UC Davis Entomology/Nematology Fall Seminars Begin Wednesday, Sept. 21

The UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology's series of 11 seminars for the fall season will begin Wednesday, Sept. 21 with a presentation on Diabrotica (cornroot worms). 

Emily Meineke, assistant professor of urban landscape entomology, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, and coordinator of the department's seminars for the 2022-23 academic year, announced that all 11 seminars will take place both in-person and virtually at 4:10 p.m. on Wednesdays. in Room 122 of Briggs Hall except for the Nov. 9th and Dec. 7th seminars, which will be virtual only. 

First in line is assistant professor Nicholas "Nick" Miller of the Department of Biology, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, who will present his seminar on "Adaptation in the Cornfield, Research in the Classroom." The Zoom link: https://ucdavis.zoom.us/j/95882849672.

Host is molecular geneticist and physiologist Joanna Chiu, professor and vice chair of the Department of Entomology and Nematology.

Miller, who holds a bachelor's degree and a doctorate from the University of Birmingham, says in his abstract: "Although they are largely studied because of their economic significance, agricultural pests can be useful model systems to study fundamental biology. The beetle genus Diabrotica ("corn rootworms") includes species with generalist and specialist feeding habits that overlap on a common host plant, maize. This makes the genus an excellent system to study the adaptations of insect herbivores with differing host ranges to a common set of plant defenses. A long-standing area of interest in my lab is the adaptations of generalist and specialist Diabrotica species to the maize defensive compound DIMBOA."

"Our interest in Diabrotica biology and evolution has lead naturally to an interest in Diabrotica genomics," Miller related. "Sequencing arthropod genomes is becoming relatively easy but analyzing and understanding those genomes remains hard and labor intensive. The flood of arthropod and other non-model genome sequences represents an opportunity for undergraduates to access research experiences that would otherwise be unavailable."

 Research in the Miller lab focuses on the population genetics and evolution of herbivorous insects. "We mostly study species that are pests of agriculture," he says on his website. "Key areas of interest include: adaptation by insect pests to the technologies intended to control them, including genetically-modified crops and pesticides; the interactions of specialist and generalist herbivores to plant defenses; dispersal and movement of insects and the genes they carry."

The other speakers: 

Wednesday, Sept. 28 
Nissa Coit, master's degree candidate studying honey bees
Elina Niño Bee Laboratory, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
Title: "Effects of Ethyl Oleate Pheromone on Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) Overwintering Physiology” (Exit seminar)

Wednesday, Oct. 5 
Olivia Winokur, doctoral candidate studying how the environment and mosquito behavior affect transmission dynamics of mosquito-borne viruses
Christopher Barker lab, Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, School of Veterinary Medicine, UC Davis 
Topic: Exit Seminar (title pending)

Wednesday, Oct. 12
Julian Dupuis, assistant professor, Department of Entomology, University of Kentucky
Title: “Developing Genomics-Based Molecular Diagnostic Tools for Recurrently Invading Tephritid Pests"
Host: Joanna Chiu, professor and vice chair of the Department of Entomology and Nematology

Wednesday, Oct. 19
Filipa Rijo-Ferreira, assistant professor, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, UC Berkeley
Title: "Circadian Rhythms in Parasitic Diseases"
Host: Joanna Chiu, professor and vice chair of the Department of Entomology and Nematology

Wednesday, Oct. 26
Yao Cai, doctoral candidate
Joanna Chiu laboratory, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
Title: Exit Seminar: "How Do Flies Tell the Time of Day?"
Host: Joanna Chiu, professor and vice chair of the Department of Entomology and Nematology

Wednesday, Nov. 2
Wanhe Li, assistant professor, Department of Biology, Texas A&M
Title: “How Time Flies During Lock-down?--Mechanisms Underlying Chronic Social Isolation-Induced Sleep Loss in Drosophila”
Host: Joanna Chiu, professor and vice chair of the Department of Entomology and Nematology

Wednesday, Nov. 9 (virtual only)
Xoaquín Moreira, Biological Mission of Galicia (CSIC)
Title: “Insularity Effects on Plant-Herbivore Interactions: Searching for Biotic and Abiotic Explanatory Variables to Promote Insular Biodiversity Conservation”
Host: Richard "Rick" Karban, UC Davis distinguished professor of entomology

Wednesday, Nov. 16
Cynthia Gleason, assistant professor, Department of Plant Pathology, Washington State University
Title: “How Do We Help Potato Growers Combat the Root-Knot Nematode Meloidogyne chitwoodi?”
Host: Shahid Siddique, assistant professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology

Wednesday, Nov. 30
Quinn McFrederick, assistant professor Department of Entomology, UC Riverside
Title: To be announced 
He specializes in insect-symbiont interactions, particularly the study of wild bees.
Host: Rachel Vannette, associate professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology

Wednesday, Dec. 7 (virtual only)
Mônica Ulyssea, Universidade de São Paulo Museu de Zoologia
Topic: Ants (title pending)
Expertise in myrmecology, taxonomy, phylogeny, systematics, curatorial practices, and science dissemination
Host: Jill Oberski, doctoral candidate, Phil Ward laboratory, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology

For further information on the seminars or technical difficulties with Zoom, contact the coordinator at ekmeineke@ucdavis.edu.