A UC Davis communications specialist who creates habitat for monarch butterflies in her family's pollinator garden, won a silver award or second-place honors, in a photography competition hosted by the international Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Life and Human Sciences (ACE). ACE announced the award today (June 22) at its virtual conference.
Kathy Keatley Garvey of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology captured the image of a monarch egg with a Canon MPE-65mm lens.
“The purpose of my image is to draw attention to the dwindling monarch butterfly population,” Garvey wrote. “They are on life support.” The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation's reports that overwintering monarchs have declined 99 percent in coastal California since the 1990s.
Garvey posted the image at https://bit.ly/3cUx358 Aug. 10, 2020 on her daily (Monday-Friday) Bug Squad blog on the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources website.
Wrote the judge: “Capturing a subject this small is really quite impressive. I appreciate the photographer sharing their equipment and process to capture this image of such a delicate and beautiful little butterfly egg. Very well done.”
The image scored 25 out of 25 points in creativity/originality, audience interest/impact, and overall evaluation.
In her contest entry, Garvey described the egg “as an incredible work of nature! The intricate egg is about the size of a pinhead, 0.9mm wide and 1.2mm high. It's creamy yellow with narrow longitudinal ridge. Unless it encounters a predator or parasitoid or another life-threatening factor, the egg will usually hatch 3 to 4 days after Mama Monarch deposits it beneath a milkweed leaf.”
“A good place to see butterfly specimens from all over the world is at the Bohart Museum of Entomology (now temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic), Garvey wrote. “Of the nearly eight million specimens in the Bohart, some 500,000 are in the Lepidoptera collection, curated by entomologist Jeff Smith.“ She also drew attention to the butterfly-rearing process of Bohart associate and natural historian Greg Kareofelas.
In addition to the silver award, the UC Davis communicator won a bronze award or third-place honors for her photo series of male and female Gulf Fritillaries, Agraulis vanillae, “keeping busy.” Her post, “Fifty Shades of Orange, with a Touch of Silver,” appeared July 13, 2020 on her Bug Squad blog at https://bit.ly/2Q6cU3q.
Wrote the judge: “This submission was a delight! I adored the written piece that accompanied the photos, describing the insect wedding during COVID times. To take notice of these delicate creatures, which many people just pass by without noticing, and to document them in photos is unique…. When photographing subjects of this size, the tack-sharp focus which captures the details that our eyes cannot normally see is what makes them so captivating. It's also incredibly difficult to capture--the photographer did a lovely job.”
“So there they were," Garvey wrote. "The two of them. The blushing bride and the quite dapper-and-dashing groom. They didn't invite me to their wedding. I was an uninvited guest, the only guest. So, I felt obliged to crash their wedding and capture some images…Who can resist insect wedding photography? That's about the only wedding photography happening during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Garvey also drew her readers to the research website of butterfly guru Art Shapiro, UC Davis distinguished professor of evolution and ecology, and his information on A. vanillae (see https://bit.ly/3uw9Yf1), and to specific work of insects “keeping busy” (see https://bit.ly/3rVU1xg) by UC Davis alumnus and renowned macro photographer Alex Wild, curator of entomology at the University of Texas, Austin.
ACE, founded in 1913 primarily for ag communicators, is now an international association of professionals who practice in all areas of communication.
(Editor's Note: Last year three UC Davis-affiliated communication specialists won a total of six writing or photography awards in the ACE global competition for work accomplished in 2019 (pre-COVID pandemic). Steve Elliott, communications coordinator for the Western Integrated Pest Management Center,Davis, won one silver (second-place) and two bronze (third-place) for his writing and photography; Kathy Keatley Garvey, communications specialist for the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, two silvers for her writing and photography; and Diane Nelson, communication specialist for the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, won a bronze for her writing.)
UC Davis alumnus Hannah Burrack, a professor of entomology and extension specialist at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, has been named chair of the Department of Entomology at Michigan State University, East Lansing, effective Jan. 1, 2022. Burrack will replace F. William Ravlin, the chair since 2014.
“Hannah's background in extension, combined with her research experience and administrative skill set makes her a great fit for our college, its students and for our stakeholders in Michigan,” said interim dean designate Kelly Millenbah, of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) in a news release. “Hannah is also committed to undergraduate and graduate student development and has supported various mentoring initiatives.”
Said Burrack: "I have followed the innovative research, exceptional students, and impactful extension undertaken by the MSU Entomology Department from the very start of my career, and I am thrilled to be joining this team in January. I am passionate about science that connects with stakeholders—be that students, growers, industry partners, or the broader citizens of the state. Entomology as a discipline naturally fosters these connections, and I am so excited to work together with the faculty, students, and staff at MSU to do great things!”
Burrack received her doctorate from UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology in 2007, studying with Frank Zalom, UC Davis distinguished professor and a former president of the 7,000-member Entomological Society of America (ESA). She also received her master's degree from UC Davis.
"Hannah is going to make a great chair," Zalom said. "She has great communication skills, vision and energy."
When she joined NC State in 2007 as assistant professor and Extension specialist for small fruits and tobacco pest management, Zalom said: "The NC State faculty made a very wise choice in hiring her. Hannah has the complete package when it comes to IPM research and extension, and I have every confidence that she will be a leader of her generation of IPM specialists."
At NC State, Burrack directs Education & Outreach for the NC Plant Sciences Initiative, an interdisciplinary initiative with the goal of conducting transformational plant sciences research, education, and outreach, according to the news release. Her current research focuses broadly on the ecology of insect pests in tobacco and small fruit crops; she utilizes the information to enhance pest management. Her extension appointment supports tobacco production and small fruit crop diversification, as she works with local and regional growers.
Burrack, known for her “boundless energy and fresh ideas,” served as the principal investigator and manager of several USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture grants and panels related to research on spotted wing drosophila management, crop protection, pest management and methyl bromide transitions. In 2018, she received the University Faculty Scholar Award and the Extension Service Award from NC State University.
The UC Davis alumnus "has been part of extension engagement and outreach with stakeholders; taught courses in entomology, horticulture and crop sciences departments; supported undergraduate research projects; and mentored students and visiting scholars," according to the news release. "She has also been a part of various NC State University committees related to teaching and tenure, extension, research and technology, as well as faculty search committees."
Burrack was named the 2011 recipient of the “Future Leader” award from the Southern Region Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Center. She received the Friends of IPM award at the annual meeting of the Southeastern Branch of ESA, held in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The Friends of IPM Future Leader award recognizes IPM leaders early in their career for their excellent work. (See UC Davis news release.)
A native of Puente Alto, Santiago, Chile, he joined the Chiu lab in 2020 and is exploring the molecular and neural circuits that regulate seasonal biology in animals.
Under this Pew program, young scientists from Latin America receive postdoctoral training in the United States, “giving them an opportunity to further their scientific knowledge by promoting exchange and collaboration between investigators in the United States and Latin America—ultimately resulting in advances in research in Latin America,” Pew spokesperson Abigail Major said.
Sergio 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 will work under the mentorship of prominent biomedical scientists, including alumni of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences.
“Sergio's academic and research track record is outstanding,” said Chiu, associate professor and vice chair of the Department of Entomology and Nematology. “Although he has only worked in my laboratory for less than a year, I have been very impressed by his drive, independence, ingenuity, and intellect. Given his long-standing interest in understanding how neuronal mechanisms regulate behavior and physiology, his research goals align very well with my laboratory. I am excited he has been named a Pew Latin American Fellow; it is very well deserved. I look forward to partnering with him to study regulation of seasonal biology."
Hidalgo Sotelo wrote his dissertation on “Using Drosophila to Model Schizophrenia Symptoms.” He was awarded a dual doctorate in physiology and pharmacology in 2020 from the University of Bristol, and Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. He also holds a master's degree in biological science from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and a bachelor's degree in biochemistry there.
Of his research in the Chiu lab, he explained: “Animals use environmental cues to match their behaviors with the season: as temperatures fall and days grow shorter, birds fly south, and fruit flies curtail their reproduction, Hidalgo Sotelo said. “But little is known about the mechanisms that allow animals to synchronize with the calendar. I will work on elucidating this machinery, using an array of cutting-edge techniques in cell and molecular biology, neurogenetics, and genomics, aiming to identify the molecules that contribute to the seasonal oscillations of EYA, a key component of the seasonal timer previously described by a number of groups, including Dr. Chiu's lab. These findings will broaden our understanding of seasonal biology and could lead to new approaches for treating disorders that display seasonality, including infectious diseases and seasonal affective disorder.”
Another Pew postdoctoral fellow is Mariana Duhne Aguayo of the UC San Francisco lab of Joseph Berke where she is mapping the neural circuits that calibrate how swiftly animals move.
Other postdocs are training in labs at Harvard University, New York University Grossman School of Medicine, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, University of Virginia, Washington University School of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, and New York University Langone Health.
Pew Trust officials also announced the recipients of the Pew Scholars in Biomedical Sciences, who include Bennett Penn, assistant professor in the UC Davis Department of Medicine's Division of Infectious Diseases. The Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences provides funding to young investigators of outstanding promise in science relevant to the advancement of human health.
In announcing the Horizon Team Award on June 8, the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) applauded the 47 worldwide collaborators “for the development of multidimensional click chemistry, a next-generation click-technology that extends perfect bond creation into the three-dimensional world, opening doors to new frontiers in biomedicine, materials science, and beyond.” (See list of winners. See Horizon Team award winners)
K. Barry Sharpless of the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, who won the 2001 Nobel Prize for Sharpless epoxidation, led the team. “His magic is like the click- chemistry he invented,” said Hammock, who holds a joint appointment with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center.
The scientists from UC Davis also include researcher Christophe Morisseau of the Hammock lab and Seiya Kitamura, who completed his doctorate in the UC Davis Pharmacology/Toxicology Graduate Group working with Hammock and Morisseau before starting a postdoctoral position at Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla.
Morisseau described click-chemistry “as such a ubiquitous tool in multiple aspects of science that kits are sold and the chemistry utilized without even recognizing where it comes from. Many of the beautiful and informative fluorescent pictures of cells on journal covers are based on click chemistry.”
The list of the team members reads like a Who's Who of modern organic chemistry at multiple stages of their careers, Hammock noted.
Hammock said his involvement in click chemistry started when he was on sabbatical leave at UC San Diego. “Barry explained to me how one could use the SF bonds of SOF4 and related compounds to make additions one at a time and create a defined three-dimensional molecule with high precision. The potential of these reagents to design new pharmaceuticals and agricultural products was really exciting. Thus, our contribution was being there at the right time to show translation into the real world.”
“Seiya did amazing work showing the utility of this reaction,” Hammock said. “He is continuing to work with Drs. Wang and Morisseau at UC Davis on using another concept in modern medicinal chemistry called PROTAC to investigate cell biology.”
“Click-chemistry and particularly the copper-catalyzed azide-alkyne-Huisgen cycloaddition (CuAAC), has had a profound impact on drug discovery (for which it was intended),” the team wrote in the award packet. “It is now the 'go-to' technology in every corner of molecular science. The introduction of Sulfur(VI) fluoride exchange (SuFEx) in 2014 opened up a whole new world of possibilities for reliable bond-forming technology, particularly for chemical biology applications where the fugacity of sulfur-fluoride functional groups are primed for selective covalent bond formation with active protein sites.”
The team will receive a trophy and each member will receive a certificate. John Moses of the Cancer Center, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, New York, submitted the nomination on behalf of the team.
The RSC Horizon Prizes “highlight the most exciting, contemporary chemical science at the cutting edge of research and innovation,” according to its website. “These prizes are for teams or collaborations who are opening up new directions and possibilities in their field, through ground-breaking scientific developments."
The mission of the London-based RSC, founded in 1841, is to advance excellence in the chemical sciences. The organization includes physicians, academics, manufacturers and entrepreneurs. Dialysis inventor Thomas Graham served as its first president.
- Bruce Hammock: Lifetime Achievement Award from Chancellor
- Why Science Is Fun (feature on Bruce Hammock)
Spider wasps belong to the family Pompilidae, and are aculeate (stinging) wasps. Most spider wasps (also known as spider-hunting wasps) capture, sting and paralyze their prey. The worldwide family is comprised of some 5,000 described species in six subfamilies.
“A U-Haul was needed to transport the collection from Brookings to Davis last weekend,” said Bohart Museum director and UC Davis distinguished professor Lynn Kimsey.
Wasbauer, who died in the spring, was a global expert on spider wasps and a scientific collaborator with Kimsey. He was a member of the Bohart Museum Society and a strong supporter of the museum.
“The donation consists of a diversity of aculeate wasps but 95 percent are spider wasps (Pompilidae), an estimated 50,000 specimens from all over the world, in 180 drawers, in 13 24-drawer cabinets,” Kimsey said. “This is material he had been accumulating since the 1960s.”
Wasbauer studied entomology and biosystematics at UC Berkeley, where he received his bachelor's degree and doctorate (1958). “Like many entomologists of his generations,” Kimsey said, “Marius was an instructor in preventive medicine in the U.S. 7th Army Medical Service at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.” He joined the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) as a systematist in September 1958. His CDFA career spanned 34 years.
Wasbauer was a fellow of the California Academy of Sciences; president and secretary of the Pacific Coast Entomological Society; research associate with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), a member of Sigma Xi, the scientific research honor society; a member of the Biosystematists Society; and a research associate at UC Davis.
“He was generous with his time, and worked with many scientists and students around the world,” Kimsey said. “However, aside from his family and wasps, his other greatest love was fishing.”
Marius and his wife, Joanne, longtime supporters of the Bohart Museum, frequently offered annual challenge grants of $5000, matching donations of other donors up to $5000. They hoped to inspire others to give.
The Wasbauers participated in a Bohart Museum Bioblitz to Belize in 2017, a trip led by entomologists David Wyatt, a professor at Sacramento City College, and Fran Keller, now a professor at Folsom Lake College. Keller, who holds a doctorate in entomology from UC Davis, is a Bohart Museum research associate.
A trio of entomologists—Lynn Kimsey and her husband, forensic entomologist Robert Kimsey of the Department of Entomology and Nematology; and Bohart Museum research associate Brennen Dyer—prepared a space in the Bohart for the large donation. They unloaded the truck with Kimsey friends, retired Placer County Sheriff Mike Whitney and his wife, Becky.
The Bohart Museum, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, houses a global collection of nearly eight million insect specimens, plus a live “petting zoo” comprised of Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and tarantulas. The Bohart Museum also inclues a year-around gift shop stocked with insect-themed t-shirts, sweatshirts, posters, books, jewelry and insect-collecting equipment.
Temporarily closed due to COVID-19 pandemic precautions, the Bohart is located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane.