The prestigious honor means that the lab, headed by Professor Xiaoling Lu, professor of immunology at Guangxi Medical University (GXMU), is now the central nanobody lab in the province and will receive "more support and expansion," she wrote in an email to Professor Hammock. She expressed her “heartfelt thanks" to Hammock for his "support and encouragement all the time” and added she looks forward to more and closer collaboration.
Lu directs the Nanobody Research Institute of GXMU and also serves as the deputy director of the International Joint Research Center of National Biological Targeting Diagnosis and Therapy.
"Dr. Siliang Duan of Professor Lu's lab was in our lab as a visiting scholar for 15 months (March 9, 2018 until June 1, 2019) to learn nanobody research," said Hammock, who holds a joint appointment with the Department of Entomology and Nematology and the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. “Their lab is now applying this technology to gene therapy and other cancer biologies."
“This brings up that we all learn from each other internationally and across disciplines,” Hammock said. “The work that Siliang did here really bridged the science done in the mammalian group at Davis developing drugs for treating cancer and cancer pain with the nanobody group. We have extensive experience in nanobodies as diagnostics. While she was here, Siliang bridged the Davis nanobody work with studies on human and companion animal therapeutics at Davis and critically with the cancer therapeutic studies of the Xiaoling Lu group."
Three Papers Published. To date, the Hammock and Lu labs have published three papers together, the first in November 2019:
- “A Nanobody Against Cytotoxic T-Lymphocyte Associated Antigen-4 Increases the Anti-Tumor Effects of Specific CD8(+) T Cells,” published Nov. 1, 2019 in the Journal of Biomedical Technology, an international journal covering research and advanced technologies in the frontiers of biomedical sciences.
- "A Generation of Dual Functional Nanobody-Nanoluciferase Fusion and Its Potential in Bioluminescence Enzyme Immunoassay for Trace Glypican-3 in Serum,” published June 1, 2021 in the journal, Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical, an interdisciplinary journal dedicated to publishing research and development in the field of sensors and biosensors.
- "Nanobody-Based Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-Cells Designed by CRISPR/Cas9 Technology for Solid Tumor Immunotherapy,” published Feb. 25, 2021 in the journal, Signal Transduction and Targeted Therapy.
Nanobodies, used as a research tool in structural, cell, and developmental biology, are the subject of many newly published papers. Lu co-authored a paper March 22, 2021 in the International Journal of Nanomedicine on “Nanobody: A Small Antibody with Big Implications for Tumor Therapeutic Strategy.”
“The development of targeted medicine has greatly expanded treatment options and spurred new research avenues in cancer therapeutics, with monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) emerging as a prevalent treatment in recent years,” write Emily Yedam Yang and Khalid Shah of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, in their article, “Nanobodies: Next Generation of Cancer Diagnostics and Therapeutics,” published in the journal, Frontiers in Oncology.
Human Enzyme Discovery. Hammock, internationally recognized for his work in alleviating inflammatory and neuropathic pain in humans and companion animals, co-discovered a human enzyme termed Soluble Epoxide Hydrolase (sEH), a key regulatory enzyme involved in the metabolism of fatty acids. It regulates a new class of natural chemical mediators, which in turn regulates inflammation, blood pressure and pain and in a recent PNAS article showed promise in cancer therapy.
Hammock and his lab have been involved in enzyme research for more than 50 years. Their work was recently cited as one of the key papers in agriculture for the last 50 years. Hammock and his lab introduced immunoassays to environmental chemistry, and they were an early adopter of monoclonal and now nanobody technology.
“The collaboration with Xiaoling and Siliang is wonderful in that the research spanned both the nanobody and therapeutic fields at UC Davis," Hammock said. "For example, we recently used alpaca nanobodies to the sEH to make exceptionally sensitive assays for the enzyme in tiny amounts of human blood. Nanobodies as therapeutics as well as diagnostics was a great contribution to us from Xiaoling and Siliang."
In 2019, Hammock received a $6 million “outstanding investigator” federal grant for his innovative and visionary environmental health research. His pioneering work on inflammation not only extends to alleviating chronic pain, but to targeting inflammation involved in cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and other health issues.
His seminar, to begin at 4:10 p.m., will be in-person and also will be broadcast live on Zoom at https://ucdavis.zoom.us/j/
"Parasitic nematodes are master manipulators of host immunity," Dillman says in his abstract. "Little is known about the identity and function of the cocktail of effectors they release during active infection. We have developed an effector discovery model using entomopathogenic nematodes and fruit flies, which we are using to identify and characterize potent modulators of insect immunity."
Dillman recently received a $1.8 million Outstanding Investigator Award from the National Institutes of Health to study the microscopic parasitic nematodes or "worms" that infect billions of humans and can cause blindness, cognitive issues and sometimes death. He focuses his research on identifying the specific proteins in a nematode's spit or venom that can trick the immune system to ignore its presence. His work on the fruit fly as his model organism could lead to treatments for autoimmune diseases in humans, such as celiac, Crohn's or inflammatory bowel diseases.
Dillman, who joined the UCR faculty in February 2015, is featured in a UC Riverside press release, "Parasitic Worm Venom Evades Human Immune System," posted July 20, 2020 on EurekAlert.
Worms Affect Billions of People. "By some estimates, nearly a quarter of the world's population is infected with various types of microscopic worms, or nematodes, with effects ranging from cognitive impairment and blindness to debilitation, elephantiasis, and death," writer Jules Berstein related. "Examples include hookworm, which thrives in the American South, causing developmental delays and anemia; and pinworms, which commonly infect children and child care workers with an itchy perianal-area rash."
She quoted Dillman: "You can have a person riddled with infection who never realized there's a 2-centimeter-long worm in their eye and thousands of parasites in their blood. The immune system never signaled something was wrong. How is that possible? We know very little about how that works."
Dillman described nematodes as "devastating parasites of humans, capable of modulating our biology in numerous ways, including suppressing our immune systems. The goal of my lab is to understand this modulation and to characterize the chemical pathways that allow it to happen. There's compelling data that parasites could even be used to treat autoimmune disorders such as Crohn's or inflammatory bowel disease. Parasitic worms are just the coolest things you could study because there are so many strange interactions, both positive and negative, that occur between the worms and their hosts."
Why Fruit Flies? Aylin Woodward of Business Insider spotlighted Dillman's work in a news story published Sept. 13, 2020. She wrote that his lab "is looking at 500 or so different types of proteins released by nematodes that infect fruit flies" and quoted Dillman as saying that "flies are cheaper and easier to work with, and the parasites that affect insects release the same proteins as those that infect mammals."
Dillman received his doctorate in 2012 from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), a private research university in Pasadena, and then served as a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford from 2013 to 2014. He holds a bachelor's degree (2006) from Brigham Young University.
Nematologist Shahid Siddique, assistant professor, coordinates the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology seminars and will introduce Dillman. He may be reached at email@example.com.
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.”
“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.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
The authors and their paper, “Drones: Innovative Technology for Use in Precision Pest Management,” will be recognized at the Entomological Society of America (ESA) meeting, set Oct. 31-Nov. 3 in Denver.
"On behalf of our team, first author Fernando lost Filho, a doctoral student in entomology at the University of São Paulo, Brazil, and a former UC Davis exchange student, will deliver the presentation at the ESA meeting," said de Lange, a former postdoctoral fellow in the Christian Nansen laboratory at the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and now of The Netherlands.
Other co-authors are remote sensing expert Wieke Heldens of the German Aerospace Center, Wessling, Germany; and engineer and drone communication expert Zhaodan Kong, associate professor, UC Davis Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.
“Drones can be equipped with a range of attachments, such as sensors, pesticide sprayers, and natural enemy releasers, and can therefore contribute to more sustainable agriculture in various ways,” said de Lange, who assembled the team and serves as the corresponding author.
“They are highly versatile," she said, "and have great commercial potential.”
Their paper, one of the first-of-its-kind to summarize scientific literature on the use of agricultural drones for pest management, covers the use of drones with remote sensing equipment to detect pest problems from the air. It calls for the increased use of actuation drones, to provide solutions such as spraying pesticides and releasing biocontrol organisms.
JEE Award. Every year the editors-in-chief and editorial boards of the Journal of Economic Entomology (JEE) and Environment Entomology along with ESA and Oxford University Press, select outstanding research publications for special recognition. The categories include Editors' Choice, Readers' Choice and Reviewers' Choice.
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.)
ESA announced the awards online. All of the winning papers are currently online.
Improving Crop Monitoring Procedures. “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).”
De Lange, who holds a doctorate in chemical ecology from the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland, joined the Nansen lab in 2016. Her research interests include plant-insect interactions, integrated pest management, chemical ecology and precision agriculture. She focused much of her research on California strawberries.
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 served as the 2014 ESA president; 2015 Entomological Foundation president, and the 2002 Pacific Branch president. He has been editor-in-chief of the Journal of Economic Entomology since 2018. He also was the first editorial board chair (2008-09) of the Journal of Integrated Pest Management, serving on the board until 2012.
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.
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.