The Department of Entomology would like to congratulate former Ph.D. student Dr. Xiaotian Tang as he was named the John Comstock Award winner for the Southwestern Branch.
Tang received his Ph.D. in entomology recently in May under the direction of Dr. Cecilia Tamborindeguy. His research focused on the vector biology and vector-pathogen interactions between the bacterial pathogen, Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum (Lso), and its vector, the potato psyllid (Bactericera cockerelli).
Tang’s main research areas are to identify key genes involved in the interactions between the vector and the pathogen during acquisition; to characterize the immune response of the vectors to the pathogen; and to manipulate the immune response of the vectors to disrupt the transmission of the pathogen.
Tang has published 27 peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals and has four more manuscripts that are currently under review. He has mentored four undergraduate students in research, all of whom are authors of published or under-review papers. He has participated in 14 scientific meetings and presented 11 oral talks and posters at regional, national, and international conferences.
Tang also has been awarded seven highly prestigious scholarships, including three times the National Scholarship, the highest academic honor for students in China. He has also received the Herbert Dean Endowed Scholarship from the Department of Entomology at Texas A&M and twice won the ESA President’s Prize—for a student 10-minute talk in Vancouver in 2018 and for the poster competitions at St. Louis in 2019.
Currently, Tang is a postdoctoral associate at Yale University School of Medicine, where he focuses on arthropod-borne infectious diseases.
“Xiaotian was an excellent Ph.D. student,” Tamborindeguy said. “He is very hard working and prolific. He was also an excellent speaker, winning several first place awards at ESA competitions.”
Tamborindeguy also noted that Tang is the second Ph.D. student in her lab that has received the Comstock award. The other student was Freddy Ibanez, which received the Comstock in 2018.
“We are very proud of him,” Tamborindeguy said.
Tang will be recognized during the ESA’s virtual annual meeting that will be taking place from November 11-25.