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Posts Tagged: Diane Ullman

Did Anyone Say "Insect-Vectored Pathogens?"

Thrips. (Photo by Jack Kelly Clark)
We're still in the throes of January but already UC Davis entomologist Diane Ullman and her colleagues are busily organizing two consecutive mid-May conferences at the Asilomar Conference Center, Pacific Grove. They'll target insect-vectored plant pathogens, their impacts, and innovative strategies for risk assessment and management.

The two conferences will draw international scientists, Extension specialists, and agricultural industry professionals, among others. 

Professor Ullman of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and a former associate dean for Undergraduate Academic Programs, UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences,  is a key organizer, along with George Kennedy of the North Carolina State University Department of Entomology, Neil McRoberts of the UC Davis Department of Plant Pathology and Robert Kemerait of University of Georgia. 

The first conference, to take place May 14-16, is “Enhancing Risk Index-Driven Decision Tools for Managing Insect-Transmitted Plant Pathogens,” sponsored by the USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture's Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (USDA NIFA/AFRI). Ullman is co-principal investigator of the five-year, $3.75 million grant awarded in 2012 from the USDA AFRI/NIFA to develop and implement a national scientific and educational network to limit thrips-caused crop losses. This conference will convene experts in modelling, risk assessment, and innovative IPM technology in an intimate setting to discuss the latest breakthroughs in modelling insect vectored plant pathogen threats and mobile applications for risk assessment and management strategy assessment. Early bird registration and poster abstract submission ends March 15t and can be accessed at registration and poster abstract submission ends March 15 and can be accessed at http://ucanr.edu/sites/tospo/Registration/ and http://ucanr.edu/sites/tospo/Participate/ respectively.

The second conference is the Xth International Symposium on Thysanoptera and Tospoviruses, to be held May 16-20.  "This meeting is the tenth in a series of international symposia that, over 30 years, have grown to be the dominant vehicle and venue for information exchange between scientists investigating problems related to thrips and tospoviruses around the world," Ullman said. "These symposia have been instrumental in extending knowledge and producing new solutions and innovations in thrips and tospovirus management worldwide, by providing a forum for sharing research findings and integrating fundamental and applied knowledge."

Thrips are tiny insects that pierce and suck fluids from hundreds of species of plants, including tomatoes, grapes, strawberries and soybeans. The pests cause billions of dollars in damage to U.S. agricultural crops as direct pests and in transmitting plant viruses in the genus Tospovirus, such as Tomato spotted wilt virus. “There are 23 additional approved and emerging tospovirus genotypes transmitted by at least 14 thrips species (Thysanoptera: Thripidae),” said Ullman, who has been researching thrips and tospoviruses since 1987.

The May 14-16 workshop will feature speakers and discussions focused on development and deployment of risk index-driven tools for the management of vector-borne diseases, including modelling, epidemiology, risk assessment and user interfaces. Researchers will discuss decision tools, risk assessment in managing insect vectors and pathogens in crops, and accomplishments, challenges and gaps. Early registration is underway. Scientists are invited to submit abstracts (see http://ucanr.edu/sites/tospo/Participate/)

The May 16-20 symposium will feature presentations of common interest to both insect and virus research areas during morning sessions and a poster session. It will also include specialized discussions, and contributed presentations in the afternoon and evening.

“This is a unique opportunity to convene leading international scientists, extension specialists, and individuals in the agricultural industry to share and discuss the latest findings in thrips and tospovirus biology, ecology and management,” said Ullman. Registration is now underway. Scientists who seek to participate are invited to submit poster and contributed talk abstracts, Ullman said. The deadline to submit abstracts is March 15 (http://ucanr.edu/sites/ISTT10/Participate/).

It's going to be a busy seven days--May 14-20--at the Asilomar Conference Center... 

UC Davis entomologist Diane Ullman is a key organizer of the two conferences focusing on insect-vectored pathogens. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
UC Davis entomologist Diane Ullman is a key organizer of the two conferences focusing on insect-vectored pathogens. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

UC Davis entomologist Diane Ullman is a key organizer of the two conferences focusing on insect-vectored pathogens. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Wednesday, January 28, 2015 at 9:26 PM

Diane Ullman: An Honor Well Deserved

ESA president Frank Zalom presents the 2014 Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching Award to Diane Ullman. (Photo by Trav Willilams, Broken Banjo Photography)
An honor well deserved.

Diane Ullman, professor of entomology at the University of California, Davis, is known for her innovative, multidisciplinary teaching strategies that connect science and art programs.

So when she stepped on stage last month at the Entomological Society of America's meeting in Portland, Ore., to receive the coveted Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching, the crowd enthusiastically applauded. Well done! Congratulations!

Her colleague, ESA president Frank Zalom, a distinguished professor and an integrated pest management specialist in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, presented the award to her.

Key examples that showcase her work include the Art/Science Fusion Program (using experiential learning to enhance scientific literacy), the Career Discovery Group Program (training mentors to help students explore careers and select majors), and the national Thrips-Tospovirus Educational Network (training graduate students and postdoctoral scholars to mentor new scientists).

Ullman chaired the UC Davis Department of Entomology in 2004-2005, and served as an associate dean for undergraduate academic programs, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences from 2005 to 2014.  There she led curriculum and program development, student recruitment and outreach, and she administrated all undergraduate academic activities.

Ullman's research revolves around insects that transmit plant pathogens, in particular plant viruses. She is best known for advancing international knowledge of interactions between thrips and tospoviruses and aphids and citrus tristeza virus. Her contributions have played a fundamental role in developing novel strategies for management of insects and plant viruses. She leads a $3.75 million Coordinated Agricultural Project, and has authored more than 100 refereed publications.

Highly honored for her work, Ullman is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2014) and ESA (2011). Among her many honors: the USDA Higher Education Western Regional Award for Excellence in College and University Teaching (1993), the UC Davis Chancellor's Achievement Award for Diversity and Community (2008), and the 2014 Distinguished Award in Teaching from ESA's Pacific Branch.

Ullman received her bachelor's degree in horticulture from the University of Arizona in 1976 and her doctorate  in entomology from UC Davis in 1985. She began her career in 1987 at the University of Hawaii-Manoa, relocating in 1995 to UC Davis' Department of Entomology and Nematology. Ullman also holds a joint appointment with the graduate programs of the Department of Entomology and Nematology, and the Department of Plant Pathology.

“Dr. Ullman is a world-renowned and highly respected teacher, but she is an outstanding mentor, researcher and administrator who combines innovation, energy, talent and dedication to help students learn, retain that knowledge, and succeed in class, college and life," the nominating team wrote. "They cannot praise her enough, and neither can we.”

Agreed!

Diane Ullman looking over students' work. The colorful bee boxes were then moved over to the Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road, UC Davis. The UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology operates the garden. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Diane Ullman looking over students' work. The colorful bee boxes were then moved over to the Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road, UC Davis. The UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology operates the garden. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Diane Ullman looking over students' work. The colorful bee boxes were then moved over to the Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road, UC Davis. The UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology operates the garden. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Diane Ullman talks about the art projects in the Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, UC Davis, that she and colleague Donna Billick launched. Ullman and Billick co-founded the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Diane Ullman talks about the art projects in the Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, UC Davis, that she and colleague Donna Billick launched. Ullman and Billick co-founded the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Diane Ullman talks about the art projects in the Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, UC Davis, that she and colleague Donna Billick launched. Ullman and Billick co-founded the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Wednesday, December 3, 2014 at 8:30 PM

Mayflies, Fish and the Fusion of Art and Science

Mayfly on an atichoke. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
This week while searching through backyard  photos, I came across a mayfly I photographed on July 1, 2012 on our flowering artichoke. It looked like a little ol' man skiing through a purple landscape of spiked petals.

How did the mayfly wind up on the flowering artichoke? Well, there's a body of water close by--our fish pond.

Speaking of fish--not the kind in our pond, though--the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program is hosting a LASER-UC Davis event on Thursday night, Dec. 4 and one of the speakers is Chris Dewees, retired marine fisheries specialist, who fuses art with science. His topic: "Passion for Fish: When East Meets West."

The LASER event, free and open to the public, is scheduled from 6:30 to 9 p.m. in the Room 3001 conference room of the Plant and Environmental Sciences (PES) Building, UC Davis campus. LASER is an acronym for Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous.  

Dewees, a San Francisco native with a lifelong passion for fish, will speak from 8:10 to 8:35. His career has included commercial fishing and 35 years as the statewide marine fisheries specialist based at UC Davis. 

When first exposed to the Japanese art of gyotaku, DeWees says he was "hooked." Gyotaku is the traditional method of Japanese fish printing, dating back to the mid-1800s.

His illustrated talk will offer insights into two-way communication between scientists and artists. "I will talk about how I can express my love of fisheries as a science-based career and as art."

"Combining my fisheries expertise with this art form gives me a very balanced life and a way to communicate my passion for fish to others," DeWees says. The art has led to shows and adventures around the world including the Smithsonian. Dewees received his bachelor of science degree from the University of Redlands in biology and speech; his master's degree from Humboldt State University in fisheries; and his doctorate at UC Davis in ecology. 

Three other presentations will take place at LASER-UC Davis event.  It's a good time to "bug out" of the house and attend.

The complete schedule:

6:30 to 7 p.m.
 Socializing and networking 

7 to 7:25 p.m. Venkatesan Sundaresan, a plant sciences professor at UC Davis, will speak on “Mysteries of the Silent Kingdom: Sticking to One's Roots, Managing Hormones and Spreading Genes”

7:25 to 7:50 p.m. Robin Hill,  art professor at UC Davis, will speak on “Idea Cultivation in the Studio.” 

7:50 to 8:10 p.m.
 Break: Networking/socializing.

8:10 to 8:35 p.m.  Chris Dewees, retired marine fisheries specialist at UC Davis, will speak on “Passion for Fish: When East Meets West." 

8:35 to 9 p.m.   Nanette Wylde, professor of art and art history at California State University, Chico, will speak on “Instigating Some Kind of Action: Interactive Projects Online and Off.” 

The coordinator/moderator, Anna Davidson of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, received her Ph.D. earlier this year from UC Davis in plant sciences and is now seeking her master's degree in fine arts.  She continues to study the biological world using both artistic and scientific approaches.

The UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program was founded by entomologist/artist Diane Ullman, professor of entomology at UC Davis and her colleague, self-described "rock artist" Donna Billick, now retired. Their legacy--and that of the students they taught--is the mosaic ceramic art all over campus and beyond.

Retired marine fisheries specialist Chris DeWees fuses art with science.
Retired marine fisheries specialist Chris DeWees fuses art with science.

Retired marine fisheries specialist Chris DeWees fuses art with science.

Posted on Tuesday, December 2, 2014 at 9:18 PM

Just Buggin' Ya

Frank Zalom (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
If there's ever a time to start "buggin' someone,' that would be at the Entomological Society of America's 62nd annual meeting, set Nov. 16-19 in the Oregon Convention Center, Portland, Ore.  

There will be plenty of people to bug.

Some 3200 entomologists or persons interested in insects are registered to attend.

Our own Frank Zalom, distinguished professor of entomology in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, serves as president of the 7000-member organization, founded in 1889.  He's the second UC Davis entomologist to hold the office. The first was Donald McLean (1928-2014), emeritus professor and former chair of the department.

Zalom, an integrated pest management specialist, has selected his theme as "Grand Challenges Beyond Our Horizon," a perfect theme for a meeting in the Great Northwest.

Richard Levine, communications program manager for ESA, says that more than 90 symposia are planned and will cover such topics as bed bugs, honey bees, monarch butterflies, ticks, native pollinators, pesticide regulations, biological control, integrated pest management, genetically-modified crops, invasive species, forestry, entomophagy, organic farming, insect-vectored diseases, and more. In addition, there will be 1,750 papers and posters, Levine reports.

Highlights include:

  • Beyond Pesticides: The Conundrum of Bed Bugs
  • Insects as Sustainable and Innovative Sources of Food and Feed Production
  • Recovering Monarch Butterfly Populations in North America: A Looming Challenge for Science, the Public, Industry, and Legislators
  • Classical Biological Control of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, Halyomorpha halys (Stål)
  • Nutrition and the Health and Behavior of Wild and Managed Bees
  • Contributions of Mosquito Research to Science & Society
  • Entomological Comics and Their Importance in Education and Culture
  • RNAi: Emerging Technology to Overcome Grand Challenges in Entomology
  • IPM: An International Organic Farming Strategy on Invasive Insect Species
  • New Frontiers in Honey Bee Health Economics: Incorporating Entomological Research and Knowledge into Economic Assessments

UC Davis will have quite a presence at the meeting. Among the scientists to be honored at the ESA meeting are three from UC Davis: Professor Diane Ullman and doctorate recipients Kelly Hamby (2014) and James F. Campbell (1999)

Diane Ullman (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Professor Ullman is the recipient of ESA's distinguished achievement award in teaching.  This is the highest honor that  ESA awards to its outstanding teachers. Ullman earlier was named the recipient of the outstanding teaching award from the Pacific Branch of ESA. Ullman chaired the UC Davis Department of Entomology in 2004-2005, and served as an associate dean for undergraduate academic programs, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. from 2005 to 2014. (See more information.)

Kelly Hamby, recipient of the John Henry Comstock Graduate Student Award from the Pacific Branch of ESA, will be honored, along with the other Comstock award winners from the other branches. (See more information)

Kelly Hamby
Hamby received her doctorate in entomology at UC Davis in March 2014, studying with major professor Frank Zalom. She has just accepted a position with the Department of Entomology at the University of Maryland, College Park. Starting in November, she will be an assistant professor of sustainable agroecosystems and will be involved in integrated pest management research, extension, and teaching. (See more information)

Research entomologist James F. Campbell, who earned his doctoral in entomology from UC Davis in 1999, will receive a special recognition award. The award, sponsored by Syngenta Crop Protection, recognizes entomologists who are making significant contributions to agriculture. Campbell is a research entomologist with the  Center for Grain and Animal Health Research Service of the USDA's Agricultural Research Service, Manhattan, Kansas.  (See more information)

Three professors who received their doctorates in entomology in the 1980s from UC Davis are among this year's 10 elected Fellows.

They are:

  • Nilsa A. Bosque-Pérezprofessor, Department of Plant, Soil and Entomological Sciences at the University of Idaho. She received two degrees from UC Davis: her master's degree in 1981 and Ph.D. in 1985.
  • Gary Felton, professor and head of the Department of Entomology at Penn State University. He received his doctorate from UC Davis in 1988. In 2010, he delivered the Thomas and Nina Leigh Distinguished Alumni Lecture at UC Davis
  • Murray B. Ismanprofessor of entomology and toxicology at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. He received his doctorate from UC Davis in 1981. In 2012, he delivered the Thomas and Nina Leigh Distinguished Alumni Lecture at UC Davis

James Campbell
Graduate students in the UC Davis Department Entomology will participate in a debate on neonicotinoids.  The team, coached by Michael Parrella, professsor and chair of the department, is comprised of Jenny Carlson, Anthony Cornel lab; Rei Margaret "Rei" Scampavia, Neal Williams/Edwin Lewis lab; Ralph Washington Jr., Nadler lab; Daniel Klittich, Parrella lab; and Mohammard-Amir Aghaee, Larry Godfrey lab.

Many faculty and students will present talks or displays at the event.

Each participant will receive a copy of the 2014 ESA calendar, which features the work of insect photographers throughout the world.

A red flameskimmer dragonfly (Libellula saturata), taken by yours truly, is among the images.  I bugged the bug.  "Lib" perched on a bamboo stake near our fish pond and was not at all skittish when I walked up and asked "Okay if I bug you for a photo? After you polish off that sweat bee?"

In bug language, Lib said "Go ahead. Just get my best side, please."

So I did. Lib's best side. And then I wrote the requisite caption about this amazing dragonfly.

"The flameskimmer dragonfly (Libellula saturata) is native to western North America. It feeds on bees, flies, moths and other soft-bodied insects, catching them in flight and returning to a perch to eat. The males, about two to three inches long, are larger than the females. The males are firecracker red or dark orange, while the females are a medium to a darker brown. Adult dragonflies hang out at ponds, streams, ditches and at other water habitats. Females lay their eggs in warm ponds or small streams. The nymphs ambush their prey, feeding on insect larvae, including mosquitoes and aquatic flies. The nymphs also eat small fish, tadpoles and each other."

Flameskimmer dragonfly, Libellula saturata. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Flameskimmer dragonfly, Libellula saturata. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Flameskimmer dragonfly, Libellula saturata. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Wednesday, November 5, 2014 at 5:15 PM

Time for Celebration and Nostalgia

Donna Billick with a bouquet of flowers from UC Davis Arboretum director Kathleen Socolofsky. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
It was a time for celebration and a time for nostalgia.

The UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, an innovative program that fuses art with science--and science with art--took shape 17 years ago, co-founded and co-directed by entomologist/artist  Diane Ullman and self-described "rock artist" Donna Billick.

Together Ulllman, professor of entomology, and Billick, trained as a scientist (genetics), formed a tight-knit talented team that taught Entomology 01 students about art and science. For nearly two decades, the duo taught students about such scientific subjects  as honey bees, bumble bees and dragonflies, and then inspired them to create mosaic ceramics, paintings and other art work.

“Participants see and feel art and science, hold it in their hands, hearts and memories—in ceramics, painting, photographs, music, and textiles,” Ullman said.

Today the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program includes science faculty, design faculty, museum educators, professional artists and UC Davis students.

Tonight (Friday, June 6) marked the end of an era. At the celebration in Third Space, Davis, a crowd came to admire the work of the spring-quarter ENT 01 students and praise the accomplishments of Billick, who is retiring from the university at the end of June. Barring a financial miracle or a grant to save the program, the spring quarter marked Billick's last as an ENT 01 teacher.

Of their 17 years together, Ullman quipped: “Some marriages don't last that long.”

Billick praised the students' work and "their ability to connect the head through the heart through their hands. We created together and we communicated together… the students rocked this venture.”

The result: an internationally recognized program that continues to draw oohs and aahs, as well as and overseas invitations to speak. Much of the art is displayed throughout the campus, including the UC Davis Arboretum and the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, a half-acre bee friendly garden on Bee Biology Road, west of the central campus.

Diane Ullman, co-founder and co-director of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
UC Davis Arboretum Director and Assistant Vice Chancellor Kathleen Socolofsky, applauded the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program's huge legacy of art in the Arboretum that attracts scores of visitors and will be treasured for generations. One piece, Nature's Gallery, showing the interaction of plants and insects, was displayed in the U.S. Botanical Garden, Washington D.C., and is now permanently at home in the Arboretum's Storer Garden.

As for Billick, she toyed with a scientific career before opting for a career that fuses art with science. She received her bachelor of science degree in genetics in 1973 and her master's degree in fine arts in 1977, studying art with such masters as Bob Arneson, Roy De Forest, Wayne Thiebaud and Manuel Neri. 

Billick maintains a compound in Baja, where she teaches three workshops a year called "Heaven on Earth." 

For outstanding teaching, Diane Ullman was recently selected the recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Award in Teaching from the Pacific Branch, Entomological Society of America. She is now one of six candidates for the ESA Distinguished Teaching Award. ESA will select the recipient from one of six branches—Pacific, Eastern, North Central, Southeastern, Southwestern and International—and present the award at its Nov. 16-19 meeting in Portland, Ore.

Billick said she is grateful for the UC Davis experiences and the endless opportunities. "I'm looking forward to the next phase (of my life as an artist)," she said. "Please don't think of me as leaving; I'm spreading out.”


""Rock artist" Donna Billick with Terry Nathan, UC Davis professor of atmospheric science. He teaches photography in the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

"Rock artist" Donna Billick with Terry Nathan, UC Davis professor of atmospheric science. He teaches photography in the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Entomology 01 student Justine Abbott, majoring in biological sciences, created this work on the Asian giant hornet, Vespa manderinia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Entomology 01 student Justine Abbott, majoring in biological sciences, created this work on the Asian giant hornet, Vespa manderinia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Entomology 01 student Justine Abbott, majoring in biological sciences, created this work on the Asian giant hornet, Vespa manderinia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Entomology 01 student Eric Smith, majoring in biochemistry, titled his work on the walnut husk fly,
Entomology 01 student Eric Smith, majoring in biochemistry, titled his work on the walnut husk fly, "Look Into My Eyes." (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Entomology 01 student Eric Smith, majoring in biochemistry, titled his work on the walnut husk fly, "Look Into My Eyes." (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Friday, June 6, 2014 at 10:08 PM

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