Pacific Branch of ESA Selects Kelly Hamby as Branch Winner for National Lillian and Alex Feir Graduate Student Award
March 17, 2011
Graduate student Kelly Hamby working in the Frank Zalom lab. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
DAVIS--Graduate student Kelly Hamby of the Frank Zalom lab, UC Davis Department of Entomology, is the recipient of the Lillian and Alex Feir Graduate Student Travel Award in Insect Physiology, Biochemistry or Molecular Biology from the Pacific Branch of the Entomological Society of America (PBESA).
Roger Vargas of Hawaii, president of PBESA, said Hamby will receive the branch award, a commemorative plaque, at the noon awards luncheon on Tuesday, March 29 at the PBESA meeting in Waikoloa, Hawaii.
PBESA will now nominate and endorse her for the national award from the Entomological Foundation. The Pacific Branch of ESA encompasses 11 U.S. states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming); several U.S. territories, including American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands; and parts of Canada and Mexico.
Hamby’s research focuses on the spotted wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii), first detected in California in the fall of 2008. The fly has become an important pest of berry and cherry crops, which have a combined farmgate value of $1.9 billion.
“My research is focused on the molecular biology and genomics of insecticide resistance in this fly,” Hamby said. “It is closely related to the model organism Drosophila melanogaster for which much is already known, so I hope to draw from those studies to enhance mine. I plan to monitor the genomic changes as resistance develops in both the field and the lab, and use this information to help growers manage insecticide resistance. “
Hamby works closely with molecular geneticist Joanna Chiu, a new UC Davis Department of Entomology faculty member who specializes in molecular chronobiology. "She has taught me the protocols and I greatly appreciate what she's done for us," Hamby said.
"I greatly appreciate Joanna’s willingness to work with my students to add an exciting and useful new dimension to their work," said Zalom, an integrated pest management (IPM) specialist and professor and former vice chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology.
Spotted wing drosophila from the Zalom lab. Click to enlarge. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Hamby, who is studying for her doctorate degree in entomology, is a graduate of UC Davis with a bachelor of science degree in environmental toxicology. She is from Brentwood, Contra Costa County.
The purpose of the Entomological Foundation award is to encourage graduate students working with insects or other arthropods in the broad areas of physiology, biochemistry, and molecular biology to affiliate with ESA's Integrative Physiological and Molecular Insect Systems Section and to attend the ESA annual meeting or an International Congress of Entomology.
The national travel award includes a cash prize and a certificate, which will be presented at the ESA annual meeting, set Nov. 13-16 in Reno. The winner also will be honored at the Section B meeting.
Dorothy Feir (1929-2008), the 1989 president of ESA, established the award as a tribute to her parents who, she said, “at considerable self-sacrifice, encouraged education and travel experience for their daughters.”
Feir, who grew up in Missouri, received her doctorate in entomology from the University of Wisconsin in 1968; taught biology at St. Louis University, beginning in 1961; and was the first woman president of the now 6000-member ESA. As a research scientist, she is known for being the first to demonstrate the presence of bacteria in Missouri ticks that causes Lyme disease. She was selected a fellow of ESA in 1993, an honor limited to only 10 persons a year. A philanthropist, she left a multimillion estate for the study of insects at various institutions.
--Kathy Keatley Garvey
UC Davis Department of Entomology