University of California's entomology professors selected as fellows of ESA

Brian A. Federici and Alexander S. Raikhel will be recognized during society's annual meeting in December

Brian A. Federici and Alexander S. Raikhel, distinguished professors of entomology at the University of California, Riverside, have been selected as fellows of the Entomological Society of America (ESA).

This year's fellows bring the total number of UC Riverside faculty members who have received this distinction to 11 (three are deceased).

Selection as an ESA Fellow acknowledges outstanding contributions in one or more of the following: research, teaching, extension, or administration.

Federici and Raikhel will be recognized formally, along with eight other ESA Fellows selected this year, in December during the annual meeting of the ESA.

"Drs. Federici and Raikhel are recognized world leaders in their respective fields, and we as a campus are honored to have them among us," said Rick Redak, chair of the Department of Entomology. "Not only do these awards justifiably recognize these individuals' many outstanding contributions to entomological science, but they also reflect the quality and the excellence of the research conducted by the UCR Entomology Department."

Federici's research focuses on the basic and applied biology of pathogens of insects, with the overall aim of developing these and their products as biological, environmentally-safe insecticides.

He has published more than 200 peer-reviewed papers and review articles. He is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Invertebrate Pathology and a member of the editorial board of Applied and Environmental Microbiology. He has served as president of the Society for Invertebrate Pathology.

Awards he has received during his career include ESA's Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching; the UCR Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award; the Founders' Memorial Research Lecturer Award from the Society of Invertebrate Pathology; the U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary's Individual Honor Award; the C. W. Woodworth Award for research from ESA's Pacific Branch; and the Cook College Distinguished Alumni Award from Rutgers University.

He has served on a variety of panels during his career, including scientific advisory panels for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the World Health Organization's Expert Committee on Vector Biology and Control. He is an elected fellow of the America Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Raikhel is recognized internationally for his significant contributions to insect science and vector biology. A leader in insect and mosquito reproduction and immunity, he is the author or coauthor of more than 150 research papers in international peer-reviewed scientific journals and books.

His research focuses on genetic studies of blood-feeding arthropods, especially mosquitoes, which are responsible for transmitting many different diseases to animals and humans. His accomplishments include being among pioneers of genetic engineering of disease-resistant mosquitoes for the purpose of mosquito control.

Raikhel has deciphered in great molecular detail a chemical chain reaction and genes which prompts disease-spreading mosquitoes to produce and mature their eggs. Manipulation of this process may be key to controlling the mosquito populations responsible for the spread of disease.

His laboratory also uncovered how a female mosquito's first blood meal triggers its reproductive system to produce eggs, a finding that could lead to new ways of controlling disease-spreading mosquito populations.

His research team recently identified a pathway by which the mosquito's immune system recognizes some pathogens and protects the mosquito from disease.

He has served as co-editor of Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and he helped establish this as one of the major journals in the field. He established the Center for Disease Vector Research at UCR.

Raikhel received the ESA's Recognition Award in Insect Physiology, Biochemistry, & Toxicology in 2001. An AAAS Fellow, he was elected earlier this year to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in recognition of his pioneering research in mosquito physiology and molecular biology.

Earlier this month, Raikhel was appointed a University of California Presidential Chair. The University of California offers these positions to distinguished members of the university's faculty to encourage new or interdisciplinary program development or to enhance quality in existing academic programs.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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