Entomological Society of America Names its 2013 Award Winners

Posted: September 12, 2013

The Entomological Society of America is pleased to announce the winners of its 2013 awards. The awards will be presented at Entomology 2013, ESA's 61st Annual Meeting in Austin, TX from November 10-13, 2013.



This award, which is sponsored by BASF, honors young professionals working within the field of entomology who have demonstrated innovation through contributions within any area of specialization (research, teaching, extension, product development, public service, etc.).

Dr. John Tooker is an assistant professor and extension specialist in the Department of Entomology at Penn State University. He received his undergraduate degree from Bates College and graduate degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign under the supervision of Larry Hanks. He conducted postdoctoral research with Consuelo De Moraes at Penn State. In his current position, his extension responsibilities involve helping farmers of Pennsylvania better manage insect pests that attack their field and forage crops. His research program mostly complements his extension efforts and has both applied and basic components, which are largely implemented by a set of outstanding graduate students. The applied portion seeks to understand local pest populations, the risks they pose to crops, and the value of different management options. His research group is particularly focused on scrutinizing new technologies for costs and benefits to stakeholders and understanding their environmental effects. Current applied research projects focus on the value of crop genotypic diversity for insect control (student: Ian Grettenberger), the influence of insecticidal seed treatments on biological control of early season crop pests (Maggie Douglas), and the influence of volatile herbicides on insect populations (Eric Bohnenblust). His basic ecological research strives to better understand plant-herbivore-beneficial insect interactions because an improved appreciation of relationships among trophic levels will lead to alternative, ecologically sound insect-management strategies. Current basic research projects explore the ability of plants to perceive and respond to insect-produced volatile cues (Anjel Helms) and mechanisms driving foraging preferences of flower-visiting insect species (Anthony Vaudo).



These awards are given to one graduate student from each ESA Branch to promote interest in entomology and to stimulate interest in attending the ESA Annual Meeting.

Elina Lastro Niño (Eastern Branch) received her PhD in entomology from Penn State University under the guidance of Dr. Christina Grozinger. Her dissertation research involved behavioral, physiological, and molecular characterization of factors affecting honey bee queen post-mating changes and queen-worker interactions. She is particularly interested in understanding the underlying molecular pathways regulating these changes and whether these changes are evident after the queen commences oviposition. She also studied factors that alter queen pheromone profiles and how this in turn regulates worker behavior and physiology which could affect colony status. During her postdoctoral appointment at PSU, Elina will expand on the findings of her doctoral research and will also examine socioeconomic factors affecting the establishment of honey bee breeding and stock improvement programs in the US. This research is supported by a USDA-NIFA postdoctoral fellowship. Elina is also very involved with outreach and extension, and she has received numerous fellowships, scholarships, and awards.

Complete list of 2013 winners