Congratulations to this year's International Branch award recipients
Distinguished Scientist Award
Dr. Ted Turlings
Ted Turlings is originally from the Netherlands, where he studied Biology at Leiden University. In 1985 he moved to the University of Florida to conduct a PhD under the direction of the renowned chemical ecologist James Tumlinson. During his PhD he discovered that insect-damaged plants emit specific volatile signals that attract parasitic wasps, which set the stage for his future career. He moved to Switzerland in 1993, where he first spent three years at the ETH-Zurich and then obtained a prestigious fellowship to start his own research group at the University of Neuchâtel. He has more than 200 publications to his name, many in top journals (Science, Nature, Cell, PNAS, etc.). Currently, he is the director of the Center of Competence in Chemical Ecology (C3E) at the University of Neuchâtel. His highly interdisciplinary research with many international collaborators focuses on exploiting the chemical ecology of plant-insect interactions for crop protection.
Early Career Research & Leadership Award
Dr. Isobel Ronai
Dr. Isobel Ronai is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. She was recently awarded an American Australian Association Postdoctoral Fellowship to investigate the biology of the highly invasive and asexually reproducing Asian longhorned tick. Ronai’s research interests are in developing control strategies for ticks and tick-borne diseases of medical and veterinary importance. In Australia, Ronai has recently co-led a McGarvie Smith Institute research grant on the major tick-borne disease of cattle caused by the Asian longhorned tick. Previously, Ronai was awarded an Endeavour Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at Columbia University and established that the Asian longhorned tick has different mammalian host preferences to the black-legged tick (awarded Best Paper Published in the Journal Medical and Veterinary Entomology during 2020-2021). Ronai obtained her PhD at The University of Sydney (Australia) and was recognised with ESA’s John Henry Comstock Graduate Student Award (International Branch).
John Henry Comstock Graduate Student Award
Lídia Gual Gonzalez
Lídia Gual Gonzalez is an epidemiology Ph.D. candidate at the University of South Carolina, working in Dr. Melissa Nolan's Laboratory of Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases. She has recently collaborated with the Boyacá Health Department in Tunja, Colombia, working with the Vector Diseases Control Unit to help in a triatomine control study to reduce Chagas disease risk in rural communities. In addition to her work with triatomines and Chagas disease, her current dissertation focuses on tick-borne Spotted Fever Group Rickettsiosis in Colombia. With a multidisciplinary background, her career shifted from bench science with a bachelor's degree in biomedical sciences, to a more clinical research focus in her master's in one health and zoonotic diseases at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain. This experience has exponentially grown her passion for medical and veterinary entomology. She has worked in field epidemiology doing research in tick- and flea-borne diseases in Uganda, and in clinical laboratory research in chronic Chagas disease in Spain. As the first in her family to pursue a graduate degree, her ambition and determination have brought her to pursue a career as an international vector-borne disease researcher, and she aims to help reduce health disparities throughout her career.