology for Use in Precision Pest Management,” is the work of first author Fernando lost Filho, a doctoral student in entomology at the University of São Paulo, Brazil, and a former UC Davis exchange student; remote sensing expert Wieke Heldens of the German Aerospace Center, Wessling, Germany; engineer and drone communication expert Zhaodan Kong, associate professor, UC Davis Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and deLange, a former postdoctoral fellow in the Christian Nansen laboratory at the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and now of The Netherlands.
“Drones can be equipped with a range of attachments, such as sensors, pesticide sprayers, and natural enemyreleasers, and can therefore contribute to more sustainable agriculture in various ways,” said deLange, whose research interests include plant-insect interactions, integrated pest management, chemical ecology and precision agriculture.
Agriculture drones, she said, "are highly versatile and have great commercial potential.”
For the JEE Editors' Choice award, the editors-in-chief nominate papers based on citation, readership and Altmetric scores. The winners are determined by a vote of the JEE subject editors. JEE co-editors-in-chief are Frank Zalom, UC Davis distinguished professor of entomology; Mike Brewer, entomology professor, Texas A&M University; and Nan-Yao Su, distinguished professor of entomology at the University of Florida. JEE is ESA's largest journal by publishing volume and the most-cited journal in entomology. (See ESA website.)
Crop Monitoring Procedures. As agriculturists know, improving crops and crop monitoring procedures are crucial. “Early outbreak detection and treatment application are inherent to effective pest management, allowing management decisions to be implemented before pests are well-established and crop losses accrue,” the authors wrote in their abstract. “Pest monitoring is time-consuming and may be hampered by lack of reliable or cost-effective sampling techniques. Thus, we argue that an important research challenge associated with enhanced sustainability of pest management in modern agriculture is developing and promoting improved crop monitoring procedures.”
Drones can target pest outbreaks or hot spots in field crops and orchards, such as Colorado potato beetle in potato fields or sugarcane aphid in sorghum, the scientists pointed out. “Pests are unpredictable and not uniformly distributed. Precision agricultural technologies, like the use of drones, can offer important opportunities for integrated pest management (IPM).”
But he's an entomologist with an incredible reach that extends in practically all corners of the insect science world. He's like the equivalent of a griffinfly from the extinct genus Meganeuropsis, a huge insect with a wingspan of 27 inches.
Indeed, the reach of UC Davis distinguished Frank Zalom UC Davis distinguished professor, is quite comparable.
Zalom, a noted integrated pest management (IPM) specialist and a past president of the Entomological Society of America (ESA), is a newly elected Honorary Member of the ESA, an honor bestowed for his “long-term dedication and extraordinary contributions” to the 7000-member global organization. Honorary Member is the highest honor that can be afforded an ESA member.
Zalom, praised as “an entomological giant” and “the consummate ambassador to entomology,” joins five other entomologists as Honorary Members. They will be honored at the ESA's annual meeting, Entomology 2021, set Oct. 31-Nov. 3 in Denver.
“Honorary membership acknowledges those who have served ESA for at least 20 years through significant involvement in the affairs of the society that has reached an extraordinary level,” an ESA spokesperson said. “Candidates for this honor are selected by the ESA Governing Board and then voted on by the ESA membership.”
“Dr. Zalom is phenomenal for his sustained service of leadership, research, teaching and mentoring, and in my opinion, he is one of the world's most influential, accomplished and inspirational entomologists,” wrote nominator James R. Carey, a UC Davis distinguished professor of entomology and an ESA Fellow. ESA Honorary Member and ESA Fellow Philip Mulder, emeritus professor and former department chair at Oklahoma State University, noted: “Frank is and was the consummate ambassador to entomology throughout his entire career and around the globe on multiple occasions.”
A 47-year member of ESA, Zalom is an emeritus professor with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, and currently a recall professor, continuing his work on IPM of tree, vine and fruiting vegetable crops through several major USDA and CDFA research grants he has received since retiring. Since his retirement, he has brought in more than $1 million in grants. Zalom is also working with Professor Rachael Goodhue, chair of the UC Davis Agricultural and Resource Economics Department on an ongoing pesticide policy research project involving "economic and pest management analyses of potential regulations in strawberry, tomato, and other fruiting crops" in collaboration with CDFA's Office of Pesticide Policy and Analysis.
Zalom directed the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program (UC IPM) for 16 years (1986-2002). “Frank elevated it to 'the gold standard' of the world's IPM programs, emphasizing ecologically based pest management programs for agriculture, urban settings and natural resources,” Carey wrote.
The UC Davis entomologist has authored nearly 400 journal publications or book chapters, and more than 400 other publications. He holds two U.S. patents.
Passionate about moving science policy forward, Zalom served as ESA's Science Policy Committee Chair in 2015. In 2018, he co-organized a two-day summit, Grand Challenges in Entomology in South America, hosted by the Entomological Society of Brazil. The summit focused on invasive species, public health, and sustainable agriculture, and included invited leadership from all entomology societies in Central and South America. Zalom also co-organized the North American and Pacific Rim Invasive Insect and Arthropod Species Challenge Summit, jointly hosted by the entomological societies of America, Canada and British Columbia in Vancouver, BC in 2019.
Highly honored by his peers, Zalom is a Fellow of four scientific organizations: ESA; the American Association for the Advancement of Science, California Academy of Sciences, and Royal Entomological Society. His numerous awards include the BY Morrison Memorial Medal from USDA-ARS and American Society for Horticultural Science (2017), ESA's Recognition Award (2002), Outstanding Achievement Award in Extension Entomology (1992), Excellence in IPM Award (2010), IPM Team Award (2008), and the Pacific Branch Woodworth Award (2011).
Among his UC Davis recognitions are the Consortium for Women in Research Outstanding Mentor Award (2013), James H. Meyer Award (2004), and Academic Senate Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award (2017).
A native of Chicago, Frank moved to Arizona with his family at age 4. He received his bachelor's degree and master's degrees in zoology and ecology from Arizona State University, 1973 and 1974, respectively, and his doctorate in entomology from UC Davis in 1978. He joined the University of Minnesota faculty as assistant professor before returning to UC Davis in 1980.
“Throughout his career the depth of his knowledge in IPM was matched by the strength of his commitment to teaching students and postdocs, as well as by the power of his dedication to helping growers in all areas of agricultural entomology,” Carey wrote. “A former Fulbright Scholar, Frank is both a visionary and dedicated entomologist who has devoted his life's work to advancing entomology and ESA programs. His expertise is in great demand from colleagues, agriculturists, policy makers, students and more. He is the consummate entomologist, intricately skilled and highly accomplished.”
Zalom is the fifth UC Davis scientist to be selected ESA Honorary Member. W. Harry Lange (1912-2004) received the award in 1990; Donald MacLean (1928-2014), the 1984 ESA president, won the award in 1993; Bruce Eldridge in 1996, and John Edman in 2001.
Jason Bond, UC Davis professor of entomology and the Evert and Marion Schlinger endowed chair in insect systematics is a newly selected co-editor-in-chief of the journal Insect Systematics and Diversity (ISD), published by the Entomological Society of America (ESA).
He and Hojun Song, an associate professor of entomology at Texas A&M University, will serve a four-year term, starting Jan. 1. They succeed founding editors Sydney Cameron and James Whitfield, both professors of entomology at the University of Illinois, Urbana.
ISD, launched in 2017, publishes research on systematics, evolution, and biodiversity of insects and related arthropods, including comparative and developmental morphology, conservation, behavior, taxonomy,molecular phylogenetics, paleobiology, natural history, and phylogeography. The journal is heralded for its cutting-edge research, according to an ESA news release issued Oct. 12.
"Dr. Song and Dr. Bond are esteemed leaders in their areas of research, and their knowledge and experience with the evolving techniques in systematics, evolution, genomics, and beyond make them ideal for this role," ESA President Michelle Smith said in the press release. "My fellow ESA Governing Board members and I are pleased to welcome them aboard, and we look forward to seeing them build upon the excellent foundation that Dr. Cameron and Dr. Whitfield have established."
ESA vice president Jessica Ware, who chaired the search committee, praised Bond and Song for their "experience and enthusiasm" for advancing the journal. "They both impressed the committee with their editorial skill, scientific expertise, and commitment to ESA's mission and vision for its family of journals. ISD aims to publish high-impact, integrative research, and I'm confident the journal will be in good hands." (See news release.)
Jason Bond. Bond joined the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology faculty in 2018 from Auburn University, Alabama, where he directed the Auburn University Museum of Natural History (2011–2016), and served as professor and chair of the Auburn Department of Biological Sciences (2016–2018). He specializes in the evolutionary diversification of terrestrial arthropods, specifically spiders, millipedes, and tenebrionid beetles. (See Bond laboratory.)
Bond holds a bachelor's degree in biology (1993) from Western Carolina University, and two degrees from Virginia Tech: a master's degree in biology (1995) and a doctorate in evolutionary systematics (1999). He began his career as a research associate at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago in 1990. His credentials include associate editor of Systematic Biology (2019–present) and editor of New World Mygalomorphae for Zootaxa (2016–present).
Hojun Song. Song holds three degrees in entomology: a bachelor's degree (2000) from Cornell University and both his master's (2002) and doctorate (2006) from Ohio State University. He began his career as a research fellow in 2006 at Brigham Young University, and then served as an assistant professor and curator of the Stuart M. Fullerton Collection of Arthropods, University of Central Florida, before joining the Texas A&M faculty in 2015. He was named editor-in-chief of the journal Insect Systematics and Evolution in 2014. He specializes in arthropod systematics, biodiversity and evolution. (See Song laboratory.)
"I am honored to be selected as a new co-editor-in-chief of Insect Systematics and Diversity, and I am excited about the possibility of moving the field of insect systematics in this new capacity," Song told ESA. "The inaugural co-editors-in-chief, Drs. Sydney Cameron and Jim Whitfield, have done a tremendous job launching the journal. Dr. Bond and I have some big shoes to fill, but we will do our best to make sure that ISD continues to become an outlet for publishing the best work in insect systematics, evolution, and biodiversity."
A tip of the insect net to the new co-editors-in-chief!
UC Davis Resources:
- Spotlight on Jason Bond (UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology)
- A Spider Is Always Watching You! (Bohart Museum of Entomology Open House)
- Name That Spider: Meet Cryptocteniza kawtak (UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology)
If you've ever seen youngsters jumping up and down in pure delight--and pure enthusiasm--you've probably been to an event spotlighting the UC Davis Bohart Museum of Entomology insect specimens.
And now you can help.
The Bohart Museum of Entomology has launched a CrowdFund project to raise $5000 by 11:59 p.m., Oct 31 to purchase traveling display boxes for their specimens, which include bees, butterflies and beetles.
These are portable glass-topped display boxes that travel throughout Northern California to school classrooms, youth group meetings, festivals, events, museums, hospitals--and more--to help people learn about the exciting world of entomology (insect science).
“When COVID halted our in-person outreach programs, we were still able to safely loan these educational materials to teachers,” said Tabatha Yang, the Bohart Museum's education and outreach coordinator.
Supporting the Talent. “Now that UC Davis is open again to students we have all these bright, students on campus with fresh and diverse perspectives,” she said. “We want to support their talent, so the funds we are raising will go to students for the creation of new traveling displays. This fleet of new educational drawers will expand and update what we can offer. Some of our current displays were created 15 years ago! One can only imagine all the places these drawers have been and all the people who have been inspired."
The Bohart Museum, a research collection and public museum dedicated to understanding, documenting and communicating terrestrial arthropod diversity, is now celebrating its 75th year. It maintains a robust outreach program that typically connects with more than 10,000 people annually, according to Lynn Kimsey, director of the museum and a UC Davis distinguished professor of entomology.
Portable educational boxes are considered a great way to share the museum experience with others. They are housed in the same specimen boxes that the Bohart scientists use for their research collections. UC Davis students, staff, teachers and scout leaders routinely borrow these materials to enrich their programs.
"Our current educational boxes were created 15 to 20 years ago by staff and students at UC Davis," the scientists related on the CrowdFund page. "After years of wear and tear and new developments in biology, we need to update and create a new suite of display boxes. These displays will not only be scientifically accurate, but they will be intriguing to view by all ages. With every $500 in donations, a student will be able to create a fresh new box, complete with an informational sheet and a short video. The goal of this fundraiser is to provide 10 students the opportunity to create 10 portable educational displays that will enhance the outreach mission of the Bohart Museum and the University of California."
Virtual Tour. The public is invited to access the Bohart's Facebook Live virtual tour for Aggie Spirit Week on Wednesday, Oct. 13. The "Bugology" link is https://fb.me/e/XKtXPrsB. Plans are to spotlight Professor Kimsey; senior museum scientist Steve Heydon; Lepidoptera collection curator Jeff Smith; and graduate student Socrates Letana (who researches bot flies), among others.
The Bohart Museum, temporarily closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, Crocker Lane, UC Davis campus. It houses nearly eight million insect specimens, collected from around the world. It also houses a live "petting zoo" comprised of Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and tarantulas, as well as an online gift shop stocked with insect-themed jewelry, clothing, books, posters and other items.