The UC Davis recipients, as announced today:
Molecular geneticist/physiologist Joanna Chiu, vice chair of the department, associate professor and Chancellor's Fellow, won the Physiology, Biochemistry, and Toxicology Award. The annual award is presented to an individual who has an outstanding record of accomplishment in at least one of the entomological sub-disciplines of physiology, biochemistry, and toxicology.
Pollination ecologist Neal Williams, professor, won the Plant-Insect Ecosystems Award. The annual award is given to an individual with outstanding accomplishments in the study of insect interrelationships with plants.
Doctoral candidate and ant specialist Brendon Boudinot who studies with Professor Phil Ward, won the 2019 John Henry Comstock Graduate Student Award, the top graduate student award. This award is based on academic record, leadership, public service activities, participation in professional activities, and publications.
They will be honored at PBESA's 103rd annual meeting, to take place March 31 - April 3 in San Diego, California.
The University of California accounted for eight of the 12 PBESA awards, with UC Davis winning four, UC Riverside, three, and the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR), one.
Joanna Chiu, Physiology, Biochemistry, and Toxicology Award
"Dr. Chiu not only excels in unique and cutting-edge research, both basic and applied, but has distinguished herself in mentoring, teaching and service contributions,” said Steve Nadler, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, who nominated her for the award.
She studies how genes and proteins regulate animal physiology and behavior in response to changes in environment and resources. Her research involves molecular genetics of animal behavior, circadian rhythm biology, and posttranslational regulation of proteins. Major grants from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation fund her research.
Chiu investigates the regulation of animal circadian rhythms in her laboratory by using a combination of molecular genetics, biochemical, genomic, proteomic, and metabolomic approaches. Her overall research goal: to dissect the molecular and cellular mechanisms that control the circadian clock in animals, and to investigate how this endogenous timer interacts with the environment and cellular metabolism to drive rhythms of physiology and behavior.
Neal Williams, Plant-Insect Ecosystems Award
"Dr. Williams is widely known and respected for his excellence in research, extension, outreach, teaching, leadership and mentoring," said Nadler. “He is a leading voice in the development of collaborative research on insect ecology. He has organized national and international conferences, leads scores of working groups, and guides reviews of impacts of land use and other global change drivers on insects and the services they provide.”
Williams focuses his research on the ecology and evolution of bees and other pollinator insects and their interactions with flowering plants. His work is particularly timely given concern over the global decline in bees and other pollinators.
In July, Williams will co-chair the Fourth International Conference on Pollinator Biology, Health and Policy at UC Davis. The four-day conference, themed “Multidimensional Solutions to Current and Future Threats to Pollinator Health,” will highlight recent research advances in the biology and health of pollinators, and link to policy implications.
Brendon Boudinot, John Henry Comstock Graduate Student Award
Brendon Boudinot was praised for his academic record, leadership, public service activities, participation in professional activities, and his publications. “A highly respected scientist, teacher and leader with a keen intellect, unbridled enthusiasm, and an incredible penchant for public service, Brendon maintains a 4.00 grade point average; has published 12 outstanding publications on insect systematics (some are landmarks or ground-breaking publications); and engages in exceptional academic, student and professional activities,” Nadler wrote.
Active in PBESA and ESA, Boudinot received multiple “President's Prize” awards for his research presentations at national ESA meetings. He organized the ESA symposium, “Evolutionary and Phylogenetic Morphology,” at the 2018 meeting in Vancouver, B.C. , and delivered a presentation on “Male Ants: Past, Present and Prospects” at the 2016 International Congress of Entomology meeting in Orlando, Fla.
Boudinot served on—and anchored—three of the UC Davis Linnaean Games teams that won national or international ESA championships. The Linnaean Games are a lively question-and-answer, college bowl-style competition on entomological facts played between university-sponsored student teams.
Boudinot has served as president of the UC Davis Entomology Graduate Student Association since 2006, and is active in the campuswide UC Davis Picnic Day; he has co-chaired the department's Picnic Day Committee since 2017.
Jessica Gillung, Early Career Award
Jessica Gillung studied for her doctorate with major professor Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and professor of entomology. “Dr. Gillung has made outstanding contributions to entomology, shown commitment to extension or outreach, and excelled in entomological education,” Kimsey wrote in her letter of nomination. “In one word: she is ‘phenomenal.' Gillung most recently won the “Best Student Presentation Award” at the ninth annual International Congress of Dipterology, held in Windhoek, Namibia, and the 2018 PBESA Student Leadership Award. Her dissertation was titled: “Systematics and Phylogenomics of Spider Flies (Diptera, Acroceridae).”
Kimsey praised her phenomenal leadership activities, her nearly straight-A academic record (3.91 grade point average), her excellence as an entomologist and teacher, and her incredible publication record. “Note that she has 11 refereed publications on her thesis organisms in very strong journals,” Kimsey wrote. “Most entomologists do not publish nearly that much, even as a postdoctoral scholar or a junior faculty member!”
As a postdoctoral researcher at Cornell University in the Bryan Danforth lab, Gillung is researching Apoidea (stinging wasps and bees) phylogenomics, evolution and diversification.
PBESA Award Recipients
The complete list of PBESA recipients:
- CW Woodworth: Elizabeth Grafton-Cardwell, UC Riverside.
- PBESA Award for Excellence in Teaching: Allan Felsot, Washington State University
- PBESA Award for Excellence in Extension: Surendra Dara, UC Cooperative Extension
- PBESA Award for Excellence in Integrated Pest Management: Silvia Rondon, Oregon State University
- PBESA Systematics, Evolution, and Biodiversity Award: Christiane Weirauch, UC Riverside
- PBESA Physiology, Biochemistry, and Toxicology Award: Joanna Chiu, UC Davis
- PBESA Medical, Urban, and Veterinary Entomology Award: Rebecca Maguire, Washington State University
- PBESA Plant-Insect Ecosystems Award: Neal Williams, UC Davis
- PBESA Distinction in Student Mentoring Award: Gerhard Gries, Simon Frazier University, British Columbia
- PBESA Excellence in Early Career Award: Jessica Gillung, UC Davis
- John Henry Comstock Graduate Student Award: Brendon Boudinot, UC Davis
- PBESA Student Leadership Award: Kelsey McCalla, UC Riverside
PBESA is one of six branches of the Entomological Society of America (ESA). Founded in 1889, ESA is the world's largest organization serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and individuals in related disciplines. It is comprised of more than 7000 members, who are affiliated with educational institutions, health agencies, private industry, and government. Members are researchers, teachers, extension service personnel, administrators, marketing representatives, research technicians, consultants, students, pest management professionals, and hobbyists.
His lecture is from 4:10 to 5 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 26 in 122 Briggs Hall, announced seminar coordinator Geoffrey Attardo, assistant professor and medical entomologist, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
Hoddle, an Extension specialist, received his bachelor's degree (1988) and master's degree (1991) in zoology from the University of Auckland, New Zealand. He holds a doctorate in entomology (1996) from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Since 1997, Hoddle has focused his research on biological control as a tool to reduce the impact of invasive pest species to agriculture, urban and natural areas, with a primary focus on issues affecting California. These programs, he says, often require long periods of overseas research in the home range of the target pest and searching for and studying natural enemies for possible use in biological control.
Hoddle received the Entomological Society of America's "Recognition Award in Entomology" in 2007, after earlier winning the the Pacific Branch of ESA award.
All seminars will take place on Wednesdays at 4:10 in 122 Briggs Hall, located on Kleiber Hall Drive.
Wednesday, Oct. 3
Daniel Karp, assistant professor in the UC Davis Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology: "Harmonizing Biodiversity Conservation with Agricultural Production Across Working Landscapes"
Host: Jay Rosenheim, professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
Wednesday, Oct. 10
Geoffrey Attardo, assistant professor in Department of Entomology and Nematology: "Comparative Genomic Anaylsis of the Tsetse Fly: The Genetics of Lactation, Seminal Proteins and Other Unique Adaptations"
Wednesday, Oct. 17
Arnaud Martin, assistant professor of biology, George Washington University: "Do Butterflies Dream of Genetic Tattoos? Exploring the Genotype-Phenotype Map Using CRISPR"
Host: Geoffrey Attardo
Wednesday, Oct. 24
Naoki Yamanaka, assistant professor, UC Riverside: "A Membrane Transporter Is Required for Cellular Uptake of Ecdysone"
Host: Geoffrey Attardo
Wednesday, Oct. 31
Fred Wolf, assistant professor, UC Merced: (tentative title) "Drunken Drosophila and the Coding of Brain Plasticity"
Host: Joanna Chiu, associate professor and vice chair, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
Wednesday, Nov. 7
Lark Coffey, assistant professor in the Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine: "Zika Virus in Macaques, Mice and Mosquitoes: Contrasting Virulence and Transmissibility in Disparate Hosts"
Host: Geoffrey Attardo
Wednesday, Nov. 14
(No seminar; Entomological Society of America's annual meeting takes place from Nov. 11-14 in Vancouver, B.C.)
Wednesday, Nov. 21
(No seminar; Thanksgiving week)
Wednesday, Nov. 28
Robert Page, Provost emeritus of the University of Arizona and emeritus professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology: "Reverse Engineering Social Structure in Honey Bees: a 25-Year Journey"
Host: Steve Nadler, professor and chair, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
Wednesday, Dec. 5
Cindy Preto, recent graduate (master's degree in entomology from UC Davis, Frank Zalom lab) "Behavior and Biology of the Three-Cornered Alfalfa Hopper in Vineyards."
Host: Frank Zalom, distinguished professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
For more information on the seminars, contact Attardo at email@example.com.
Ella Mae Noffsinger, 84, who retired in 1991 as the senior museum scientist in charge of the UC Davis Nematode Collection, passed away March 22, 2018 in Woodland. She was a longtime resident of Palm Gardens Assisted Living, Woodland.
Noffsinger was instrumental in the development of the nematode collection, and collaborated with many nematologists in the description of species, said Steve Nadler, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. Active in the Society of Nematologists (SOM) when few women were participating, she served on the SOM executive board and as the editor of the Nematology Newsletter, as well as numerous other committees.
During her career, her research and work took her from Colorado to Wisconsin to Chile: from the Beet Sugar Development Foundation in Fort Collins, to the University of Wisconsin, in Madison, and to Santiago, Chile, from 1967 to 1969. She worked with UC Davis nematologist M. W. Allen for many years.
A native of Center, Colo., she was born into the rural ranching family of Doc and Ruth Noffsinger on March 15, 1934. She received her bachelor's degree at what is now Colorado State University, and her master's degree in 1958 from California State University in zoology.
After retiring, she spent most of her time along the coast of Brookings, Ore., enjoying fishing, and other coastal pursuits. She is preceded in death by her parents and brothers. Survivors include her many nieces and nephews, as well as her close friends in the Woodland and Davis area.
Memorial donations may be made to the Salvation Army, "or the charity of your choice," her family indicated.
History of Nematology at UC Davis
Ecologist Louie Yang, associate professor of entomology, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, is the recipient of a major academic advising award.
NACADA, also known as the Global Community for Academic Advising, singled him out as the winner of the Faculty Advisor Award of Excellence in Pacific Region 9, comprised of California, Nevada and Hawaii.
Yang will be honored at the Pacific Region 9 meeting set for March 21-23 in Santa Rosa. NCADA promotes students' success by advancing the field of academic advising globally.
"Dr. Yang excels in fostering creative and critical thinking, challenging his students to succeed by linking their academic studies to research and other career goals," said Steve Nadler, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomolgy and Nematology. "His mentees not only include undergraduate and graduate students, but high school students and postdoctoral scholars and beyond. He attends to the unique needs and interests of each student, respecting their perspectives and ideas. Mentorship, he finds, is really about helping students identify the questions that they want to ask. His success is their success."
An important part of his advising is his work in the Research Scholars Program in Insect Biology (RSPIB), a campuswide program co-founded by Jay Rosenheim, Joanna Chiu and Yang. Aware that some of the most important skills for research biologists cannot be taught in big lecture halls or even in lab courses, they set out to help students learn cutting-edge research through close mentoring relationships with faculty. The program crosses numerous biological fields, including population biology; behavior and ecology; biodiversity and evolutionary ecology; agroecology; genetics and molecular biology; biochemistry and physiology; entomology; and cell biology. The goal? To provide academically strong and highly motivated undergraduates with a multi-year research experience that cultivates skills that will prepare them for a career in biological research.
In addition to RSPIB mentoring, Yang mentors many undergraduates in his lab. He has welcomed and mentored students from UC Davis and from around the country with the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program (Natalie Gonzalez and Jacob Penner) and the UC Davis-Howard University Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Ecology & Evolution Graduate Admissions Pathways (EEGAP) program (Kabian Ritter).
In the past year, Yang mentored 15 undergrads in his lab in studies that included: the nonconsumptive effects on monarch development to see if parasitoid avoidance behaviors in early development have a long-term cost for monarch development; the factors that contribute to herbivory by generalist herbivores on milkweed;the effects of a recently observed plant foliar fungal pathogen on milkweed on monarch growth and development; the costs of switching milkweed species for monarch larvae; and the density dependence in larval and adult blue milkweed beetles
Yang, who joined the UC Davis faculty in 2009, teaches Insect Ecology and Field Ecology. He holds a bachelor's degree (ecology and evolution) from Cornell University, 1999 and received his doctorate from UC Davis in 2006. His goals as an advisor are three-fold:
- To be honest to the unique needs and interests of each student. "I aim to assess the advising needs of each student individually, recognizing that these needs can change quickly. I listen and watch, try not to make too many assumptions, and remind myself to expect the unexpected. Science is a human endeavor, and the same diversity of ideas and perspectives that fuels scientific progress means that each scientist needs different advising to succeed. In many cases, I have found that the primary task of mentorship is helping students identify the questions that they want to ask. I seek to respect each student's unique perspective and interests, and to believe what they say."
- To facilitate intellectual independence. "My aim is to help students transition from being consumers of knowledge to becoming producers of knowledge. This transition requires giving students the intellectual freedom to learn from their own decisions. I aim to maintain appropriate humility when I provide advice; when working at the limits of available knowledge, I believe that we usually recognize the best decisions only in hindsight, and the best outcomes often result from a willingness to capitalize on unexpected events. As a research advisor, I am committed to the long-term success of each student, but encourage students to exercise their intellectual courage and curiosity, even at the risk of short-term failures. We develop as scientists by making our own mistakes, and using those mistakes to improve our judgment. I remind myself allow enough gaps in my advising to allow students to learn first from their interactions with nature.
- To learn from his students. "I believe that mentorship should be a two-way street, and I expect my students to develop the knowledge and confidence to teach me things that I don't know. As scientists, we are motivated by learning new things, and this is a model of advising that is intellectually engaging and sustainable over the long-term. More importantly, it gives my students the opportunity to become experts and teachers, and to view themselves as intellectual colleagues and contributors."
Former student Allyson Earl, now a researcher in Guam, credits Yang with shaping her academic career: "I had the pleasure of working under Louie Yang for the last year of my undergraduate degree at UC Davis as one of his research assistants. I watched as he worked tirelessly with several other student assistants in the lab on personal projects focused on our study subjects, Monarch butterflies. His mentorship style in these projects was one that guided students to draw their own conclusions rather than handing them answers, leading them to ask more complex questions and develop themselves as better students and scientists. I can say with confidence, he not only nurtured my desire to study the intricacies of ecology, but also to pursue a career in this field, without his guidance and support I would not be where I am today."
Yang also launched the Monitoring Milkweed-Monarch Interactions for Learning and Conservation (MMMILC) Project in 2013 for high school students in the environmental science program at Davis Senior High School or those associated with the Center for Land-Based Learning's GreenCorps program. They monitor milkweed-monarch interactions in a project funded by the National Science Foundation. Yang and UC Davis undergraduate and graduate students serve as mentors.
Yang strongly supports student diversity, under-represented groups, and graduate education. Two of his undergrads, including one Latina, were supported by a supplemental Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU). He has mentored graduate students from the Entomology Graduate Group, the Graduate Group in Ecology and the Population Biology Graduate Group. He serves on many guidance, exam and advising committees. He also has participated in mentoring workshops at the Center for Population Biology.
Yang earlier was selected faculty recipient of the 2017 Eleanor and Harry Walker Academic Advising Award from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CA&ES).
Sue Ebeler, associate dean of Undergraduate Academic Programs, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, praised Yang's focus on student diversity, his efforts in helping students link their academic studies to research and other career goals, and his innovative programs working with high school students and connecting these students with undergraduate and graduate student mentors.
The Associated Students of UC Davis nominated him for an Excellence in Education Award in 2012. He received a prestigious National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award of $600,000 in 2013.
His abstract: "His abstract: "Plant infections by root-knot nematodes and the soil-borne fungal pathogen Fusarium oxysporum, which causes vascular wilt, either alone or in disease complexes, result in serious crop losses. Our analyses of host resistance in cowpea and cotton genomes has revealed a rich resource of resistance factors to both pathogens, which are being used in breeding programs for crop improvement."
Of his research, Roberts says: "My research focuses on the integrated management of plant parasitic nematodes. A major emphasis is placed on the identification, characterization, and development of host plant resistance to root-knot nematodes for genetic improvement of crops. Current work includes studies of resistance gene inheritance, development of gene markers, genome mapping, and gene transfer."
He organizes his research on the genetic resistance and associated traits in crop plants to root-knot nematodes in the areas of:
- identifying new sources of resistance genes;
- nature, inheritance and molecular characterization of resistance genes;
- introgressing resistance for breeding line and crop improvement for warm/arid environments using classical and novel techniques;
- assessing and implementing resistant and tolerant lines and cultivars in the field in appropriate cropping systems; and
- studying variability of parasitic specificity within and between nematode species
Host is Steve Nadler, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. This is the department's last seminar of the fall quarter.