Biocontrol Scientists Hired at Midwest Universities

Research in biological control in the Midwest received a shot in the arm recently as three scientists were hired at universities in the region within the last few months.

Dr. Denise Olsen started July 1 at North Dakota State University. She's not a stranger to the Midwest, however, having obtained a master's degree at Iowa State University and completed her Ph.D. at Kansas State University. Her doctoral thesis was titled "Ecological and economic evaluation of augmentative control in concert with other non-insecticidal tactics as an alternative to chemical management of squash bug, Anasa tristis (DeGeer) on pumpkins." Prior to moving to NDSU, she spent three years as a postdoctoral research associate at the Georgia Experiment Station evaluating biological control in IPM approaches for aphid management in greenhouse floricultural systems.

Her research interest is in evaluating the efficacy and economic potential of biological control when used in IPM systems for insect pests of agricultural crops. At NDSU she will focus on potato pests, and in particular the Colorado potato beetle. She is also interested in insect pests of minor/alternative crops and in integrating an educational component, with public school educators, into her research program.

Dr. Leellen Solter began a new position in insect pathology at the Illinois Natural History Survey on September 16, but she's certainly not a newcomer to the area she had worked for nine years as a research scientist there with Dr. Joe Maddox, who retired at the end of July. Lee received her B.S. in Zoology from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, an M.A. in Biology from Montclair State University, and a Ph.D in Entomology in 1996 from the University of Illinois.

Lee's research interests include biology of insect pathogens, host-parasite-pathogen relationships, developmental cycles and host specificity of microsporidia pathogenic to insects, epizootiology of insect diseases, and biological control using insect pathogens. Her most recent research has focused on the host specificity of several microsporidia found in European populations of the gypsy moth, and evaluating laboratory host range tests of microsporidia for their ability to predict host range in the field.

We will profile Dr. George Heimpel, who recently started at the University of Minnesota, in the next issue of MBCN.

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