Karin Burghardt, Assistant Professor
Office: 4120A Plant Sciences Building
Research: Dr. Burghardt is an ecologist broadly interested in how plant defenses shape communities and ecosystems. Her research addresses this question through the lens of multiple trophic levels (plants, insects, birds, and microbes). New work will extend this understanding to fluxes and flows of nutrients.
Anahi Espindola, Assistant Professor
Office: 3138 Plant Sciences Building
Research: The EspindoLab focuses on the effect of the biotic and abiotic environment on individual species, species communities, and inter-species interactions (with a slight preference for pollination) using molecular, geospatial, ecological, and experimental approaches.
Megan Fritz, Assistant Professor
Office: 3126 Plant Sciences Building
Research: The Fritz lab focuses on the study of insect evolution in response to a constantly changing environment. The lab uses molecular, genomic, and computational tools to shed light on the genomic variants that facilitate adaptation.
Daniel Gruner, Associate Professor
Office: 4142 Plant Sciences Building
Research: The Gruner Lab investigates species interactions in food webs, the maintenance of biodiversity in ecological communities, community feedbacks with ecosystem function, and the impacts of global change. The group investigates arthropod and plant community dynamics in a range of systems using field and lab studies, diverse integrative tools, and quantitative statistical modeling.
Kelly Hamby, Associate Professor & Extension Specialist
Office: 3124 Plant Sciences Building
Research: The Hamby Lab works to understand insect interactions with free-living microorganisms, address invasive and emerging insect pest issues, evaluate and optimize pest management programs, develop sustainable alternative management tactics, and improve integrated pest management in small fruit and grain crops.
David Hawthorne, Associate Professor & Director of Education at SESYNC
Office: 4132 Plant Sciences Building
Research: The Hawthorne Lab uses population genetics to understand how insects become pests, how they evolve to counter control efforts, and how to use evolutionary thinking to manage them. Additionally, research in the Hawthorne Lab dissects the genetic basis of host-plant associated divides among pest populations and uses phylogeographic analyses to investigate issues in conservation genetics.
Cerruti Hooks, Associate Professor & Extension Specialist
Office: 4144 Plant Sciences Building
Research: The Hooks Lab uses a multi-disciplinary research approach to provide producers information needed to transition farm acreage to more sustainable habitats, teach small farmers ecologically based practices that allow them to effectively manage pests in their crops, and provide producers with information that gives them greater confidence in transitioning land to organic production.
Bretton Kent, Principal Lecturer & Director of Undergraduate Studies
Office: 3142 Plant Sciences Building
Research: Elasmobranch (shark and ray) faunas of the Neogene, their diversification during the Middle Miocene Climatic Optimum, and the role that giant sharks have played in determining their structure.
Research: The Lamp Lab studies the ecology of insects in the human environment, with projects aligning with three broad fields: integrated pest management (IPM) of forage crops, understanding ecology of emerging insect pests, and implications of IPM and land use on invertebrates in streams and wetlands.
Research: The Neel Lab applies and integrates techniques from traditionally disparate fields to study patterns of biological diversity and the ecological and evolutionary processes that created them. The lab also develops effective conservation approaches to predict the effects of changing ecological patterns and evolutionary processes.
Tammatha O'Brien, Principal Lecturer & Director of The Master of Professional Studies in Applied Entomology Program
Office: 3118 Plant Sciences Building
Research: Science education and molecular genetics.
Margaret Palmer, Distinguished University Professor & Director at SESYNC
Office: 4126 Plant Sciences Building
Research: Research and engagement in the Palmer Lab focuses on the sustainability of natural systems and the development of solutions to difficult problems at the interface of humans and the environment including: restoring the processes that support healthy aquatic ecosystems; understanding how hydrologic flows and linkages influence the flux and fate of carbon in wetlands; and accelerating actionable research by inter- and trans-disciplinary teams.
Leslie Pick, Professor & Department Chair
Office: 4108 Plant Sciences Building
Research: The Pick lab studies the function and evolution of regulatory genes that control embryonic development. The lab is currently focused on ‘evo-devo’ studies that compare gene expression and function in the model insect Drosophila melanogaster to other insect species, revealing unexpected levels of genetic variation across insect phyla. The development of molecular methods in diverse insects, including mosquitoes, beetles and milkweed bugs, has led the lab to begin exploring mechanisms underlying RNAi susceptibility in insects.
Marcia Shofner, Senior Lecturer
Office: 3148 Plant Sciences Building
Research: Ecology, diversity, and evolution.
Paula Shrewsbury, Professor & Extension Specialist
Office: 3156 Plant Sciences Building
Research: The overall focus of the Shrewsbury Lab is to identify methods to restore plant and insect community dynamics to create sustainable urban landscapes, nurseries, and turf systems, with an emphasis on biological control and conservation of natural enemies and pollinators. The lab also studies the ecology and management of invasive species in managed environments.
Jeffrey Shultz, Associate Professor & Director of Graduate Studies
Office: 4134 Plant Sciences Building
Research: Research in the Shultz Lab deals with the evolutionary morphology, biomechanics, behavior, and systematics of arachnids and other arthropods. Ongoing work focuses on the leiobunine harvestmen (daddy longlegs) of eastern North America, though recent studies have also addressed hydrodynamics of gill ventilation in mayfly nymphs, arachnid locomotion, arthropod molecular systematics, and comparative anatomy of scorpions.
Raymond St. Leger, Distinguished University Professor
Office: 3120 Plant Sciences Building
Research: The St. Leger Lab uses entomopathogenic fungi as models for understanding how pathogens in general evolve different host ranges, respond to changing environments, invade hosts and counter host immune responses. The lab has also engineered hypervirulent insect pathogens expressing spider toxins. The potential of these engineered pathogens to control mosquito vectors of malaria is being tested in the field. Other interests include mutualistic associations between microbes and plants that can be exploited to benefit agriculture.
Dennis vanEngelsdorp, Associate Professor
Office: 3158 Plant Sciences Building
Research: The vanEngelsdorp Lab uses an epidemiological approach to understand and improve pollinator health, which involves understanding the etiology of individual diseases and large scale monitoring. The Lab is also a major partner and founding member of the Bee Informed Partnership, which works closely with beekeepers to better understand the loss in honey bee colonies in the United States.
Sara Via, Professor & Extension Specialist
Office: 3149 Plant Sciences
Research: Dr. Via is currently focused on climate change outreach and extension. Previous work in the Via Lab dealt with the genetics of insect-plant interactions, the genetic architecture of local adaptation and host plant specialization in pea aphids, and evolutionary genetics of speciation.
Jian Wang, Associate Professor
Office: 3144 Plant Sciences Building
Research: The Wang Lab uses fruit flies as a model to understand molecular mechanisms that guide the formation of the nervous system, specifically the function and signaling pathways of Drosophila Down Syndrome Cell Adhesion Molecule (Dscam) and genome-wide screens for genes underlying different aspects of neuronal development.
Professor Emeritus/Emerita & Retired Professors
Amy Brown, Professor Emerita
Office: 3140 Plant Sciences Building
Research: Dr. Brown conducts translational research in pesticide toxicology, epidemiology, and policy. Through the UMD Extension Pesticide Education & Assessment Program, she seeks to improve pesticide applicators' knowledge to minimize potential effects on human health and the environment and to increase the health care community's understanding of pesticide-related illnesses.
Galen Dively, Professor Emeritus and IPM Consultant
Office: 4182 Plant Sciences Building
Research: Agricultural Pest Management; Ecology/Biological Control; Insect Pathology; Molecular Biology, Physiology, Toxicology, and Molecular Genetics; Pesticide Technology, Assessment, and Policy
Charles Mitter, Professor
Office: 4120 Plant Sciences Building
Research: The Mitter Lab uses molecular phylogenetics to estimate relationships among Lepidoptera in order to understand transitions in larval feeding habits and their evolutionary consequences, explain the extraordinary diversity and evolutionary history of insect-plant interactions, and examine host-use trait evolution.
David O'Brochta, Professor Emeritus
Office: UMD Shady Grove Campus
Research: Molecular Biology, Physiology, Toxicology, and Molecular Genetics.
Michael Raupp, Professor Emeritus
Office: 3104 Plant Sciences Building
Research: The Raupp Lab investigates mechanisms of host plant resistance, the ecology and behavior of herbivores and their predators, parasitoids, and pathogens, and the impact of landscape design on pest and natural enemy population dynamics. Dr. Raupp's extension program seeks to develop and implement integrated pest management (IPM) programs for landscape, nursery and greenhouse systems.
Check out Dr. Raupps's Bug of the Week website!