Ashok Raina, ESA Fellow (1997)

Dr. Ashok Raina, a retired USDA-Supervisory Research Entomologist, was elected as Fellow in 1998. He is internationally known for research on insect behavioral physiology and holds a unique distinction of having conducted research in almost every field of entomology.

Raina was born in Kashmir, India in 1942 and received his B.S. degree from Kashmir University in 1961. His interest in entomology started when he joined the Indian Station of the Commonwealth Institute of Biological Control. After receiving his M.S. in 1967 from Aligarh University, he joined the Pulse Improvement Project of USAID in India, working on biology, host-plant resistance (HPR), and control of bruchids. In 1970, he joined North Dakota State University where he researched ecophysiology and genetics of diapause in pink bollworm at the USDA Metabolism and Radiation Research Laboratory. He received his Ph.D. in 1974 and published 12 papers from his dissertation.

After teaching biology and electron microscopy at Minot State College, ND, Raina joined Virginia State University working on HPR in vegetable beans. In 1978, he joined the International Center of Insect Physiology and Ecology in Nairobi, Kenya, working on biology and behavior of sorghum shootfly and HPR in sorghum. In 1981, he joined the University of Maryland, conducting research on moth pheromones at the USDA Insect Chemical Ecology Laboratory in Beltsville, MD. In 1986, he joined USDA as a research entomologist and continued work on sex pheromones. In 1999, he joined the USDA- Formosan Subterranean Termite (FST) Research group in New Orleans, LA where he worked on the biology, behavior, physiology, and control of FST, until his retirement in 2008.

Raina has published approximately 170 scientific papers and received five patents. His major achievements include: Discovery of pest resistant chickpea and sorghum lines; elucidation of the ecology and genetics of diapause in pink bollworm; identification of sex pheromones of four species of moths; discovery of diurnal periodicity and control of pheromone production in moths and identification of the peptide hormone; discovery of a novel virus capable of infecting and destroying the reproductive system of corn earworm; design of a recombinant-baculovirus with a diuretic gene that prevents feeding in corn earworm; elucidation of the biology, physiology, and factors involved in colony development and caste differentiation in FST; discovery of a highly virulent strain of Metarhizium fungus against adults of FST; discovery of two new nematode species infecting FST; and discovery of new natural compounds for controlling subterranean termites.

Awards received by Raina include: Outstanding Invention Award, University of Maryland, 1989; L. O. Howard Distinguished Achievement Award in Entomology, 1991; Biology of Communication Award from Jean-Marie Delwart Foundation and Royal Science Academy of Belgium, 1996; Outstanding Scientist of the Year award, 2004; Elected Academician, Peoples Academy of the Central Asian States, 2006; Certificate of Distinction for Outstanding Achievements, International Congress of Entomology, 2008. Raina has served ESA at the branch and national levels.

Raina is married to Santosh and they live in Marriottsville, MD. His hobbies include gardening, travel, and studying the scientific basis of Hindu religion. 

(updated December, 2014)