Former Ph.D. student Freddy Ibanez’s research and hard work were recently recognized as he received the Entomological Society’s John Henry Comstock Award for his research conducted in Texas A&M University under the supervision of Dr. Cecilia Tamborindeguy.
Ibanez received his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the University of Santiago of Chile in 2006 and began his career studying molecular biology, focusing on developmental genes associated with gastrulation in Drosophila melanogaster, and epigenetic mechanisms. In 2013, Ibanez started his Ph.D. in entomology at Texas A&M University under the direction of Dr. Cecilia Tamborindeguy. His dissertation research focused in the study of Bactericera cockerelli reproduction. Bactericera cockerelli, known as the potato psyllid, is the vector of “zebra chip.”
During his four years at Texas A&M University, Ibanez wrote nine manuscripts, with six of them as first author. He was a member of the Linnaean Games team when the team was awarded first place in ESA Southwestern Branch in 2016. Ibanez was also awarded the USDA-AFRI Student Travel Grant in 2014 to attend the 2014 ESA national meeting in Portland where he received the first-place award in the student poster competition for President’s Prize, in the section of Physiology Biochemistry and Toxicology.
Tamborindeguy was very proud of Ibanez hard work and dedication and for receiving the award. “The John Henry Comstock Award is the highest honor for graduate students in entomology to receive in this country,” she said. “Freddy has been an exemplary graduate student and an outstanding scientist.” This prestigious award recognizes one graduate student from each branch for their accomplishments in research, service, and public engagement. The award included an all-expense-paid trip to the national meeting, a $500 cash prize, and a certificate that is presented during the ESA Annual Meeting
Ibanez currently is a postdoctoral researcher in Department of Entomology and Nematology at the Citrus Research and Education Center, University of Florida, working with Dr. Lukasz Stelinski. The main goal of this research is to address the effectiveness of pesticide applications to control Diaphorina citri on ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’-infected citrus groves and evaluating the effect of ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’ inoculation frequency on citrus greening progression and plant defense response.