Rutgers entomologist honored by Chinese Academy of Sciences


New Brunswick, NJ Randy Gaugler, a distinguished professor of entomology at Rutgers' Cook College, has been named as a recipient of the 2006 Albert Einstein Professorship by the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Gaugler said he was pleasantly surprised to have been selected for the prestigious award. "The recipients are some of the biggest names in science, giants in their field," he said. "I've received awards in my area, but this transcends the traditional agricultural disciplines."

Among the 15 recipients of the award are six Nobel Prize laureates in fields ranging from economics to physics, and one Turing Award winner. Recipients are chosen yearly from a pool of nominees by a panel chaired by Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) President Lu Yongxiang. The award winners are invited to visit the CAS, give academic lectures in their respective fields and to host postdoctoral-level researchers as part of an academic exchange.

"Randy has long been recognized as a leader in his field, so it is highly gratifying to see his hard work and dedication recognized in this way," said Philip Furmanski, executive vice president for Academic Affairs at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

That the CAS recognized Gaugler's contributions to entomology speaks volumes of his international reputation, said Robert Goodman, dean of Rutgers' Cook College. "This award is a fitting recognition of Randy's career achievements, and I am extremely pleased and proud that he has been chosen."

Gaugler is an expert and leader in insect pathology, particularly in the area of insect control by biological means, also known as entomopathology. He has pioneered the use of nematodes (a phylum of microscopic worms that are parasitic in animals or plants) as a replacement for chemical insecticides. Laboratory or field applications of nematodes have been effective against more than 400 pest species. In addition, Gaugler was a key player in securing U.S. Environmental Protection Agency exemption of entomopathogenic nematodes for use as insecticides, which means that the agency considers insect nematodes to be of minimal risk to the environment.

Gaugler also is well known for his work to develop molecular methods for the genetic improvement of entomopathogenic nematodes. This work, considered by many to be groundbreaking, provided new molecular tools and resulted in the first reported field release of a nonmicrobial, transgenic "natural enemy."

The author of more than 180 refereed journal articles, as well as three books that are considered to be the seminal texts in his field, Gaugler frequently is asked to lecture abroad. He has presented invited lectures in 40 countries spanning six continents. Gaugler's research has led to six patents, six licensing agreements and nine bioinsecticidal products that currently are used in six countries spanning three continents. He has been elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science as well as of the Entomological Society of America (ESA). Gaugler is the past recipient of numerous awards, including the Rutgers Board of Trustee's Excellence in Research Award, the ESA Recognition in Entomology Award, and the ESA Excellence in Integrated Pest Management Award.

Most recently, Gaugler was awarded a 2005 Research Fulbright, which will take him to Egypt to develop low-cost alternatives to the mass production of nematodes for biological control in agriculture. Gaugler has worked extensively to aid scientists in developing nations by way of helping to secure funding or by organizing symposia in these areas. In the past, he has obtained Lindbergh funding for entomologists in Ethiopia, organized a workshop in Israel and led a symposium in Egypt. In addition, he has served on dissertation committees in Cuba, Egypt, India and Thailand.

In nominating Gaugler for the ESA Fellowship, Karl Maramorosch, Robert L. Starkey Professor of microbiology at Rutgers, wrote, "Professor Gaugler displays a passion for excellence in research, teaching and outreach. He has had real-world impact and [has] been a visionary leader for his discipline."

Gaugler earned his B.S. in entomology from North Dakota State University and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in entomology from North Carolina State University and the University of Wisconsin, respectively. He has been a professor at Rutgers University since 1982.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
    Published on All rights reserved.