Author Archives: Rob Williams

Former Ph.D. Student Receives Presidential Professor Award

The Department of Entomology congratulates former Ph.D. student Dr. Asha Rao as she was recognized with the 2020 Presidential Professor for Teaching Excellence Award. The award was announced during the September Faculty Senate virtual meeting and is the highest honor bestowed on faculty members universitywide. Rao currently is an instructional assistant professor in the Department of Biology. Rao earned her Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees in 1996 and 2002 and worked as a postdoctoral researcher in Dr. Bradleigh Vinson’s lab and as a research associate at the… Read More →

How Texas became leader in safe public school pest management

Human, environmental health remain focus as AgriLife Extension makes school pest control safer by Gabe Saldana, Texas A&M AgriLife Marketing & Communications Anyone returning to a Texas public school this semester is safer from pests and pesticides, thanks to a host of integrated pest control practices required by the state and taught to licensed professionals by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Requirements for integrated pest management, or IPM, in Texas schools were passed by the Texas Legislature in 1991. IPM is the practice of controlling pests with… Read More →

Mike Merchant Awarded with Honorary Membership at the Entomological Society of America

Congratulations to former Professor and Extension Specialist Dr. Mike Merchant as he was named an honorary member of the Entomological Society of America in 2020. Merchant recently retired from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and was one of five entomologists in the nation that were named honorary members. The award acknowledges members who have served the ESA for at least 20 years outstanding work throughout their careers to advance the organization at an extraordinary level. For 31 years, Merchant has been serving the state as Professor and Extension… Read More →

Honey bee nutrition might be key to healthy populations

AgriLife Research, USDA project looks to honey bee diets to reduce population losses by Gabe Saldana, Texas A&M AgriLife Marketing and Communications A newly funded Texas A&M AgriLife Research project seeks to slow population losses among more than 2.6 million managed honey bee colonies in the U.S. Honey bees provide pollination services that uphold $16 billion in U.S. agricultural crops. However, managed colonies have seen annual declines. Those include a 40% decline as recently as 2018-2019, said Juliana Rangel, Ph.D, AgriLife Research honey bee scientist in the Department… Read More →

Former Ph.D. Student Named Comstock Award Winner

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… Read More →

Texas A&M research to examine mysteries of armyworms

Texas A&M graduate student awarded grant to research fall armyworms by Adam Russell, Texas A&M AgriLife Marketing and Communications A Texas A&M University graduate student received a research grant to better identify, understand and ultimately mitigate fall armyworm populations in Texas and the central U.S. Ashley Tessnow, a doctoral candidate in the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Department of Entomology, said armyworms have long been a pest that agriculture producers throughout the central U.S have tried to manage. But despite the long-standing battle against fall… Read More →

Grad Students Receive Awards at Virtual Graduate Student Forum

Congratulations to five of the Department of Entomology’s grad students that received recognition during the 23rd annual meeting of the Graduate Student Forum that was held virtually on Tuesday, August 18. This year’s forum featured 17 students giving presentations on diverse topics. The first place award was given to Morgan Thompson for her presentation titled “Undercover operation: root herbivory modifies aboveground plant-herbivore interactions.” Jonathan Hernandez received second for his presentation titled “Co-occurrence of kdr mutations V1016I and F1534C in the voltage-gated sodium channel and their impact on the… Read More →

Professor Retires After 30+ Years with Extension

The Department of Entomology and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service celebrated the retirement of a longtime professor and Extension Entomologist during a virtual celebration held on August 7. Merchant, a Professor and Extension Entomologist in Dallas, will be retiring on August 31. He has been with Extension for more than 30 years when he joined as an Urban Entomologist in the District 4 offices located in the Dallas area. His career highlights started in 1993 when Merchant was named Chair of the statewide School IPM Advisory Committee. As… Read More →

Congratulations Summer 2020 Graduates!!

A total of seven students in the Department of Entomology celebrated their graduations this summer virtually during August graduation on Friday, August 7. The students included 1 Entomology major, 1 Forensic and Investigative Sciences major and 5 Ph.D. candidates. Congratulations to the following students that are expected to graduate and good luck on your future endeavors!! Undergraduate Students Andrew Brock Chapman Bachelor of Science – Forensic and Investigative Sciences – Science Emphasis Stephen Colton Matcha Bachelor of Science – Entomology Graduate Students – Ph.D. Carlos Aguero Ph.D. –… Read More →

Texas A&M research project identifies COVID-19 positive pets in Brazos County

Sampling dogs, cats whose owners tested positive to understand how pets may be impacted by SARS-CoV-2 The transmission of COVID-19 to pets has been the source of much discussion within the scientific community. Reports have confirmed a small, but growing, list of positive cases among companion animals and exotic cats in the U.S. Now, new efforts within The Texas A&M University System are beginning to shed additional light on the topic. A team led by Sarah Hamer, Ph.D., DVM, associate professor of epidemiology at the Texas A&M College… Read More →