Department Announces Adkisson Distinguished Seminar Speaker Award

Sarjeet-inside page

Dr. Sarjeet Gill, left, standing with Entomology Department Head Dr. David Ragsdale, right.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Department of Entomology is pleased to announce that Dr. Sarjeet Gill of the University of California-Riverside was named as this year’s Perry Adkisson Distinguished Seminar Speaker during a special seminar on January 29th.

Given annually, the Perry Adkisson Distinguished Seminar Speaker Award recognizes outstanding researchers in the field of entomology and gives graduate students and the community the opportunity to hear the latest research from leading scientists.

Gill is Professor and Entomologist in the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience at the University of California-Riverside. Gill and his lab have three principal research areas that utilize a cellular and molecular approach to elucidate the mechanisms of toxicity and cell membrane transport.

The focus of the first area is to elucidate the mode of action of toxins derived from Bacillus thuringiensis and Clostridium bifermantans. The above research aims to gain a molecular understanding of the characteristics of these toxins and how they interact with cellular targets, which result in a disruption of ion regulation and lethality. Current research projects include the elucidation of structure and function relationships of these bacterial toxins; toxin receptor isolation and an attempt to define how these receptors modulate in vivo toxicity.

Gill and his lab also are focusing on insect cell membrane transport, and how toxins affect this function. Currently, the laboratory is characterizing ion and amino acid transporters and focusing in on the Na+/H+ exchangers that play a key role in transport of high salt load on mosquitoes following a blood meal. Studies include functional analysis and regulation of these exchangers in the mosquito Malpighian tubules. In conjunction with this effort the lab is also characterizing transport processes involved in nutrient uptake following a blood meal, and the regulation of such transport.

Gill and his lab have an ongoing interest in xenobiotic metabolism and characterization of the effects of environmental toxicants on mammalian systems. This molecular toxicology emphasis defines how toxicants regulate the expression of the soluble epoxide hydrolase and fatty acid metabolism.

Gill received his bachelor of science at McGill University and his Ph.D. from the University of California in Berkeley. He is a member of several professional societies including the American Chemical Society, American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Entomological Society of America.

The award is named for Dr. Perry Adkisson, former head of the Department and of the Texas A&M University Chancellor. During his career, Adkisson was an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, and the first ever recipient of all three of the world’s major prizes in agriculture, the Alexander von Humboldt Award, the Wolf Prize, and the World Food Prize. Along with Dr. Ray Smith, he developed what is now known as IPM or Integrated Pest Management.

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