Walter Leal Named Recipient of ESA's Nan-Yao Su Award for Innovation and Creativity
Oct. 12, 2011
DAVIS--Chemical ecologist Walter Leal, professor and former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, is the recipient of the Entomological Society of America's Nan-Yao Su Award for Innovation and Creativity in Entomology.
Each year this award is given to an ESA member who is able to demonstrate, through his/her projects or accomplishments, an ability to identify problems and develop creative, alternative solutions that significantly impact entomology.
Leal will receive the award, which includes a cash prize and a plaque, at the 59th Annual ESA Meeting, set for Nov. 13-16 in Reno.
Leal, educated in Brazil and Japan, holds a doctorate in applied biochemistry from Tsukuba University, Japan, and also earned degrees in chemical engineering and agricultural chemistry.
A pioneer in the field of insect communication and on the cutting edge of research, he employs innovative approaches to insect olfaction problems. His work examines how insects detect smells, communicate with their species, detect host and non-host plants, and detect prey.
Leal has designed and synthesized complex pheromones from many insects, including scarab beetles, true bugs, longhorn beetles and the citrus leafminer. He and his lab discovered the secret mode of the insect repellent DEET.
A native of Brazil, Leal is a Fellow of the ESA and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He served as president of the International Society of Chemical Ecology (ISCE) and of ESA’s Integrative Physiological and Molecular Insect System Section. He received ESA’s 2008 Recognition Award in Insect Physiology, Biochemistry, and Toxicology; ISCE’s 2007 Silverstein-Simeone Award; and the highest medals of honor from the Entomological Society of Brazil and the Japanese Society of Applied Entomology and Zoology.
Under his tenure as department chair, the Chronicle of Higher Education ranked the department No. 1 in the country. Leal has published his work in more than 161 peer-reviewed journals in the general field of insect pheromones, insect chemical communication, and insect olfaction, many widely cited by his peers. He has 28 Japanese and two U.S. patents.
--Kathy Keatley Garvey
UC Davis Department of Entomology