Kimsey, now director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and a UC Davis distinguished professor of entomology, grew up as “Lynn Siri” of El Cerrito, the daughter of a biologist and a biophysicist.
“I always wanted to be a scientist but I really wanted to be a marine biologist then,” she recalled.
Influenced by Jacques Cousteau, and encouraged by her high school biology teacher, she set out on a project that's now being lauded for its legacy data documentation of the Bay's intertidal invertebrates, especially invasive species.
Over a 13-month period, from April 1970 to May 1971, Lynn collected, recorded and sketched 139 marine specimens in the San Francisco Bay, covering 34 locations in six counties, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo, San Francisco and Solano.
She was a high school junior and her work was never published—until now.
Kimsey and marine biologist James Carlton co-authored the article, “The First Extensive Survey (1970–1971) of Intertidal Invertebrates of San Francisco Bay, California,“ published last December in the journal Bioinvasions Records.
“There have been few surveys of intertidal invertebrates in San Francisco Bay, California, USA. Most prior intertidal surveys were limited spatially or taxonomically. This survey of the intertidal invertebrates of San Francisco Bay was conducted over 13 months between 1970 and 1971, generating what is now a legacy data set of invertebrate diversity. Specimens were hand collected at land access points at 34 sites around the Bay. In all 139 living species in 9 phyla were collected; 28.8% were introduced species, primarily from the Atlantic Ocean (62.5%) and the Northwest Pacific and Indo-West Pacific Oceans (30%)."
She is also an accomplished scientific illustrator. “I worked my way through college as a scientific illustrator,” Kimsey said. “In those days women weren't hired as lab or research assistants. I switched to entomology when I came to UC Davis from UC San Diego.”
“I guess I started doing detailed pen and ink drawings in junior high. Then in high school, I worked summers as a volunteer lab assistant and professional SCUBA diver at San Diego State.”
At each site, Lynn surveyed approximately 800 meters of shoreline at low tide, and typically spent between 60 and 120 minutes. She collected, by hand, samples of all common invertebrate species larger than 1 mm from the surface of mudflats, rocks, or pilings, and from under rocks, tires, and boards (with the underside of the object and substrate below examined for invertebrates). She observed but did not collect insects or arachnids. She preserved her collected specimens in 3 percent formalin (soft-bodied specimens) or 70 percent methanol. She deposited selected specimens in the California Academy of Sciences' Department of Invertebrate Zoology.
Recalling how her research came to be published, Kimsey said that during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, she began looking through her half-century-old notes. She contacted Carlton, an emeritus marine sciences professor from Williams College (Williamstown, Mass.) and director emeritus (1989-2015) of the Williams College-Mystic Seaport Maritime Studies Program (Mystic, Conn. Carlton is known for his research on the environmental history of coastal marine ecosystems, including invasions of non-native species and modern-day extinctions in the world's oceans. In 2013, he received the California Academy of Science's highest honor, the Fellows Medal.
They agreed the research contains important baseline information about intertidal macro-invertebrate biodiversity.
Kimsey located the largest number of native species in the Golden Gate region. “The shoreline has rocky shores, as well as sand/gravel beaches and piers,” they wrote. “This region has the strongest daily currents, influenced by the proximity of the Pacific Ocean. The largest number of native species were found here. Indeed, at the two most exposed stations at the Golden Gate, only one introduced species, the wood-boring isopod Limnoria tripunctata Menzies, 1951, was found.”
“Unpublished historical biodiversity data are frequently lost over time,” the scientists wrote. “Such data from earlier periods can serve as critical baseline information by which to assess long-term biodiversity shifts and environmental changes.”
Digital editor Eric Simons of the Bay Nature publication chronicled the research in an Aug. 18th piece titled “Scientists Resurface a One-of-a-Kind, 50-Year-Old Record of San Francisco Bay Life.”
Kimsey and Carlton told him that they hope the project will inspire other scientists to proceed with similar research in the San Francisco Bay. But they wonder if this will ever happen.
“It's not hot and sexy,” Kimsey told Simons. “Hot and sexy is going to Costa Rica and playing in coral reefs. And that's really what attracts people. Getting down and dirty in the suburbs, it takes a different attitude about a whole different subject area.”
Sparks, a retired research fellow at Corteva Agriscience (a Dow AgroSciences) in Indianapolis, Ind., will receive an inscribed plaque and a cash award at ESA's annual meeting in November, to be held in Denver, Colo., announced Michelle Smith, ESA president. The presentation will take place Nov. 2 during ESA's Awards Breakfast featuring the Founders' Memorial Lecture.
“This is a huge honor and directly due to Bruce's influence,” said Sparks.
This award recognizes creative entomologists who have demonstrated the ability to find alternative solutions to problems that significantly impact entomology. Sparks is the first scientist from the crop protection industry to receive this award.
“Tom was my first graduate student, receiving his doctorate at UC Riverside and later doing a sabbatical leave at UC Davis,” said Hammock, who joined the UC Davis Department of Entomology (now the Department of Entomology and Nematology) in 1980 from UC Riverside.
Sparks received his doctorate in entomology in December 1978. His emphasis: insect endocrinology/biochemistry and insecticide toxicology.
“His free-thinking, as well as his love for and intensity about science, characterized his career," Hammock said. "I remember an evening when he brought a 'Tandy' computer over and envisioned a concept of machine learning to optimize structures of drugs and agricultural chemicals that were too complex to evaluate with classical structure activity relationships."
“Fifty years later this is mainline biological chemistry,” Hammock pointed out, adding that Sparks started in biological control and then moved to insect physiology and toxicology (Hammock's lab) while in graduate school at UC Riverside. After graduate school, Sparks served as a professor of insecticide biochemistry and toxicology with the Louisiana State University's Department of Entomology. He then headed to Indianapolis to join Eli Lilly and Co., which shortly thereafter became DowElanco, then Dow AgroSciences, and finally Corteva Agriscience.
Sparks' lifelong focus is on developing green pesticides, Hammock said. “His greatest success of many successes has been with a complex group of what are known as polyketides. Specifically, Tom pioneered the spinosids as a new class of selective pesticides for integrated pest management (IPM). Tom was a leader in this program from the concept of natural product compounds through structural optimization to integration into pest management and resistance management programs nationally and internationally.”
Sparks' research interests include
- Agrochemical (especially. Insecticides) Discovery and Lead Generation
- Insecticide biochemistry and mode of action
- Insecticide resistance and resistance management
- Cheminformatics and quantitative structure activity relationships (QSAR) and its application to lead generation and pesticide discovery.
- History and philosophy of agrochemical discovery
“Dr. Sparks is internationally recognized as a leader and innovator in the field of insect biochemistry and toxicology, especially as it relates to the discovery of new crop protection compounds,” wrote Ronda Hamm of Corteva Agriscience, Indianapolis, who headed the nomination team. “This latter point supported by his many awards relating to crop protection discovery but is highlighted in particular by two prior awards-- R&D Scientist of the Year in 2009, the first (and so far only) for any entomologist or for that matter, any scientist in the field of agriculture. More recently Dr. Sparks was the first industry scientist (and entomologist) to receive the American Chemical Society AGRO Division Innovation in Chemistry of Agriculture Award (2015).”
A member of ESA for more than 40 years, Sparks “has a history of bringing new ideas and innovative approaches to the discovery of new insect control agents, resulting in several commercial products,” Hamm pointed out. “Through his innovative application of state-of-the art technologies, Dr. Sparks has succeeded in catalyzing the discovery and development of natural product-based compounds for the control of pest insects. One particularly relevant measure of Dr. Sparks' innovation is patents--unusually for a non-chemist, he has 47 patents covering a wide range of chemistries and ideas as it applies to the control of agricultural pests.”
Hammock praised Sparks for his innovative accomplishments. “For the past several decades, Dr. Sparks' goal has been to provide new, greener, tools that will allow growers and farmers around the world to feed an expanding global population," Hammock said. "To this end, Dr. Sparks employed an array of innovative approaches to the discovery of new insect control agents. His innovations are well-illustrated by his ‘what if..' questions and his answers and results from those questions.”
“What if you could simplify large complex macrolide antibiotic-like compounds to make them synthetically accessible,” Hammock wrote in his letter of support. “This would be a radically different innovation paving a conceptual pathway for others in the agrochemical and pharmaceutical industry. Dr. Sparks accomplished this through collaboration with two colleagues using computer-aided molecular design to essentially reverse-engineer the spinosyn structure ultimately demonstrating, for the first time ever, that the large macrocyclic structure could be mimicked by simpler, smaller synthetic motifs.”
Keith Wing, an independent industrial biochemistry consultant who was Hammock's second Ph.D student from UC Riverside and UC Davis (and who subsequently worked for Rohm and Haas Ag and DuPont Ag Chemicals and Central Research), also praised Sparks' accomplishments. "I've known Tom as a friend and colleague since 1976," Wing related. "We started our research in Bruce's lab working on proteins affecting juvenile hormone metabolism, but because of Bruce's/University of California's broad entomological and chemical training, we both developed multifaceted toxicological interests and methodological approaches to problems. As Tom and I were grinding through course and benchwork on our research, we were getting a skill set and thinking mode that was very unusual in both its scope and depth. I was always struck by Tom's creativity, dedication to his work and attention to detail. Much of my own thesis work was built on the precedents Tom set."
"Through the years Tom and I remained close personal friends and would discuss what we saw happening in the agrochemical industry, often through American Chemical Society AGRO division work," Wing said, lauding "Tom's variety and volume of contributions to insecticide science. For an industrial entomologist/biochemist, Tom is an unusually prolific contributor to both patent and scientific literature, and is an editor of relevant scientific journals."
"Tom is an excellent colleague to his peers and mentor to younger scientists in our field," Wing said, "and has made huge societal contributions, such as his work in the Insecticide Resistance Action Committee (IRAC), providing discipline and structure in an important area of agricultural science."
Sparks is the second Hammock lab alumnus to receive the coveted Nan-Yao Su Award. ESA selected Bryony Bonning, a former postdoctoral researcher in the Hammock lab and now a professor at Iowa State University, for the award in 2013. Walter Leal, former chair of the entomology department and now a UC Davis distinguished professor with the UC Davis Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, won the award in 2011.
(Editor's Note: See list of other 2021 ESA winners)
It's being loaded on YouTube.
The 24-hour free Zoom symposium, which began Wednesday, Aug. 11, drew attendees from 66 countries. UC Davis distinguished professor Walter Leal organized the event and co-hosted one of the three segments.
Nine videos from the symposium are now online, with more to follow:
- Video One is at https://youtu.be/QlyNCZtSvtY
- Video Two is at https://youtu.be/-aO8-1yfQRI
- Video Three is at https://youtu.be/2SsQvYlXKXY
- Video Four is at https://youtu.be/hmmEac7MliI
- Video Five is at https://youtu.be/60D99Z6nJI8
- Video Six is at https://youtu.be/rZ7i4d7VogQ
- Video Seven is at https://youtu.be/19ukK_R7eKE
- Video Eight is at youtu.be/eROTKZFhu9w
- Video Nine is at https://youtu.be/uVrESHyAyvU
Noted neuroscientist and keynote speaker John Hildebrand heralded the opening of the first-of-its kind international olfaction/taste symposium. Hildebrand is the Honors Professor and Regents Professor at the University of Arizona and the International Secretary of the National Academy of Sciences.
The symposium included 15 invited (keynote) and 36 contribution presentations,” said Leal, a UC Davis distinguished professor with the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology and a former chair of the Department of Entomology (now the Department of Entomology and Nematology). Leal hosted the PDT segment. Wynand van der Goes van Naters of Cardiff University, UK, hosted the British Summer Time (BST) segment; and Coral Warr of La Trobe University, Australia hosted the Australia Eastern Standard Time (AEST) segment.
The presentations covered a wide variety of insects, including three species of mosquitoes (Culex, Aedes and Anopheles); honey bee (Apis mellifera); fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster, Drosophila sechellia, and Drosophila suzukii); sand flies (the blood-sucking dipteran flies); cotton bollworm (Helicoverpa armigera); housefly (Musca domestica); cabbage butterfly (Pieris rapae); and the American cockroach (Periplaneta americana).
- Total users (including those logging in periodically): 2,990
- 71 percent of the attendees surveyed said they were "very satisfied" with the symposium, and 12 percent "satisfied."
- 54 percent of the surveyed attendees had never attended a conference on chemosensation.
The survey yielded such comments as:
- "I used to work in the field of insect taste and olfaction and have attended a couple of ESITO meetings (European Symposium for Insect Taste and Olfaction) when I was a grad student and in early days as a postdoc. This was a wonderful opportunity to see that latest advances in the field and see many of the people whom I had met in person talk and some new people."
- "Thank you to the organizers for coordinating such an informative and well run virtual event."
- "Great collegial and convivial atmosphere. Really good idea to have a commentary on the lectures."
- "I am working on bark beetle olfaction, so I am available in the future with this topic. Thank you."
- "I learnt a lot from different groups especially disease vectors. It was a privilege to listen to some of the big names in this area. Looking forward to a future meeting."
- "I would like say the heartiest thanks to everyone who worked on this webinar. I am doing research for more than 10 years and I never experienced such a wonderful scientific event. What you have done can not be appreciated by words."
- "Undoubtedly, this is the best symposium I have ever attended to. I was able to join with almost every presentation. As an early-career researcher in chemical ecology, this inspired me a lot. Hope to present in this meeting and getting to know great scientists in the future. Hats off to the organisers. Thank you."
- "Thank you for organizing! I only wish there were more detailed times for each presentation so I could be sure to tune in for specific talks, but this is a great concept!"
The detailed schedule of times and speakers was purposely not announced in advance "in order to to keep attendance high when students, postdocs, and early-career scholars presented," Leal said, adding "I enjoyed listening to the student/early-career researchers talks. All of them were very interesting and well executed."
For more information and updates, follow Walter Leal on Twitter at @wsleal2014 or access his biochemistry channel where all the videos will be posted. Folks can also turn on YouTube and Chrome browser notifications to receive alerts.
(Editor's Note: See the initial news story, which includes the names of the presenters.)/span>/span>
“I was thrilled to be invited to write this perspectives/review of my scientific career; it is a collection of 30 years of single-minded focus on one question,” said Page, who is renowned for his research on honey bee behavior and population genetics, particularly the evolution of complex social behavior, and for his work on the first genomic map of the honey bee.
"The editors contacted me to write a perspectives/review that focuses on my own work, a study in complex adaptation,” Page related. “This is the first time they have done a perspectives article like this. I was, of course, honored. More than half of the work was done at UC Davis.”
“Understanding the organization and evolution of social complexity is a major task because it requires building an understanding of mechanisms operating at different levels of biological organization from genes to social interactions,” Page wrote in his abstract. “I discuss here, a unique forward genetic approach spanning more than 30 years beginning with human-assisted colony-level selection for a single social trait, the amount of pollen honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) store. The goal was to understand a complex social trait from the social phenotype to genes responsible for observed trait variation.”
“The approach,” Page wrote, “combined the results of colony-level selection with detailed studies of individual behavior and physiology resulting in a mapped, integrated phenotypic architecture composed of correlative relationships between traits spanning anatomy, physiology, sensory response systems, and individual behavior that affect individual foraging decisions. Colony-level selection reverse engineered the architecture of an integrated phenotype of individuals resulting in changes in the social trait. Quantitative trait locus (QTL) studies combined with an exceptionally high recombination rate (60 kb/cM), and a phenotypic map, provided a genotype–phenotype map of high complexity demonstrating broad QTL pleiotropy, epistasis, and epistatic pleiotropy suggesting that gene pleiotropy or tight linkage of genes within QTL integrated the phenotype. Gene expression and knockdown of identified positional candidates revealed genes affecting foraging behavior and confirmed one pleiotropic gene, a tyramine receptor, as a target for colony-level selection that was under selection in two different tissues in two different life stages. The approach presented here has resulted in a comprehensive understanding of the structure and evolution of honey bee social organization.”
Page, who received his doctorate in entomology (1980) from UC Davis, joined the UC Davis entomology faculty in 1989, and chaired the department from 1999-2004. In 2004, Arizona State University recruited him as founding director of its School of Life Sciences. His career advanced from dean of Life Sciences, to vice provost and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, to university provost. Today he holds the titles of ASU provost emeritus, ASU Regents professor emeritus, and UC Davis distinguished emeritus professor, an award bestowed in 2019.
At UC Davis, Page worked closely with Harry H. Laidlaw Jr., (the father of honey bee genetics) for whom the university's bee facility is named.
For 24 years, from 1989 to 2015, Page maintained a UC Davis honey bee-breeding program, managed by bee breeder-geneticist Kim Fondrk at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility. Together they discovered a link between social behavior and maternal traits in bees.
Page has authored than 250 research papers, including five books: among them, The Spirit of the Hive: The Mechanisms of Social Evolution, published by Harvard University Press in 2013. His most recent book is The Art of the Bee: Shaping the Environment from Landscapes to Societies, published by Oxford University Press 2020. (See news release on why bees are both artists and engineers.)
Page is a highly cited author on such topics as Africanized bees, genetics and evolution of social organization, sex determination, and division of labor in insect societies.
In announcing the winner of the international competition, Professor Christopher John Smith, editor-in-chief of the journal Foods, described Zhang as a “rising star in the field of food science and technology.”
Zhang focuses his research on foods for health and wellness with an emphasis on the roles of bioactive lipids in colonic inflammation and colon cancer. He served as a postdoc in the Hammock laboratory from 2010 to 2013.
“This is fantastic news,” said Hammock, who holds a joint appointment in the Department of Entomology and Nematology and the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. “I am so pleased over the award recognizing Guodong for his contributions to nutrition, cancer and gastrointestinal health. Since graduate school, he has based his work on innovative physiology, nutrition, and biochemistry, with all studies on a firm analytical basis. In our laboratory, he was the perfect postdoctoral fellow, bringing new technologies to UC Davis and rapidly integrating into UC Davis projects."
"Guodong was broadly collaborative at Davis and internationally,” Hammock noted. "He was a wonderful mentor and colleague to others in the lab while here, and has continued since, leaving not only to collaborate here but to forge wonderful international collaborations. Guodong is a star in all ways. He sent us two outstanding postgraduate scientists Yuxin Wang and Weicang Wang (trained in Zhang's UMass lab), who, like their mentor, have been wonderfully innovative and productive scientists at Davis.”
As the award recipient, Zhang will receive an honorarium of 2000 Swiss francs, or $2,206 in American funds; publication of a peer-reviewed paper in Foods; and an engraved plaque.
Zhang has an “outstanding publication record, comprising 73 publications in peer-reviewed international journals and 4 international patents,” said Smith, who also called attention to his grants. Zhang serves as the principal investigator (PI) of grants totaling $1.7 million, and he is the co-PI of grants totaling $5.1 million. “This is an outstanding achievement in today's competitive environment,” Smith said.
Guodong holds a bachelor of science degree in chemistry (2003) from Xi'an Jiaotong University, China, and a master's degree in chemistry (2005) from the National University of Singapore. He received his doctorate in food science in 2010 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
As a postdoctoral fellow in the Hammock laboratory, "my research was about bioactive lipids on angiogenesis and cancer," Guodong said. Reflecting on his years in the Hammock lab, he said: "During this period, 2010-2013, I received comprehensive training in pharmacology and oncology. I really want to thank the mentorship and support from Dr. Hammock: for taking the time to discuss the experiments, provide career advice, help me with personal issues, and hike together in the Bay Area. The days in Davis are some of my best life moments.”
Zhang joined the faculty of the UMass Department of Food Science as an assistant professor in 2013, and in 2014, joined the faculty of the UMass Molecular and Cell Biology Program. In 2019, he advanced to associate professor with tenure.
The recipient of a number of high honors and awards, Zhang won the 2020 Samuel Cate Prescott Award from the Institute of Food Technologists, and the 2019 Young Scientist Research Award from the American Oil Chemists' Society.
Foods is an international, scientific, peer-reviewed, open access journal of food science and is published monthly online by the Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI).