Walter S. Leal
Co-Chair, 2016 International Congress of Entomology
Chemical ecologist Dr. Walter S. Leal, former professor and chair of the Department of Entomology, and current professor of biochemistry in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of California, Davis, is a pioneer in the field of insect communication and conducts cutting-edge research. His work involves how insects detect smells, communicate with their species, detect host and non-host plants, and detect prey. Dr. Leal uses innovative approaches to solve insect olfaction problems. He has identified complex pheromones from many insect species, including scarab beetles, true bugs, longhorn beetles, and moths. He and his laboratory discovered the secret mode of the insect repellent, DEET.
Leal’s educational background is eclectic and geographically diverse. A native of Recife, Brazil, he holds a doctorate in applied biochemistry from Tsukuba University, Japan; he also earned degrees in chemical engineering from Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Brazil, and agricultural chemistry from Mie University, Japan.
Leal is the first non-Japanese to hold tenure with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries of Japan. He served as Head of Laboratory and Research Leader at the National Institute of Sericultural and Entomological Science, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, Japan, before joining the UC Davis Department of Entomology faculty in 2000. Under his tenure as department chair, the Chronicle of Higher Education ranked the department no. 1 in the country.
A member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences, Fellow of the Entomological Society of America, the Royal Entomological Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Leal has also been honored by entomological societies in Brazil and Japan, receiving the Gakkaisho from the Japanese Society of Applied Entomology and Zoology and the Medal of Achievement from Entomological Society of Brazil.
He served as president of the International Society of Chemical Ecology (ISCE) and ESA’s Integrative Physiological and Molecular Insect System Section. He is a co-founder of the Asia Pacific Association of Chemical Ecologists and played a key role in founding the Latin American Association of Chemical Ecology.
Leal has published his work in more than 180 peer-reviewed journals in the general field of insect pheromones, insect chemical communication, and insect olfaction, many widely cited by his peers. He holds 28 Japanese and two U.S. patents, and wrote 17 book chapters and review articles, including two in the Annual Review of Entomology.
Alvin M. Simmons
Co-Chair, 2016 International Congress of Entomology
Dr. Alvin M. Simmons is a Research Entomologist with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Vegetable Laboratory in Charleston, South Carolina. Simmons is recognized internationally for his innovative research on integrated pest management (IPM) in vegetable and field crops. Excluding abstracts, he is the author/coauthor of more than 122 scientific publications (90 are refereed journal articles and 5 are breeding line releases). Several of his publications are the result of collaborations with researchers in several countries. He presented research papers at four of the past five ICE Congresses. His documented research on whiteflies and other insects provides information on host plant resistance, biological control, insect bionomics and ecology, biopesticides, trapping, and insect–plant–virus associations. In addition, the registration of pesticides for specialty crops using Simmons’ data from more than 150 reports to the national IR-4 Project has provided critical pesticides needed by growers to manage important pest problems for which they would otherwise have few or no viable control options. This includes insecticides which are used globally on many specialty crops. Simmons received an IR-4 Meritorious Award for his IR-4 work. His basic and applied research often led to collaborative research, special invitations, and research grants.
Simmons takes an active role in scientific societies, research conferences and workshops by chairing committees, moderating sessions, and chairing and organizing formal symposia. For example, he served as President of the Southeastern Branch of the Entomological Society of America (ESA); Entomological Foundation Board of Counselors; Chair, ESA International Affairs Committee; Co-Chair, ESA Local Arrangement Committee; ESA Program Committee; Chair, ESA Presidential Committee on International Congress of Entomology Travel Grant; Steering Committee, International Plant Resistance to Insects; and Southeastern Branch–ESA services on Executive Committee; Chair, Program Committee; and Chair, Local Arrangement Committee.
Among his honors, Simmons was the first recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Kentucky, Department of Entomology, and a recipient of the Southeastern Branch–Entomological Society of America Award for Excellence in Integrated Pest Management. He has visited 26 countries for work-related and personal travel. Simmons recently served on a special assignment to head the USDA–ARS, J. Phil Campbell Natural Resource Conservation Center in Watkinsville, Georgia, USA, as Acting Research Leader.