The Department of Entomology at Texas A&M University congratulates Master’s student John Grunseich as he was awarded with the Entomological Society of America’s Plant-Insect Ecosystems Master’s Student Achievement in Entomology Award.
The award is given to master’s students who have demonstrated creativity and significant achievements through research, teaching and/or outreach in entomology.
Grunseich joined Dr. Anjel Helms’ lab in 2019 where he is studying the chemical ecology of below ground multitrophic interactions among plants, root-feeding herbivores, and natural enemies.
Grunseich is investigating the role of chemical compounds in mediating interactions among cucumber beetles, cucumber plants, and entomopathogenic nematodes. The research focuses on various volatile cues that function in plant defense, host-finding, and predator avoidance.
Before joining Texas A&M, Grunseich was an intern for the Texas State Integrated Pest Management Internship program where he worked field experiments studying sugarcane aphids on grain sorghum. He investigated effectiveness of insecticides, conducted sorghum variety trials and studied the effects of aphid damage on yields and its population dynamics.
Grunseich also completed a second undergraduate research internship with the Sword lab at Texas A&M studying the effects of endophytic fungi on sorghum performance and plant resistance to the sugarcane aphid. He performed inoculation assays to evaluate effective methods for inoculating sorghum with the endophytes and conducted bioassays to quantify aphid performance.
Grunseich participated in numerous outreach programs such as the Texas A&M Darwin Day and the ESA’s Insect Expo during the annual meeting in St. Louis. He is currently serving as the Vice President of External Affairs for the Graduate Student Organization where he represents all graduate students within the Department at the university-wide Graduate Student Council meetings.
“John is an extremely deserving recipient of this award. He has incredible motivation and work ethic and a very collaborative spirit,” Helms said. “He is a valued member of our research lab and I look forward to seeing all that he accomplishes.”