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Posts Tagged: UC Davis Department of Entomology Faculty

A Blue Ribbon Day and a Sense of Humor

It's important to have a sense of humor, especially in the academic world when seriousness almost always shades levity.

But wait...

Take chemical ecologist Walter Leal, professor and former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, who received the Entomological Society of America's Nan-Yao Su Award for Innovation and Creativity in Entomology this week.

It's an award given to an ESA member who is able to demonstrate, through his/her projects or accomplishments, an ability to identify problems and develop creative, alternative solutions that significantly impact entomology.

Leal, a pioneer in the field of insect communication and on the cutting edge of research, uses innovative approaches to solve insect olfaction problems. Basically, his work examines how insects detect smells, communicate with their species, detect host and non-host plants, and detect prey.

The UC Davis professor has designed and synthesized complex pheromones from many insects, including scarab beetles, true bugs, longhorn beetles and the citrus leafminer. He and his lab discovered the secret mode of the insect repellent DEET.

At the ESA awards session, Leal first stepped on stage to receive the Fellow awards of Anthony James of UC Irvine and James R. Carey of UC Davis, who were unable to attend. (Leal also is a Fellow, a prestigious award given annually to only 10 members--or up to 10 members--of the 6000-member society).

Then it was time for the Nan-Yao Su Award presentation.

Leal's third trip to the stage did not go unnoticed. ESA vice president Grayson Brown of the University of Kentucky, quipped: "That's how Walter gets his exercise--by picking up awards."

Yale University professor John Carlson suggested that Leal might be too tired to get the Nan-Yao Su Award Award. "I will go get his," said Carlson, as the audience burst into an uproarious applause.

A dose of humor also touched Leal's name badge. Beneath the lettering, "Dr. Walter S. Leal" and his blue Fellow ribbon, trailed two other ribbons: "Official Something," "Somebody" and "Workaholic."

UC Davis professor Walter Leal (right) receives the Nan-Yao Su Award from ESA President Ernest Delfosse. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
UC Davis professor Walter Leal (right) receives the Nan-Yao Su Award from ESA President Ernest Delfosse. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

UC Davis pofessor Walter Leal (right) receives the Nan-Yao Su Award from ESA President Ernest Delfosse. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey

Walter Leal's academic humor. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Walter Leal's academic humor. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Walter Leal's academic humor. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Friday, November 18, 2011 at 7:55 PM

Hail to the Chairs

Michael Parrella
It's a Good News Day.

The Entomological Society of America (ESA) just announced that among the 2011 award recipients are two UC Davis faculty: Michael Parrella and Walter Leal.

Michael Parrella, professor and chair of the Department of Entomology is the recipient of the ESA's Distinguished Achievement Award in Horticultural Entomology.

Chemical ecologist Walter Leal, professor and former chair of the Department of Entomology, is the recipient of the ESA's Nan-Yao Su Award for Innovation and Creativity in Entomology.

They'll receive the awards at the 59th Annual ESA Meeting, set Nov. 13-16 in Reno. Each award comes with a cash prize and a plaque.

Both Parrella and Leal have done so much for the wide world of entomology that their accomplishments could easily fill several books.

The fact that they were singled out from a 6000-member international organization for these coveted awards says a lot about them, their work, their commitments, their passions, and the UC Davis Department of Entomology.

The Nan-Yao Su Award goes to an ESA member who has demonstrated, through projects or accomplishments, "an ability to identify problems and develop creative, alternative solutions that significantly impact entomology."

The Distinguished Achievement Award in Horticultural Entomology, sponsored by Gowan Company, singles out an entomologist who has contributed greatly to the American horticulture industry.

Parrella, who also has a joint appointment in the Department of Plant Sciences and is a former associate dean with the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, has developed an internationally recognized program focused on advancing integrated pest management and biological control for the floriculture and nursery industry.

Parrella is a past president of the Pacific Branch of the ESA and represents the Branch on the ESA Governing Board. He has held numerous offices and has authored more than than 375 publications.

Leal is a pioneer in the field of insect communication and on the cutting edge of research. He examines how insects detect smells, communicate with their species, detect host and non-host plants, and detect prey.

Leal has designed and synthesized complex pheromones from many insects, including scarab beetles, true bugs, longhorn beetles and the citrus leafminer. He and his lab discovered the secret mode of the insect repellent DEET.

A past president of International Society of Chemical Ecology, Leal has published his work in more than 161 peer-reviewed journals in the general field of insect pheromones, insect chemical communication, and insect olfaction, many widely cited by his peers.

Hail to the chairs--the current chair and a past chair.

UC Davis chemical ecologist Walter Leal is the recipient of ESA's Nan-Yao Su Award for Innovation and Creativity in Entomology. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
UC Davis chemical ecologist Walter Leal is the recipient of ESA's Nan-Yao Su Award for Innovation and Creativity in Entomology. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

UC Davis chemical ecologist Walter Leal is the recipient of ESA's Nan-Yao Su Award for Innovation and Creativity in Entomology. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Wednesday, October 12, 2011 at 9:12 PM
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