Randy Gaugler, ESA Fellow (2005)

Randy Gaugler, a professor at Rutgers University, was elected as Fellow in 2005. His research career has focused on host-parasite relationships between insects and nematodes, where he is internationally recognized for his work on the biology, ecology, and genetic manipulation of entomopathogenic nematodes. His interests have recently expanded to medical entomology including studies on the invasive Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus (Skuse)), mermithids, and robotics.

Gaugler was born in Fargo, ND on 16 August 1950. He received his B.S. in 1972 from North Dakota State University, M.S. in 1974 from North Carolina State University, and Ph.D. in 1978 from the University of Wisconsin. He then joined the New York State Museum as senior scientist. In 1982, he accepted an assistant professorship at Rutgers, attaining the rank of professor II (distinguished professor) in 1995. During a 1993–1995 leave-of-absence, he was research director with the biotech company Ecogen where he managed a research program distributed across four continents. In 2006, Gaugler launched the Rutgers Center of Vector Biology and was appointed founding director.

Gaugler’s early work provided insight into the host-foraging strategies of entomopathogenic nematodes, demonstrating how to optimally match target insect with parasite. He pioneered the development of molecular tools for genetic manipulation of entomopathogenic nematodes, and was the first to apply recombinant DNA methods to generate novel strains. This work was capped with the first field release of a transgenic non-microbial natural enemy, an advance ranked as an historical milestone by the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station. His research is the subject of multiple patents and licenses, and companies in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Asia have commercialized his technologies, resulting in ten bioinsecticidal products and one culture medium. He has published 230 papers and three books, been awarded $15.2 million in grants, and served on the editorial boards of six journals. Google registers nearly 7000 citations of his publications, with h- and i10- indices of 44 and 138.  

Gaugler has taught numerous courses over his career, most notably General Biology where he is known for his “enthusiastic,” “entertaining,” and “passionate” teaching style. He scores 4.7 of 5.0 at RateMyProfessors.com.
His scientific journey has provided exceptional opportunities for travel. Gaugler has lectured in 40 countries, and participated in field studies, courses, conferences, expeditions, and consulting in nearly 80 countries.

Gaugler has been an ESA member since 1974. In addition to Fellow, his ESA honors include the Recognition, IPM, and L.O. Howard Distinguished Achievement awards. He has also been elected a Fellow of AAAS, Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science, and Society of Nematologists. He has received multiple honors from Rutgers, including the Board of Trustee’s, Distinguished Lecturer, Research, Sustained Research, Team Research and International Excellence awards. Gaugler received the Memorial Lecturer Award from the American Mosquito Control Association, was a Fulbright Senior Scholar twice, and named Albert Einstein Professor by the Chinese Academy of Sciences to which he was subsequently elected an Adjunct Member. He was named in Outstanding College Athletes of America for wrestling in 1970.  

(updated July, 2012)