- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
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.