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Entomologist Awarded University's Highest Honor

Kun Yan ZhuKun Yan Zhu, professor of entomology, was honored as a 2017 Kansas State University distinguished professor, the highest honor the university bestows on its faculty.

Zhu is internationally recognized for his research and teaching programs in insecticide toxicology and insect molecular biology. He has developed productive research collaborations, obtained research grants totaling $7.6 million, and generated numerous scholarly publications. His research has been cited more than 4,400 times.

“His scholarly achievements and academic leadership display a diversity that is innovative, international, cross-disciplinary and has beneficial impacts to science, to the university, and to human society,” said Professor Tom Phillips, who nominated Zhu.

Zhu was part of a team that discovered a new insecticide target gene in a major agricultural insect pest, which was cited as “a breakthrough in this toxicological riddle” by his international peers. The team received a U.S. patent in 2014 that covers microscopic, genetics-based technology to help safely kill mosquitos and other insect pests.

He was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2012 and the Entomological Society of America (ESA) in 2014. He also has served as editor or editorial board member for 12 scientific journals. He will be the 2018 vice president-elect for the Insect Physiology, Biochemistry and Physiology section of the ESA.

K-State recognized Zhu with the 2014 Commerce Bank and W.T. Kemper Foundation Distinguished Graduate Faculty Award and the 2016 College of Agriculture Excellence in Graduate Teaching Award. 



Zhu has directly mentored more than 20 graduate students and served on the advisory committees for many more. 

“Dr. Zhu ensures that each student understands the material presented and leaves class with a significant and positive impression and understanding of the subject matter,” Phillips said.