Posts Tagged: Walter Leal
Call it a case of royalty plus.
UC Davis chemical ecologist Walter Leal, professor and former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, has just received a double honor. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society and he received a coveted award from his native Brazil.
First the royalty...It's an honor just to be nominated for the Fellow award. Among the imminent scientists who've received the award: Charles Darwin.
The Royal Entomological Society, based in London, disseminates information about insects and strives to improve communication among entomologists at the national and international level. Its history is long and rich. Founded in London in 1833, it is a successor to a number of short-lived societies dating back to 1745.
The origin of the "royalty?" name? In 1885 Queen Victoria granted a Royal Charter to the society. In the centennial year of 1933, King George V added the word "Royal" to the title.
The other honor? The coveted award, the 2nd National Award of Chemical Ecology, that Leal received in Brazil is linked closely to two people who have influenced him in his academic career and everyday life.
The award memorializes his former mentor, Professor Jose Tercio Barbosa, a pioneer in the field of chemical ecology. As part of the award, Leal received a book on the Museum of Contemporary Art Niteroi signed by internationally known Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer.
Niemeyer, now a "young" 104 years old, designed the United Nations’ headquarters in New York City, and many public buildings in Brazil, including the Cathedral of Brasilia, the Museum of Modern Art of Caracas and the Niterói Contemporary Art Museum, Rio de Janeiro.
“I grew up hearing about the wonderful work of Oscar Niemeyer, but never even imagined that one day I would get his autograph," Leal said. "It is sad, however, that it happened in part because Professor Tercio, a pioneer in the field of chemical ecology, passed away prematurely. Earlier on, Tercio introduced me to the scientific community in Brazil."
"Niemeyer is one of the two most famous contemporary Brazilians," Leal said. "The other is Pelé whom I've known since my years of working as a radio sportscaster to help fund my college education."
The path from sportscaster to chemical ecologist was a long one. Today Leal focuses his research on how insects detect smells, communicate with their species, detect host and non-host plants, and detect prey. For his innovative approaches to insect olfaction problems, the Entomological Society of America named him the 2011 recipient of Entomological Society of America's Nan-Yao Su Award for Innovation and Creativity in Entomology.
The circle widens, then narrows, then widens again.
Chemical ecologist Walter Leal in front of a silkworm moth depiction. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
It's important to have a sense of humor, especially in the academic world when seriousness almost always shades levity.
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)
Walter Leal's academic humor. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Bugs do rule, and they'll rule at the 59th annual meeting of the Entomological Society of America (ESA), to take place Nov. 13-16 in the Reno-Sparks Convention Center, Reno.
At the event, the UC Davis Department of Entomology will be one of the most honored departments in its history.
Professor Frank Zalom, in line for the presidency of the 6000-member association, will be installed as vice president-elect and will begin his term Nov. 16. Professor James R. Carey and Diane Ullman, professor and associate dean for undergraduate academic programs in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, will be inducted as ESA fellows, an honor limited to 10 persons per year.
Michael Parrella, professor and chair of the Department of Entomology, will receive the Distinguished Achievement Award in Horticultural Entomology, and professor Walter Leal, the Nan-Yao Su Award for Innovation and Creativity in Entomology.
Harry Kaya, emeritus professor of entomology and nematology, will be honored at a special seminar titled “Entomopathogenic Nematodes: Their Biology, Ecology, and Application. A Tribute to the Dynamic Career of Harry K. Kaya.” Ed Lewis, acting chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, is among the coordinators.
Three other faculty members are moderating/organizing or co-conducting symposiums. They are James R. Carey, “Insect Demography: Emerging concepts and Applications”; Neal Williams, “Biodiversity, Global Change and Insect-Mediated Ecosystem Services,” and Walter Leal, “Insect Olfaction and Taste: Identifying, Clarifying and Speaking about the Key Issues.” Each will also deliver a lecture.
Leal and Parrella are among the most active UC Davis members of ESA. Leal is serving on the Presidential Committee on the International Congress of Entomology (ICE), to be held Aug. 19-25 in Daegu, South Korea. Parrella holds a seat on the ESA Governing Board, representing the Pacific Branch of the ESA.
Graduate students will also be quite involved at the ESA meeting. The UC Davis Linnaean Team will participate in the annual competition. The team includes Matan Shelomi, who studies with major professor Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and professor of entomology; Meredith Cenzer, who studies with Louie Yang; Andrew Merwin, who studies with Michael Parrella; Mohammad-Amir Aghaee, who studies with Larry Godfrey; and Hanayo Arimoto, with studies with Ed Lewis. The team earlier won first place in the Pacific Branch competition.
Another highlight is a student debate: “Identify...Clarify...Speak Out! Land Grant Mission, Organic Agriculture & Host Plant Resistance Programs.” UC Davis entomology graduate students will team to argue the pro side: Matan Shelomi, Mohammad-Amir Aghaee; Andrew Merwin; Meredith Cenzer, and Kelly Hamby (she studies with major professor Frank Zalom).
There's also the fun side. A video created by UC Davis undergraduate student Heather Wilson, who works in the Frank Zalom lab, is entered in the open division category of the ESA YouTube Contest. Her entry, “I Wanna Be an Entomologist,” is a a parody of the hit song, “I Wanna Be a Billionaire.” Wilson filmed the video in the Zalom lab and the Bohart Museum of Entomology. On the serious side, she'll present her research on the Spotted Wing Drosophila: “Seasonal Movements of Drosophila suzukii (Diptera: Drosophilidae) in a Multi-Crop Setting.” Watch Heather Wilson's video
In addition, scores of other UC Davis representatives--faculty, graduate students and postdoctoral scholars--will present their work.
Yes, bugs do rule!
This was scrawled on a Briggs Hall blackboard during an annual UC Davis Picnic Day. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
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)
A touch of Brazil and a desire to exchange science and technology...
That's what will happen on the UC Davis campus Monday, May 23 when a distinguished Brazilian scientist meets with UC Davis officials and the Brazilian consulate of San Francisco.
Jorge Almeida Guimarães, president of the Brazilian Federal Agency for Support and Evaluation of Graduate Education (CAPES), Ministry of Education, will be meeting all day with various groups to explain the details of a graduate student exchange program between Brazil and UC Davis.
Brazilian-born Walter Leal, professor of entomology and former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology will host Guimarães. Leal, active in promoting student exchange programs, is currently involved with an undergraduate student program involving UC Davis, Pennsylvania State and two Brazilian universities.
A highlight on May 23 will be a public seminar from 12 noon to 1:30 p.m., in the Institute of Governmental Affairs (IGA) Reading Room (Room 360), Shields Library. Speaking on “CAPES and Higher Education in Brazil,” Guimarães will outline an agreement inked between Brazil and the United States when President Obama visited Brazil in March. The agreement, signed by Guimarães on behalf of Brazil and by U.S. Ambassador Thomas Shannon on behalf of the National Science Foundation, Washington, D.C., involves an exchange of students and scholars between the two countries.
The series of meetings will include Chancellor Linda Katehi, Vice Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Ralph Hexter, Vice Provost Bill Lacy, and Jeffery Gibeling, dean of Graduate Studies.
Joining in: Ambassador Bernardo Pericás Neto, Consul Consulate General of Brazil-San Francisco, Deputy Consul General Evaldo Freire, and coordinator Clelia Piragibe of the Ministry of Science and Technology, Brazil.
“CAPES is responsible for promoting and evaluating the entire graduate system of education in Brazil,” said Leal, a chemical ecologist who works with insect pheromones. “It supports many programs to improve quality in higher education and to promote research in science and technology in the country.”
“CAPES has no equivalent in the United States, as it is in charge of funding graduate education through scholarship and evaluating the program,” Leal said.
It's good to see that the exchange program's objectives include deepening the cooperation between scholarly and scientific communities of the two countries. This means an exchange of students, exchange of scientists and scholars, joint research projects, university partnerships, and seminars, workshops and conferences.
Plus, a digitization of biological collections.
Jorge Almeida Guimarães, president of CAPES, Ministry of Education, will visit UC Davis May 23.
UC Davis professor Walter Leal, who does pheromone research on silkworm moths, examines a mulberry tree. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)