Congratulations to Assistant Professors Kelly Hamby and Megan Fritz honorees at the Inaugural Maryland Research Excellence Celebration!
Hamby and Fritz were recognized for their success in one or more of the following categories:
Congratulations to Brian Lovett (ENTM PhD student, St. Leger Lab) for being selected to receive the American Institute of Biological Sciences’ Emerging Public Policy Leadership Award! This award recognizes the achievements of biology graduate students who have demonstrated an interest and aptitude for contributing to science and science policy.
As a recipient of the award Brian will:
Travel to Washington, DC to participate in the AIBS science communications training program and AIBS Congressional Visits Day
Meet with lawmakers to advocate for federal investment in the biological sciences
Receive a one-year membership in AIBS, which includes a subscription to the scientific journal BioScience
Check out the AIBS press release here: https://www.aibs.org/public-policy/news/aibs_announces_2019_emerging_public_policy_leadership_award_winners.html
Congrats Brian on receiving this award! What a wonderful and well-deserved recognition!
Congratulations to Dr. Magdalene Ngeve for being awarded the highly prestigious University of Maryland President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship for her postdoctoral work in Maile Neel's lab!
To find out more about Magdalene Ngeve's research please visit, https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Magdalene_Ngeve
Becca Eckert, Ph.D.student (Lamp Lab), is a recipient of this year's Cosmos Scholars Grant Program. The foundation, which began in 1998, awards research grants for graduate students enrolled in Universities in the D.C. area. The Cosmos Scholars Grant Program will support Becca’s research, more specifically, experiments measuring the contribution of algae growing on leaves to stream macroinvertebrate growth.
!Congratulations to the recipients of the Spring 2019 Ernest N. Cory Undergraduate Scholarship! This scholarship provides up to $1,000 for undergraduate students each semester who have creatively contributed to Entomology Department research and/or extension efforts. Choose, "Read More" to find out about Justin Lee, Madeline Potter, Catherine Trelstad, and Betsy Wang and their extraordinary efforts in Entomology!
Julianna Greenberg Wins Student Poster Competition at the MD Water Monitoring Council’s Annual Meeting
Congratulations, Julianna Greenberg (Biological Sciences Undergrad, Palmer Lab) for winning first place in the Student Poster Competition at the Maryland Water Monitoring Council’s Annual Meeting. Julianna’s winning poster, " Evaluating the effects of system maturation on pollutant loads from stream-wetland complexes”, is on display in the hallway outside of room 4129.
Abstract: Throughout the world many streams and rivers are highly degraded and scientists are working to understand when and why certain restoration efforts result in improvements and others don’t. This study focused on small urban streams in the Chesapeake Bay watershed that were slated for restoration in order to reduce the movement of excess nutrients and sediments toward Bay Waters. Church and Cypress creeks were degraded urban streams located in Anne Arundel County. These were converted to stream-wetland complexes (SWCs) that include engineered wetlands and step-pool conveyances extending to the estuarine interface. Monitoring occurred throughout the pre- and post-construction phases to estimate the changes in catchment loads of nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P), and total suspended solids (TSS) from the outflow of the restored stream reaches. Results indicate that moderate reductions in N loads and increases in TSS and P occurred since SWC implementation in Church Creek. The study authors concluded that the increases in TSS and P were due to extensive and more recent headwater restoration activities. By contrast, Cypress Creek had no recent disturbances in its headwaters and results indicate that water quality (e.g., TSS and P) has improved with system maturation. This improvement implies that shorter-term restoration studies that do not capture the maturation process may underestimate the true long-term performance of SWCs for some constituents.
Congratulations Morgan Thompson (ENTM MS student, Lamp Lab) for winning first place in the Student 10-minute Paper Competition at the ESA Joint Annual Meeting in Vancouver. Morgan’s award-winning talk: "Can aboveground potato leafhopper (Empoasca fabae) feeding disrupt belowground nitrogen fixation in alfalfa?"
Lyra Morina, CBMG undergrad in Fritz Lab, is among the winners of the Bioscience Day Poster Competition. Her winning poster, “Characterizing Cytoplasmic Incompatibility induced by Wolbachia Prophage Insertions in Culex pipiens Complex Mosquitoes” was presented in the Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology category. Congratulations Lyra!
Paula Shrewsbury, an associate professor and extension specialist will receive the Distinguished Achievement Award in Extension during the annual meeting of the Entomological Society of America (ESA). This annual award recognizes outstanding contributions to extension entomology.
Read full announcement here: https://www.entsoc.org/esa-names-winners-2018-professional-and-student-awards
Congratulations to Brian Lovett (ENTM PhD student, St. Leger Lab) for winning a student presentation award at the European Congress of Entomology in Naples, Italy. Brian’s award-winning talk: Transgenic fungi prevent mosquitoes from transmitting malaria parasites.
Congratulations to the recipients of the Fall 2018 Ernest N. Cory Undergraduate Scholarship! This scholarship provides up to $1,000 for undergraduate students each semester who have creatively contributed to Entomology Department research and/or extension efforts. Choose, "Read More" to find out about Kevin Clements, Julianna Greenbreg, Kristin Jayd, Max O’Grady and Katherine Okada and their extraordinary efforts in Entomology!
Congratulations to Joshua Kiner for receiving the Dean’s Outstanding Employee Award for his outstanding dedication and service to the college!
Josh is truly an outstanding Coordinator in all respects. He is nominated for his exemplary leadership, positive attitude, innovation, organization and rapport inside and outside of the department. Josh has consistently gone above and beyond expectations. In addition to his routine responsibilities, which he tackles with his tireless work ethic and creativity, he enthusiastically takes over additional responsibilities as they become available.
Nominators mention “Josh has recenlty taken on responsibilities associated with the new KUALI Research System, and works closely with faculty and our business office to ensure timely, complete, and accurate submissions of grant proposals.” and "Josh is a model of efficiency and has streamlined the flow of information into and out of our front office in a way that I have not experienced..."
Congratulations to Dr. Tammatha O'Brien for receiving the 2018 Provost's Excellence Award for Professional Track Faculty for her outstanding contributions and accomplishments in teaching!
Dr. O'Brien received this prestigious award for her "exemplary teaching performance, including course diversity and format, and how [she has] integrated basic and biological concepts with late-breaking research, real-life concerns, and perspectives from the humanities."
Dr. O'Brien, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Entomology, is also the director of the fully-online Applied Entomology Professional Masters and Graduate Certificate Program. You can learn more about this program here: Graduate Programs in Applied Entomology.
The Entomological Society of America Eastern Branch has awarded Dr. Paula Shrewsbury the top nomination for the Distinguished Achievement Award in Extension for outstanding contributions in the areas of entomology teaching and extension. This nomination was recognized at the Eastern Branch Meeting. Nominees are considered for the Society–level awards given at the Entomological Society of America’s Annual Meeting. Congratulations to Dr. Paula Shrewsbury for being nominated!
Congratulations to the recipients of the Spring 2018 Ernest N. Cory Undergraduate Scholarship! This scholarship provides up to $1,000 for undergraduate students each semester who have creatively contributed to Entomology Department research and/or extension efforts. Be sure to check back in to read more about their research progress!
Lyra Morina is a University Honors junior Biological Sciences: Cell Biology & Molecular Genetics and Economics dual degree. Working with Culex pipiens mosquitoes in the Fritz Lab for over a year, she began her own research project studying Wolbachia induced Cytoplasmic Incompatibility (CI) in Culex pipiens pipiens and molestus through the Cell Biology & Molecular Genetics Departmental Honors Program. By linking incompatibility patterns to the unique Wolbachia endosymbiont strains the mosquitoes harbor, the Wolbachia genes inducing these effects on embryonic development can be investigated. Lyra aims to pursue a PhD within Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics and continue her career path in biological research and academia. She also hopes to apply her background in economics to quantifying the impact of biological research outcomes on public health, environmental issues, and other social phenomena.
Lily Durkee has been working with the Gruner Lab since the summer before her senior year of high school. It was because of this incredible experience that summer that she decided to attend UMD as an undergraduate student and pursue a degree in Ecology and Evolution. Currently, she is working towards completing an Honors Thesis within the Department of Entomology that focuses on assessing the effects of restoration strategies on the macroinvertebrate benthic communities in Anacostia Park marsh systems. After she graduates next spring, she plans on attending graduate school to pursue a PhD in entomology, ecology, or natural resource management.
Chloe Garfinkel is a senior biology major with an ecology and evolution concentration and a sustainability minor. She has worked in the Lamp lab since the summer after her freshman year at Maryland. She is working on an independent research project on the damselfly Calopteryx maculata to determine the effect of habitat on adult size and nutritional content. She has volunteered at and planned the lab's Maryland Day event 'Discover a Swamp,' where children can collect insects from an artificial swamp. She has just finished applying to graduate school and in the future, she hopes to pursue interests in both biology and education.
Bijal Kikani research in the Pick lab focuses on investigating the role of pair rule genes in Drosophila melanogaster to better understand their roles during embryonic development. Particularly, she is searching for binding partners of a nuclear hormone receptor, Ftz-F1, to understand how gene regulation is controlled. Through the use of western blots, co-immunoprecipitation assays, and mass-spectrometry, she hopes to narrow down candidate binding partners of this nuclear receptor and verify these genes using RNA interference experiments. She says her exposure to this lab has increased her skills in molecular genetics and she hopes to continue to strengthen these skills through further exposure in the research field.
The Pick lab uses Drosophila melanogaster, a long germ insect, to investigate the regulatory genes and pathways that control embryonic development. Accordingly we sought other long germ insects for comparative studies and we are investigating pair rule genes in the beetle Callosobruchus maculatus. She says with the help of Pick Lab members, she has been able to improve embryo collection and fixation techniques, stage early embryogenesis and isolate a pair rule gene using molecular techniques, including PCR, DNA sequencing, and TA cloning. She hopes to continue doing research and eventually go to graduate school.
The Ruth Patrick Award is given to scientists who have made outstanding contributions towards solving environmental problems. The Association for the Sciences of Limnology & Oceanography (ASLO) has awarded Dr. Margaret Palmer of the University of Maryland, College Park this distinguished honor in recognition for being a champion of solution-driven science for the protection of freshwaters. The award will be presented at the ASLO Summer Meeting in Victoria, British Columbia in June 2018.
Congratulations Dr. Palmer! Read the full press release here.
Congratulations to the recipients of the Fall 2017 Ernest N. Cory Undergraduate Scholarship! This scholarship provides up to $1,000 for undergraduate students each semester who have creatively contributed to Entomology Department research and/or extension efforts. Be sure to check back in the Fall to read more about their research progress!
ABIGAIL TORETSKY, Palmer Lab, Undergraduate Research Assistant
Abigail's early work in the Palmer Lab consisted of sorting laboratory materials, discussing primary literature on wetland hydrology and biogeochemistry with graduate students, and assisting with the construction of field equipment. This work gave her a better understanding of how the lab uses raw field data to draw conclusions about wetland gas flux. This summer, Abigail plans to collect and analyze water samples after a storm from a wetland, nearby streams, and ground water in order to determine possible sources of ion flow into the wetland. Based on differences in the ion concentrations in these different areas, these data will hopefully help define the role of the wetland in the overall watershed.
JESSICA HERNANDEZ, Pick Lab, Undergraduate Research Assistant
While the Pick Lab traditionally uses Drosophila melanogaster to investigate the regulatory genes and pathways that control embryonic development – with an emphasis on pair rule genes – Jessica’s work in the lab focuses on orthologous pair rule genes in Oncopeltus fasciatus, an intermediate germband insect. Under the guidance of Pick Lab postdocs and graduate students, she has been able to isolate a new gene from O. fasciatus using a variety of molecular techniques, including PCR, TA cloning, and DNA sequencing. Ultimately, Jessica would like to attend professional school where she can complete an MD program in Emergency Medicine.
MERVIN CUADERA, Fritz Lab, Undergraduate Research Assistant
Knowing the important role that mosquitos play in disease transmission, Mervin thought working with Dr. Fritz would be both interesting and relevant to greater societal problems. Apart from rearing mosquitoes, Mervin is involved in a study of the effects of blood feeding source on fitness in Culex pipiens and C. molestus. Previous work suggests that C. pipiens prefers avian blood, while C. molestus prefers mammalian blood, leading to the prediction that preferred blood sources confer the highest fitness as measured by the number of eggs produced. Early results suggest that both strains, instead, have higher fitness when feeding on avian blood.
Early on, the Fritz Lab found it hard to count eggs accurately due to significant (and often nauseating) motion under the microscope. Therefore, Mervin suggested that they mount a camera on the scope to improve counting accuracy. The success of this approach has made it standard protocol for this research project.
VICTOR SETTLES, Gruner Lab, Undergraduate Research Assistant
Victor has been impressed by the diversity of insects since he was a child. After taking an entomology course this past spring and reading deeper into the primary literature, he pursued an undergraduate research position in Dr. Dan Gruner’s Lab. He now works under the guidance of Elske Tielens, a Gruner Lab BEES graduate student. His major tasks involve sorting, identifying, and curating arthropod samples from the Hawaiian Islands in order to assist Elske in investigating the effects of invasive predators on canopy insect communities in forests fragmented by lava flows and how these communities assemble over evolutionary time.
Victor hopes to use his experience in the Gruner lab working with dichotomous keys and learning to develop hypotheses about ecology and evolution to build a foundation in research that will ultimately set him on a path towards a career as a Principle Investigator.
Ph.D. student, Samuel Ramsey of the vanEngelsdorp Lab took 1st place in the 4th annual 3MT competition on April 5, 2017. After much preparation and making it through the first round of competitions the week prior, he scored the top prize!
Sammy will be awarded $500 and will go on to represent UMD in the International competition in October. Here is some info on the background of the competition but without the winners for this year updated on the site.
Please offer him congratulations when you see him. We are very proud!
A piece of exciting news to welcome you back from spring break!
On Saturday, September 18th faculty, staff, and graduate students participated in the highly successful 2016 Entomology Retreat. Talks, discussions, and delicious food were shared by all attendees and the overall consensus was that our retreat was a grand time. One of the highlights was the distribution of the Departmental Awards. If you were unable to attend the retreat, be sure to congratulate the following folks on their achievements:
Teaching Achievement Award
Great work, guys! We are so lucky to have you as part of our entomology family.
Brian Lovett (St. Leger Lab) was featured today on the BioMed Central Blog as part of World Malaria Day for the work that won him the Fungal Biology and Biotechnology Student Prize at the European Conference on Fungal Genetics in Paris in early April.
Check out the complete blog post here!
Brian has had a productive Spring semester overall, including talks, workshops, and posters in both Paris and Burkina Faso:
Graduate student, Jonathan Wang, advised by Dr. Raymond St. Leger received the 1st place presentation award at the Society of Invertebrate Pathology 48th Annual Meeting held August 9-13, 2015 for his talk entitled " A Genome Wide Association Study of Resistance to Metarhizium anisopliae.
Congratulations to Dr. Margaret Palmer for being named 2015 Distinguished University Professor, the university's highest academic honor!