ESA Recognizes 2016 Fellows
Annapolis, MD; July 26, 2016 – The Governing Board of the Entomological Society of America (ESA) has elected 10 new Fellows of the Society for 2016. Election as a Fellow acknowledges outstanding contributions to entomology in one or more of the following: research, teaching, extension, or administration. The following Fellows will be recognized during the the 2016 International Congress of Entomology, which will be held September 25-30, 2016 in Orlando, Florida.
Dr. Ernest S. (Del) Delfosse, professor and former chairperson of the Department of Entomology at Michigan State University (MSU), is internationally known for research on biological control, integrated pest management (IPM), tritrophic ecology, risk analysis, science-based biological control regulations, and administrative leadership.
Del was born in 1949 in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. His earliest recollection of collecting insects is stepping in a yellow jacket nest at about the age of five. Fortunately, he was wearing thick denim dungarees, which trapped hundreds of the wasps, preventing him from being stung. He received a B.Sc. in biology (University of Louisville, 1971), an M.Sc. in entomology (South Dakota State University, 1972), and a Ph.D. in entomology (University of Florida, 1975). He became research entomologist and supervisor at the Lee County Hyacinth Control District in Ft. Myers, Florida (1976-1979). He joined the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Canberra, Australia (1979-1991), where he became a principal research scientist and research leader. He returned to the USA as the first director of the National Biological Control Institute in Hyattsville, Maryland (1991-1996). He became a senior national program leader with the USDA-Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in Beltsville, Maryland (1996-2008). While with ARS, Del was acting laboratory director of the Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory in Sydney, Montana (1991), and acting center director of the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research in Peoria, Illinois (2007). He was chairperson of the Department of Entomology at MSU (2008-2013), and is now a professor there.
Del published 114 papers, abstracts, and invited book chapters on biological control, IPM, risk analysis, and ethics, and edited five books. He had 17 invited consultancies with groups such as the Food and Agriculture Organizationof the United Nations/International Atomic Energy Agency, the Government of South Africa, the Australian House of Representatives’ Standing Committee on Industry, Science, and Technology, USDA, and Bilateral Panels with Mexico; chaired or co-chaired more than 40 conferences and workshops; and chaired over 20 grant panels. He received competitive grant funding of nearly $4 million. He mentored students in the USA, Australia, South Africa, and Europe. He developed the phenology-event relatedness testing procedure to clarify physiological versus ecological host range of biological control agents. Del presented more than 400 talks and posters, including 26 keynote addresses and 48 invited presentations. His service to ESA includes president (2011), chair of Section C (Ecology; 2001); chair of Section Ca (Biological Control; 2000); Environmental Entomology Biological Control subject editor (2002-09); chairing or serving on seven committees; teaching “Responsible Conduct of Research”; and judging student papers and posters. He was the first American to be elected global president of the International Organization for Biological Control (1992-1996). He received more than 20 awards for his administrative leadership and research accomplishments, including three citations from the White House.
Del is an avid fly fisherman, and still avoids yellow jackets. He writes bad poetry and mediocre humorous essays. He has been married to the love of his life, Janet (an artist), for 46 years.
Dr. Sanford D. Eigenbrode is a professor in the Department of Plant, Soil, and Entomological Sciences (PSES) at the University of Idaho, where he is also a university distinguished professor. He pursues research on insect-plant and multitrophic interactions, sustainable production and biodiversity conservation in working landscapes, climate change and agricultural systems, and the science and practice of cross-disciplinary collaboration.
Professor Eigenbrode was born in Evanston, Illinois, in 1948. He grew up principally in Stamford, Connecticut. He attended Cornell University, receiving his B.S. in biology in 1970. He taught chemistry and biology in the Ithaca City School District at the Lehman Alternative School, working closely with its founding director, David Lehman, and the other innovative educators there. In 1983, he returned to Cornell for graduate work, earning an M.S. in natural resources (1986) with David Pimentel and a Ph.D. (1990) with Tony Shelton, conducting research on resistance to diamondback moth in Brassica at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva. After graduation, he worked as a postdoc on host plant resistance in tomato with John Trumble at the University of California, Riverside. In 1993, he moved to the University of Arizona as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the NSF-supported Plant-Insect Interdisciplinary Program directed by Elizabeth Bernays. In 1995, he joined the faculty at the University of Idaho, progressing through the ranks and assuming the position of chair of the Division of Entomology in 2004, serving until 2014.
In science, Eigenbrode has striven to integrate fundamental discovery and application that supports sustainable agriculture. His major accomplishments include elucidating the effects of plant wax structure and chemistry on insect herbivores and their natural enemies, discovering chemically mediated interactions between plant viruses and their aphid vectors, and developing forecasting and decision tools to manage aphids and plant viruses. He has assumed leadership of broadly interdisciplinary projects that include entomology to address challenges to managing production systems and landscapes under drivers of change, most recently as director of a large USDA NIFA-sponsored coordinated agricultural project on cereal production systems of the Pacific Northwest under climate change. His efforts to improve scientific integration have included co-leadership in two NSF-IGERT projects, which has led to NSF-sponsored research on enhancing interdisciplinary communication and collaboration. Eigenbrode has published more than 120 scientific papers, 22 book chapters and review articles, and one co-edited book. He has graduated seven M.S. and five Ph.D. students and currently has one M.S. student in his group. He has mentored seven postdoctoral scientists.
Eigenbrode has presented more than 120 invited presentations at state, national, and international venues. He received numerous institutional awards including the rank of University Distinguished Professor at the University of Idaho, the 2011 Award for Excellence in Research, and the Award for Excellence in Interdisciplinary or Collaborative Efforts or Creative Activity.
His wife, Sara Pepper, works at the Paul Allen School for Global Animal Health at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington, and his daughter, Clare, will attend Beloit College in Wisconsin this fall.
Dr. Marcos Kogan is professor emeritus of agricultural entomology, University of Illinois (UIUC), and professor emeritus of entomology, Oregon State University (OSU). His research focused on the interactions of insects and plants, and mechanisms of constitutive and induced plant resistance to herbivores. He is recognized for work linking ecological theory with integrated pest management (IPM) practice. With emphasis on soybean entomology, he promoted IPM in South America, Africa, and Asia.
Marcos was born in 1933 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he began collecting and identifying insects at age 10. At the age of 20, Marcos married and spent the next four years in Israel. He worked in the fields of a collective farm, gaining appreciation for challenges of practical crop production. His later academic work was firmly rooted within this real-world experience. Marcos returned to Brazil and earned an agronomy degree from the Universidade Rural do Rio de Janeiro in 1961. After graduation he was appointed biologist of the Instituto Oswaldo Cruz (IOC) in Rio. During that period he published papers on the biology and taxonomy of Coleoptera and Strepsiptera, and the biology of tomato and citrus pests. In 1966, with a Guggenheim Fellowship, he pursued a Ph.D. degree in entomology and biological control from the University of California, Riverside, graduating in 1968. The following year, after a short postdoctoral project at UC-Riverside on the taxonomy of a house-fly parasitoid complex, Marcos joined the Illinois Natural History Survey and UIUC. In 1991 he became director of the Integrated Plant Protection Center (IPPC) at OSU. He retired from OSU in 2003. He remains active in retirement studying extant and fossil Strepsiptera and writing on the history of IPM.
Throughout his 55-year career, Marcos authored/edited six books, including the first comprehensive treaty on sampling arthropods in row crops. He co-authored the only IPM textbook integrating entomology, plant pathology, and weed science. In 200+ book chapters, refereed journal and conference papers, and extension publications, he covered a wide range of basic and applied entomology. At UIUC he developed a comprehensive soybean IPM program with strong international components. At OSU he led IPPC to become a center of excellence in IPM integration; focused on the ecological foundations of IPM; and took a lead role in a proposal to implement an area-wide IPM program for the codling moth on pome fruit crops in the three western U.S. states. The program, the first funded through the USDA-ARS, served as model for future area-wide IPM projects in the country. For his work Marcos received several honors, including two Guggenheim Fellowships, an honorary doctorate from his Brazilian alma mater, a USDA-ARS recognition award for technology transfer, and awards from the Brazilian Entomological Society and the Brazilian Soybean Congress for contributions to IPM in Brazil. In 2000 he received the ESA Founders Memorial Award honoring L.D. Newsom.
Marcos has been married for 63 years to Jenny, a librarian and close collaborator; they have two children and three grandsons.
Dr. Douglas Landis, a professor in the Department of Entomology at Michigan State University (MSU), is internationally known for his research on the role of agricultural landscape structure in shaping patterns of insect biodiversity and in regulating arthropod-mediated ecosystem services.
Professor Landis was born in Sellersville, Pennsylvania, in 1958. He received his B.A. in biology in 1981 from Goshen College. He received his M.S. in entomology at North Carolina State in 1984 and his Ph.D. in entomology at North Carolina State in 1987. In 1988 he was a postdoctoral research fellow at North Carolina State University and visiting assistant professor at Duke University, before accepting a position at MSU in 1988. As the MSU field crops extension entomologist, he investigated biological control of the alfalfa weevil, potato leafhopper, and European corn borer. In 1996, he shifted into a research/teaching role at MSU, focusing on insect ecology and biological control. While at MSU, Landis has served as associate director of the Center for Integrated Plant Systems, and in 2013-2104 as interim chairperson of the Department of Entomology. Landis had held research leadership positions in the NSF-funded Kellogg Biological Station Long-Term Ecological Research program since 2003, and as biodiversity team leader in the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center since 2007.
Landis and collaborators pioneered the use of landscape structure to explain and predict the impact of shifting land use on ecosystem services, discovering that simplification of agricultural landscapes is associated with decreased pest suppression and increased reliance on insecticidal controls. Landis has published 135 peer-reviewed papers and 25 book chapters, including the seminal 2000 Annual Review of Entomology’s “Habitat Management to Conserve Natural Enemies of Arthropod Pest in Agriculture.” He has graduated 13 M.S. and eight Ph.D. students while serving on the graduate committees of over 100 students. He has also mentored 17 postdoctoral research scientists and 15 visiting scientists. Eleven of his former advisees hold professorships at U.S. and international institutions, while others serve as research scientists or educators with other universities, U.S. Department of Agriculture, MSU Extension, and in domestic and international nongovernmental organizations.
Landis has presented or coauthored more than 130 invited presentations and 201 contributed presentations. He received an MSU Distinguished Faculty Award (2013) and the Outstanding Alumnus Award from North Carolina State University, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (2013). He was awarded the ESA recognition Award in Entomology (2008) and multiple educational project awards from the Board Certified Entomologists of Mid-America (1996, 2001, and 2007). He has served the International Organization for Biological Control, Nearctic Regional Section, as member at large, secretary/treasurer, and president. He serves on the editorial boards of Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata and Biological Control, and advises international projects in the Netherlands and Argentina.
Landis and Joy, his wife of 37 years, enjoy combining travel with running, hiking, and mountain biking. Their daughter, Allison, is a child therapist, and son, Jonathan, is a technology consultant.
Dr. Ronald J. Nachman is an ST Supergrade scientist at the Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), College Station, Texas. He is internationally known for research on insect neuropeptides, their structural/conformational characterization, physiological/behavioral roles, and design of biostable, bioavailable mimetic analogs as neuroendocrinological tools and as leads in development of novel, safe pest management agents.
Dr. Nachman was born in Maryland in 1954, moved to Colorado in 1955, and then to California in 1963. He attended Revelle College, University of California, San Diego (UCSD), doing undergraduate research on unusual odd-numbered fatty acids in Antarctic organisms at UCSD’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography. He received a B.S. in chemistry from UCSD in 1976, and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Stanford University in 1981 doing neurochemical research. He joined the USDA’s Western Regional Research Center, Albany, California, in 1981, doing research on natural products of poisonous plants. During a post as visiting scientist in Nobel laureate Roger Guillemin’s Laboratory for Neuroendocrinology at the Salk Institute (1985), he shifted his research focus to insect neuropeptides. In a second post as visiting scientist at the Department of Molecular Biology, Scripps Research Institute (1988-1989), he studied the active conformations of insect neuropeptides. He moved to the USDA laboratory in Texas in 1989.
Nachman identified the structure of sulfakinins, sulfated insect neuropeptides with homology to the mammalian gastrin/CCK family and shown to inhibit food intake in several insect species. He established the first active conformation of an insect neuropeptide and the conformations of several others, and utilized that knowledge to develop potent, biostable neuropeptide mimetics that a) prevent cotton bollworm pupal entry into the diapause state (including topically active forms on pupae), thereby inducing them to commit a form of “ecological suicide”; b) reduce desiccation survival in flies; c) block sex pheromone production in heliothines with capability to traverse the cuticle; d) selectively, reversibly disrupt Malpighian tubule fluid secretion in flies; e) match the oral potency of several commercial aphicides; and f) elicit fly-away aversive behavior in mosquitoes and led to the discovery of neuropeptide receptors in the taste neurons of sensilla of leg/mouth parts, opening new targets for discovery of novel deterrents. Nachman has published 235 scientific papers (Science-2, PNAS-9) and seven patents, co-edited four books, was section editor (Invertebrate Neuropeptides) of first and second editions of the Handbook for Biologically Active Peptides, was guest editor for 15 special issues of Peptides on “Invertebrate Neuropeptides,” and serves on editorial advisory boards for Peptides and Pesticides. He serves as president of the Invertebrate Neuropeptide Society of the International Neuropeptide Society (INS), and co-organizes the annual, international Invertebrate Neuropeptide Conference (INC) from 2000 to present.
Major awards have included the Arthur S. Flemming Award (1993), ARS/USDA Distinguished Scientist of the Year Award (2012), Lodz University of Technology Distinguished Medal (2014), INC Invertebrate Neuropeptide Award (2016), and election to Fellow of the INS (2000) and American Association for the Advancement of Science (2011).
He is married to wife Isidora, and they enjoy international travel, photography, and reading.
Dr. Leslie Pick, professor and chair of the Department of Entomology at the University of Maryland (UM), is internationally known for her work on the function and evolution of genes regulating embryonic development in insects, with much of her work using the powerful genetic tools available for the model insect Drosophila melanogaster.
Dr. Pick grew up in the Bronx, New York. She attended the Bronx High School of Science, but not until after graduation from Wesleyan University did she discover her love for science. As a young college graduate unsure of career direction, she was fortunate to get a job as a research technician with renowned developmental geneticist Salome Gluecksohn-Waelsch. She went on to earn a Ph.D. degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine with Jerry Hurwitz (1986), studying biochemical mechanisms involved in RNA processing. Dr. Pick did postdoctoral research with Walter Gehring, Basel, Switzerland, where she began her studies of Drosophila molecular genetics. Dr. Pick took her first faculty position at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, New York City (1990). She moved to the Entomology Department at UM in 2003 and became chair of that department in 2013.
Dr. Pick’s early work investigated the regulation of genes that control embryonic development using Drosophila as a model system. In more recent years, she expanded her research program to study the functional evolution of regulatory genes that had been identified in Drosophila in a range of other insects representing diverse developmental strategies. These “evo-devo” studies have revealed unexpected variation in the expression and function of Hox and other embryonic transcription factors, along with rewiring of regulatory networks controlling insect segmentation. Her studies have also included investigations of insulin signaling pathways, using Drosophila as a model for diabetes. Finally, work in Dr. Pick’s lab is investigating the use of genetic technologies for insect pest control.
Dr. Pick has devoted significant effort throughout the course of her career to mentoring, with an emphasis on graduate education. She served as director of the UM graduate program in molecular and cell biology and is program director for an NIH-T32 training grant that supports graduate students. She has trained nine postdoctoral fellows, 15 graduate students, and numerous technicians, undergraduates, and high school students in her lab.Dr. Pick’s research has been supported by the NIH, NSF, USDA, and private foundations such as the March of Dimes. She has served on grant review panels and as program director at NSF, and received a 2015 UM Distinguished Scholar-Teacher Award. Dr. Pick has published over 50 scholarly articles, and has edited several compilations, most recently a Current Topics in Developmental Biology volume entitled “Fly Models of Human Diseases.”
Dr. Pick resides in Columbia, Maryland, with her husband, Ron Kohanski, a biochemist. She has two children, Alex and Emma, and three stepchildren, Michael, Anna, and Samson. Alex is completing a double major in theater and Slavic studies at Northwestern University, and Emma, a high school sophomore, is a dancer with plans to study fashion design.
Dr. Peter W. Price is Regents’ Professor Emeritus at Northern Arizona University and author of the classic textbook Insect Ecology. He was born 14 miles south of London in Carshalton Beeches, Surrey, England, on April 17, 1938. Boyhood activities included Boy Scouts and natural history, with a preference for plants. In secondary school he was a member of the soccer, boxing, and athletics teams. Each summer his family camped near the north Devon coast on the southwest English peninsula. He served two years in the Royal Air Force as a radar technician in West Germany.
Price earned his B.S. Honors (1962, forestry) from University College of North Wales and M.S. (1964, forest entomology) from University of New Brunswick in Canada. He was then employed in the Canadian Forest Service as a research entomologist. He obtained his Ph.D. (1970, ecology and evolutionary biology) from Cornell University with a research focus on the coexistence of parasitoids on the Swaine jack pine sawfly.Following his Ph.D., Price was an assistant and associate professor in the Department of Entomology, University of Illinois, where research developed into the study of three trophic-level interactions between natural enemies, insect herbivores, and plants. In 1979 he joined the Museum of Northern Arizona as a research ecologist. The following year he accepted a professorship in the Department of Biology, Northern Arizona University, where he retired in 2002. He published over 200 research papers, with the most cited paper being his 1980 paper co-authored with his graduate students, “Interactions Among Three Trophic Levels,” which has been cited nearly 2,000 times.
Price’s field research concentrated on insect ecology: plant and herbivore interactions, multiple trophic-level interactions, population dynamics, and the distribution and abundance of insects. He focused particularly on the ecology and long-term population dynamics of galling sawflies. He hypothesized that evolved characters of organisms, such as morphology, behavior, and life history, strongly influence ecological relationships—a concept captured in his book, Macroevolutionary Theory on Macroecological Patterns. Price also authored Evolutionary Biology of Parasites andBiological Evolution; he co-authored Insect Ecology: Behavior, Populations and Communities, and co-edited Evolutionary Strategies of Parasitic Insects and Mites, A New Ecology and Plant-Animal Interactions. He has served on the Archbold Biological Station Scientific Advisory Board, and been recognized with a Guggenheim Fellowship and Fulbright Senior Scholar Award. In 1993, the Entomological Society of America gave Price the Founders’ Memorial Lecture Award for honoring Curtis P. Clausen. An interview of Price was featured in American Entomologist in Spring 2016.
Dr. Daniel A. Strickman, senior project officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is a medical entomologist who, through a series of many kinds of jobs, has had the pleasure to experience entomology from basic research to practical application.
Dr. Strickman was born in San Diego, California, in 1953. His interest in entomology began with an insect collection in eighth grade. Attending Dartmouth College for two years in 1971-1973, he transferred to the University of California, Riverside, in order to take an entomology course, but ended up staying until graduation with a B.A. in biology in 1974. Going immediately to graduate school at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, he studied floodwater mosquitoes with Dr. William Horsfall, receiving his master’s degree in 1976 and his doctorate in 1978. Dr. Strickman’s first job was in the Peace Corps serving as a professor at the National University of Asunción, Paraguay. From there he served in the U.S. Air Force as a captain and consultant entomologist at the Occupational and Environmental Health Laboratory, Brooks AFB, Texas. Transferring to the Army in 1984, he worked for the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in a series of research and administrative assignments, including work on mosquito taxonomy, scrub typhus, dengue, malaria, and repellent development, and served as chief of the Department of Entomology, and associate director. During his 22-year military career, Dr. Strickman had three deployments, to Honduras, Korea, and the Middle East. As a colonel, he served as a consultant to the Surgeon General. He retired from the Army in 2003 and worked for three years as an entomologist at the Santa Clara County (California) Vector Control District, then eight years as national program leader and director of overseas laboratories for the Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and finally to his current position at the Gates Foundation in 2014.
Dr. Strickman has published 110 peer-reviewed papers, 12 book chapters, two co-edited books on repellents, and one co-authored book on personal protection from biting and stinging arthropods. His accomplishments have been team efforts that led to characterization of larval mosquito movement, discovery of drug-tolerant scrub typhus, elimination of Aedes aegypti from a series of Thai villages, and elimination of Aedes albopictus from San José, California, the lowest rate of disease in any U.S. conflict during the first six months of Operation Enduring Freedom, as well as the formation of the Foundation for the Study of Invasive Species in Buenos Aires. He served as subject editor for the Journal of Medical Entomology from 2006 to 2010.
Dr. Strickman has received the Dow AgroSciences IPM Team Award (2014), a Bronze Medal from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2011), the John N. Belkin Award from the American Mosquito Control Association (2010), and the GreenGov Award from the Office of the President (2010). His highest military medals were the Legion of Merit (2005) and the Bronze Star (2002).
Married to his wife, Linda, for over 40 years, they are the parents of three daughters and have one grandson.
Dr. Matt Thomas, professor in the Entomology Department at Penn State University, is recognized internationally for his work on the ecology and evolution of pests and vector-borne diseases.
Thomas is originally from the United Kingdom and obtained his B.Sc. at University College Cardiff and his Ph.D. at the University of Southampton. From 1991 to the end of 2002 he worked as a postdoc and research fellow at the Centre for Population Biology at Silwood Park, Imperial College. He then took up a position as a senior lecturer and then reader in population biology and biological control at Imperial College. At the end of 2005 he joined CSIRO Entomology in Australia as a senior principal research scientist. In 2008 he moved to the U.S. as a professor of entomology at Penn State University. In 2012 he became the Huck Scholar in ecological entomology, a named chair en lieu of distinguished professor.
Research in the Thomas lab (http://www.thethomaslab.net/) explores many aspects of the ecology and evolution of insect pests and diseases with the aim of better understanding the consequences of global change and improving the effectiveness and sustainability of pest and disease management. The research combines empirical and theoretical approaches to address issues of fundamental and applied significance.He has worked in many systems and on diverse topics, including host-pathogen interactions, predicting and understanding the impact of invasive species, biodiversity and ecosystem health, and many aspects of biological control. In recent years he has tended to focus on transferring knowledge and insights from ecology and agriculture into the public health arena. Current projects include research on the effects of environmental temperature on transmission of vector-borne diseases, understanding the consequences of insecticide resistance for malaria control, and developing and evaluating novel control tools for the development of improved integrated vector management.He currently manages a funding portfolio of around $14 million, including support from NIH, NSF, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
He has published widely—approximately 200 publications—with numerous papers in “high-impact” journals. There are numerous examples where his research has contributed practical outcomes, reflecting a desire not only to advance scientific understanding but also to have an impact in the real world. This outcome-oriented research includes foundational work on habitat manipulations to enhance biocontrol (beetle banks), development of optimal use strategies for use of biopesticides in locust control, development of risk assessment frameworks for invasive species and the safe introduction of natural enemies, and development of novel tools for the management of insecticide-resistant malaria vectors (fungal pathogens and “eave tubes”).He currently serves as director of the Ecology Institute at Penn State and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Thomas is married with two teenage kids and has a fondness for English beer, classical guitars, and fishing.
Dr. Baldwyn Torto is a principal scientist and head of the Chemical Ecology Unit, International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), Nairobi, Kenya. He is internationally recognized for his research on the chemical ecology of mosquito vectors of infectious diseases, crop pests, honeybees, and research into entomophagy.
Torto was born in Accra, Ghana, on August 17, 1955. He completed his B.Sc. with honors in chemistry and biochemistry (1979) and M.Sc. (1982) and Ph.D. (1988) in organic chemistry at the University of Ghana, with his Ph.D. research in insect chemical ecology conducted at icipe between 1985 and 1988. He was a postdoctoral associate (1989-1991) at the University of Maine, Orono. In 1991, he accepted a scientist position at ICIPEand was later promoted to senior scientist in 2000. He was Rothamsted International Fellow (2000) at Rothamsted Research, United Kingdom, and visiting scientist at the USDA/ARS-Centre for Medical, Agriculture, and Veterinary Entomology, Gainesville, Florida (2001-2006). He returned to ICIPEin 2007 as principal scientist and research leader of the Behavioral and Chemical Ecology Unit.
Torto has made unique discoveries in the field of vector-host interactions, demonstrating that malaria parasite infection in mosquitoes can influence vector responses to plant odors and their feeding, opening up new avenues for vector control. Also, his lab pioneered work into the development of more efficient semiochemical-based tools for monitoring vector populations of Rift Valley Fever, dengue, and malaria. He has also led genetic studies to reveal unique population structure of primary RVF vectors that coincide with the pattern of the disease outbreak in Kenya, and implemented an integrated community-based surveillance of RVF in order to minimize the public and veterinary health impact of the disease. Additionally, he has been at the forefront of research into understanding the impact of pests and diseases for improved bee health. More recently, he has initiated work on entomophagy, an area increasingly being recognized as having a huge potential to feed the ever growing rural and urban population in Africa. He has given several plenary and keynote presentations at national and international conferences. He has published 104 peer-reviewed scientific papers, including three patents and six book chapters.
Torto has mentored nine postdoctoral fellows and 36 graduate students (10 M.Sc. and 26 Ph.D.), and more than 50 undergraduate interns, many of whom have received prestigious awards across the globe.
Torto has served the ESA as a judge of students’ presentations and organization of symposia and promoting the ESA agenda in Africa. He is a Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences, and served as councilor, International Society of Chemical Ecology, and member, American Chemical Society. He serves on the editorial boards of Journal of Chemical Ecology, Pest Management Science, and the International Journal of Tropical Insect Science. He is a recipient of the distinguished icipe-ARPPIS Silver Jubilee Alumni Award for Best Achiever in Scientific Research and Innovation.
Torto has been married to Rita, a neurophysiologist, for 33 years, and has three sons, Obaka, Nii Sai, and Nii Soja. His hobbies include gardening, cooking, and playing the guitar.
The Entomological Society of America is the largest organization in the world serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and people in related disciplines. Founded in 1889, ESA today has more than 7,000 members affiliated with educational institutions, health agencies, private industry, and government. Members are researchers, teachers, extension service personnel, administrators, marketing representatives, research technicians, consultants, students, and hobbyists. For more information, visit http://www.entsoc.org.