The 10 Fellows were announced today.
Hoover, who received her doctorate in entomology from UC Davis in June, 1997, studied with major professors Sean Duffey (1943-1997) and Bruce Hammock. Hoover joined the PSU faculty as an assistant professor in 1998, achieving full professor in 2010.
Hoover's areas of expertise include biology and ecology of invasive species, insect-microbial symbiosis, tritrophic interactions, insect virology, and pollination of forest trees.
She is active in PSU's Center for Chemical Ecology, Center for Pollinator Research, and the Insect Biodiversity Center.
“Hoover is internationally recognized for uncovering detailed mechanisms of how phytochemicals reduce mortality by baculoviruses through physiological impacts on the larva's midgut (epithelial cells and peritrophic matrix,” said nominator Gary Felton, professor and head of the PSU Department of Entomology. Hoover and her co-advisors “patented baculovirus formulation additives that counteract these physiological effects, and thus increase the sensitivity of larvae to infections.”
“Kelli was a delight to have in the laboratory at UC Davis,” said Hammock, now a UC Davis distinguished professor who holds a joint appointment with the Department of Entomology and Nematology and the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. “She started her Ph.D. at Davis at an exciting time when we were trying to move recombinant baculoviruses into practical agriculture as green pesticides. Among the laboratories of Sean Duffey, Susumu Maeda, Kevin Heinz and extramural collaborators around the world, we had an exciting critical mass ranging, including virology, peptide chemistry, scorpion venoms, genetic engineering, pest management and others.”
“Kelli's interest in tritrophic interactions and her outgoing and engaging personality were just what was needed to pull the team together,” said Hammock, a 2010 Fellow. “As one would expect, Kelli's talents in science and leadership have served her well at Penn State. There her baculovirus work transitioned into a broader program in gypsy moth control and the invasion of the Asian longhorned beetle provided an opportunity to look at gut symbionts. Every project that Kelli touches seems to yield exciting results with practical implications. I am thrilled that the ESA has recognized what a star she is in our field.”
UC Davis doctoral alumnus Bryony Bonning, a professor at the University of Florida and a 2013 ESA Fellow, commented that “Kelli is so deserving of this award.”
“I worked with Kelli for two, delightful years at UC Davis, and was particularly impressed by the number of undergraduate students that she managed to mentor at the bench!” Bonning said. “Since then, she has established a stellar research program that has recently focused on both the fundamental biology and management solutions for invasive pests including Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) and spotted lantern fly. Analysis of ALB semiochemicals resulted in a blend now sold by two companies and used in North America and Europe for ALB management."
“In collaboration with engineers, she has also spearheaded development of a method to prevent introduction of invasive species in the wood packing associated with international shipments,” Bonning noted. “This dielectric heating technology, used to treat and kill insects hidden in the wood packing, is at the stage of commercial equipment prototype. These examples reflect both the interdisciplinary breadth of Kelli's research program and the seamless melding of science to address fundamental questions that lead to practical solutions. This breadth of scope and ability to identify commercially useful components of the system is a relatively rare phenotype among entomologists! Further, Kelli is driven to engage the necessary parties (scientists, stakeholders, policy makers) toward implementation of strategies to prevent or manage the impact of invasive species on U.S. agriculture."
In his nomination letter, Felton, a 2014 ESA Fellow, said that Hoover excels in research, teaching, and service. “There are three key attributes that stand out in Dr. Hoover's research contributions: interdisciplinary, collaborative, and integrative,” he wrote. “Hoover's program encompasses research, education, outreach and service related to the biology of and solutions for invasive species threats, in forest, ornamental, and agricultural systems. She integrates basic and applied research in multi-trophic interactions, microbial symbioses, invasion biology, and insect physiology.”
For 19 years, Hoover has collaborated with industrial engineers and national and international regulatory agencies “to develop a novel technology (patents pending) to reduce the risk of pathways that can introduce alien forest pests through international trade,” Felton wrote. “She has used her studies to create a platform for education and training of a diverse group of undergraduates, graduate students, and post-graduate scholars. Since Hoover's interdisciplinary approach allows her to interact with and serve as a bridge between multiple disciplines and diverse stakeholders, she has initiated broad networking opportunities for members of these communities by organizing and leading multi-disciplinary research teams, symposia, and international conferences.”
Asian Longhorned Beetle, Gypsy Moth
“The vast majority of Hoover's studies focuses on basic and applied research on invasive species, such as the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) and gypsy moth and most recently the spotted lanternfly,” Felton wrote. “Hoover and collaborators investigated semiochemical communication in ALB in an effort to help regulatory agencies detect and monitor ALB in the field, especially at low densities. Hoover and colleagues took the male-produced volatile sex pheromone (discovered by USDA/ARS) and conducted years of basic lab and field research to produce a commercially available ALB lure (pheromones and kairomones) and trapping system, which primarily captures virgin females. The blend developed by Hoover and her team is sold by two major pheromone companies and has been used in North America, Germany, Britain, Switzerland and Italy. She and collaborators also characterized behavioral responses to a putative female-produced trail pheromone that elicits following behavior by males.”
Hoover is also heavily involved in preventing the introduction of invasive species. Her research draws support from governmental grant programs, commodity groups and the private sector. She is currently the principal investigator or co-PI on grants totaling $10 million, with $1.62 million directly supporting her program, Felton said, adding that she has actively collaborated with researchers in Europe, China, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.
Felton described her as “an effective educator and mentor of the next generation of scientists.”
She has mentored 43 undergraduates, 11 PhD and 10 masters students, and 13 postdoctoral scholars, “many of whom have received prestigious awards and fellowships.”
High Impact Interdisciplinary Research
“While making new discoveries through basic research, she continues to strive to apply the outcomes of that research by actively engaging other scientists, stakeholder groups, and policymakers within Pennsylvania, nationally, and globally to make a difference -- to prevent and/or manage the consequences of invasive species on our ecosystems,” Felton wrote. “Her ability to conduct high impact interdisciplinary research and integrate transformational and translation research is truly outstanding.”
Born in Lubbock, Texas, but raised in the south San Francisco area,Kelli received her bachelor of science degree in 1979 from UC Berkeley, with honors, majoring in the biology of natural resources. She obtained her master's degree in biology, with an emphasis on entomology, from San Jose State University in 1992 before joining the doctoral program at UC Davis. After a year as a President's Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Berkeley, she joined the faculty in the Department of Entomology at PSU in 1998.
Active in ESA since 1996, Hoover has judged student competitions at 10 national meetings. She has organized numerous national or branch meeting symposia and served as a subject editor for Environmental Entomology. She chaired or co-chaired organizing committees for three annual meetings of the International Society for Invertebrate Pathology and held the office of treasurer for four years.
Fellows of ESA are individuals who have made outstanding contributions to entomology— via research, teaching, extension, administration, military service, and public engagement and science policy —and whose career accomplishments serve to inspire all entomologists, according to the ESA, a worldwide organization with a membership of some 7000.
The American Entomologist announced the award in a recent edition.
Bonning serves as the Davies, Fischer and Eckes Eminent Scholar Chair and director of the Center for Arthropod Management Technologies (CAMTech), a National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center.
A 1990-1994 postdoctoral research associate in the Bruce Hammock lab, where she researched genetic engineering and optimization of baculovirus insecticides, Bonning is the third Hammock lab recipient of the prestigious PBT award. Hammock, now a UC Davis distinguished professor who holds a joint appointment with the Department of Entomology and Nematology and the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, won the award in 1998, the second year of its presentation. Thomas Sparks, Hammock's first graduate student, received it in 2018.
“During the course of her career, Dr. Bonning has made significant advances in (1) fundamental understanding of stink bug digestive physiology, (2) the genetic optimization of baculovirus insecticides, (3) novel approaches for the development of insect resistant transgenic plants,” wrote the nominating team, which included Hammock.
“We were together for a year in Oxford, making the first recombinant baculoviruses," Hammock related. Following her postdoctoral appointments at the Natural Environment Research Council Institute of Virology in Oxford, UK and at UC Davis, Bonning joined the faculty at Iowa State University, serving from 1994 to 2017 when she accepted her current position in Florida.
"Her husband, Jeff Beetham, got his PhD. with me in biochemistry," Hammock said, "and worked on recombinant baculovirus pesticides and cloned and expressed the human soluble epoxide hydrolase, among other projects.”
Recalling the years they were at UC Davis, Hammock commented that he, Bonning and Beethan and the late Sean Duffey (1943-1997) "and crew used to run 5 to 7 miles four times a week." At the time of his death, Duffey was serving as vice chair of the entomology department.
The PBT award is based on research contributions, quality and originality of research; quality of publications; evaluation by colleagues peers and constituents;impact of research findings on the understanding of the subject; participation and leadership in honor and professional societies; and awards, honors and special recognitions.
Chemical ecologist Walter Leal, UC Davis distinguished professor, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, and a former chair of the entomology department, received the PBT award in 2008. The list of previous award winners is here.
The 7000-member Entomological Society of America, founded in 1889, is comprised of educators, extension personnel, consultants, students, researchers, and scientists from agricultural departments, health agencies, private industries, colleges and universities, and state and federal governments.
Professor Bryony Bonning of Iowa State University, a former postdoctoral researcher in the Bruce Hammock lab, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, has accepted an endowed chair position at the University of Florida, Gainesville.
Effective in February, she will be the Eminent Scholar (Davies, Fischer and Eckes Endowed Chair), in the University of Florida's Department of Entomology and Nematology. The position will encompass both research (80 percent, Florida Agricultural Experiment Station) and teaching (20 percent, Entomology and Nematology Department, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences). The endowed chair position currently includes an endowment of $2.3 million.
Bonning, who joined the ISU faculty 22 years ago, serves as the founding director of the National Science Foundation's Center for Arthropod Management Technologies (CAMTech), and oversees cutting edge research on insect physiology and insect pathology with the goal of developing novel, environmentally benign alternatives to chemical insecticides for insect pest management.
“Bryony is a star in our department,” said distinguished professor Bruce Hammock of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. “Bryony and I worked together at the NERC (Natural Environment Research Council) Institute of Virology and Environmental Microbiology at Oxford and she came back to UC Davis with me as a postdoc.”
“Bryony did amazing work on recombinant baculovirus insecticides working with Susumu Maeda, Sean Duffy and myself,” Hammock said. Another UC Davis connection: Bonning married Jeff Beetham, a Ph.D. student (biochemistry) in the Hammock lab; he recently retired from a faculty position in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Iowa State University.
“Dr. Bonning brings an outstanding record of accomplishment and cooperation, and we are confident she will work tirelessly to develop solutions for citrus pest management,” said Blair Siegfried, chair of the UF/IFAS entomology and nematology department in a news release. “Her combined experience and achievements make her ideally suited and deserving of the position.”
A fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Bonning was elected a fellow of the Entomological Society of America in 2013 and received the Nan-Yao Su Award for Innovation and Creativity in Entomology that same year. She is the 2016 recipient of Iowa State University Outstanding Achievement in Research Award.
The author of more than 110 papers in high-impact journals, Bonning holds five patents related to insect control technologies. She is developing novel methods for controlling the Asian citrus psyllid, the vector of citrus greening.
Bonning received her bachelor of science degree in zoology from the University of Durham, UK and her doctorate in entomology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London, UK. She went on to postdoctoral appointments at the Natural Environment Research Council Institute of Virology in Oxford, UK and at UC Davis.
Bonning is one of only 10 Fellows elected this year in the 6500-member ESA “for outstanding contributions to entomology in one or more of the following: research, teaching, extension, or administration.”
The 10 will be honored at ESA’s annual meeting set Nov. 10-13 in Austin, Texas. Other 2013 Fellows with UC connections are Jocelyn Millar, entomology professor at UC Riverside, and Jeffery G. Scott of Cornell University, who received his doctorate in entomology and toxicology from UC Riverside.
“Bryony is a star in our department,” said distinguished professor Bruce Hammock of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. Hammock was elected an ESA Fellow in 2010.
“Bryony and I worked together at the NERC (Natural Environment Research Council) Institute of Virology and Environmental Microbiology at Oxford and she came back to UC Davis with me as a postdoc,” Hammock said.
“Bryony did amazing work on recombinant baculovirus insecticides working with Susumu Maeda, Sean Duffy and myself,” Hammock said. “She and Kelli Hoover, now a professor at Pennsylvania State University, were partners in my lab.”
Another UC Davis connection: Bonning married Jeff Beetham, a Ph.D. student in the Hammock lab and now a professor at Iowa State University’s School of Veterinary Medicine.
Bonning joined the faculty of ISU in 1994. She oversees fundamental and applied research on insect physiology and insect pathology with the goal of developing novel, environmentally benign alternatives to chemical insecticides for insect pest management. Her research has included the study of insect hormones and enzymes and insecticidal toxins derived from Bacillus thuringiensis, insect small RNA, the genetic optimization of insect viruses for pest management, insect virus discovery, and the use of viral proteins for development of insect resistant transgenic plants. Recent research has included modification of Bt toxins to target hemipteran pests which typically have low susceptibility to native Bt toxins, and the use of the coat protein of an aphid-vectored plant virus for delivery of insect specific neurotoxins to their target site within the aphid hemocoel.
Bonning is the founding director of the Center for Arthropod Management Technologies (CAMTech), a research center supported by the National Science Foundation, industry, and universities. CAMTech engages scientists at ISU and its sister institution, the University of Kentucky, in collaborative efforts with the world’s largest agricultural and insect pest control companies to better align research conducted within academe with the need of industry for practical pest management solutions. Bonning met the co-director at the University of Kentucky site, Dr. S. Reddy Palli, through a collaborative project while at Davis.
Bonning has mentored more than 30 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers and teaches insect pathology and molecular entomology at the graduate level. Over the course of her career, she has authored or co-authored more than 110 scientific papers, reviews, and book chapters, and holds five patents. Her work has been funded by diverse research agencies, including the National Science Foundation and USDA. She has served as associate editor for the Journal of Invertebrate Pathology, as council trustee and chair of the Virus Division and program chair for the Society for Invertebrate Pathology, and on the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses, Baculovirus Study Group and Dicistrovirus and Iflavirus Study Group. Her accomplishments were recognized by the Iowa Technology Association through the Iowa Women of Innovation Award for Research Innovation and Leadership. She is a fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Bonning received her bachelor's degree in zoology from the University of Durham, UK, in 1985, with specialization in entomology and neurobiology, and her doctorate in applied entomology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London, UK in 1989.
While enrolled in college in the UK, she did field work on the detection and monitoring of insecticide resistance mechanisms in mosquitoes with the Anti-Malaria Campaign in Colombo, Sri Lanka; she was funded by the Overseas Development Administration. Bonning also did regional monitoring and field trials for biological or chemical control of arthropod and nematode pests in Derbyshire, UK, with the Department of Entomology, Ministry of Agriculture, Fishers and Food,Agricultural Development and Advisory Service.
After receiving her doctorate from the University of London, Bonning worked from 1989 to 1990 as a higher scientific officer with the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Institute of Virology and Environmental Microbiology, Oxford, in Robert Possee’s lab, where she met Hammock during his sabbatical. She then moved to California to join the Hammock lab as a postdoctoral researcher.
On her last visit to UC Davis, on April 18, 2012, Bonning delivered an entomology seminar on "Novel Toxin Delivery Strategies for Management of Pestiferous Aphids.”
At the time Hammock said. "She is one of our most productive alumni in continuing her work on insect developmental biology and green pesticides based on insect viruses and expanded this dramatically into exciting new areas. She is advancing fundamental virology while applying this knowledge in production agriculture in both insect control and in blocking transmission of plant diseases by insects. She clearly is the leader in insect control with recombinant viruses.”