Kun Yan Zhu

Professor of entomology

Kun Yan Zhu

Kun Yan Zhu is internationally recognized for his research on insect molecular toxicology. His research focuses on insect resistance to chemical insecticides and Bacillus thuringiensis toxins; insect acetylcholinesterase; management of stored product pests; chitin biosynthesis, metabolism, and inhibition; and RNA interference.

His laboratory first documented the acetylcholinesterase paralogous gene in the greenbug, which led to the discoveries of the paralogous gene in many other insects and the mutations associated with this gene in insecticide-resistant insects by other researchers. His lab developed a feeding-based, double-stranded RNA delivery technique by using chitosan/double-stranded RNA nanoparticles for mosquito larvae.

Zhu has authored or co-authored 135 peer-reviewed papers and reviews, 12 book chapters, and 325 presentations — 114 invited — delivered at international, national, regional and local professional meetings. He has served as a major or co-major professor for 19 graduate students, and as a supervisory committee member for an additional 30 graduate students in various academic disciplines. He has hosted 27 professors, Fulbright scholars, and other visiting scholars from Brazil, China, Egypt, Germany, India and Togo.

Zhu has served as subject editor of Journal of Economic Entomology; academic editor of PLOS ONE; associate editor of Pest Management Science; and editorial board member of eight other scientific journals, including Acta Entomologica Sinica, Archives of Insect Biochemistry and Physiology, Conference Papers in Biology, Insect Science, Journal of Integrative Agriculture, Pesticide Biochemistry and Physiology, Scientific Reports, and Psyche: A Journal of Entomology. He served as a guest editor for a special issue on insect RNA interference and for a special section on insect chitin metabolism, both published in Insect Science in 2013. He has peer reviewed more than 330 manuscripts for approximately 60 scientific journals.

Zhu was awarded the Summer Faculty Fellowship by the National Research Council in 2004, and the C.V. Riley Achievement Award in 2009 and the Recognition Award in Entomology in 2011, both from the Entomological Society of America North Central Branch. He was elected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2012, and a fellow of the Entomological Society of America in 2014.

Born in Zhejiang Province, China, Zhu attended Zhejiang Agricultural University, where he received his Bachelor of Science in plant protection with specialization in entomology in 1982. After he taught and conducted research in entomology at Zhejiang Agricultural University for five years, he joined William A. Brindley's laboratory at Utah State University as a graduate student in 1987. He earned his master's degree and doctoral degree in biology in 1989 and 1992, respectively. He then worked with John M. Clark as a postdoctoral research associate and later as a research faculty member at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst from 1992-1995. He accepted a position as assistant professor in K-State's entomology department in 1995, and was promoted to associate professor in 2002 and full professor in 2007.

He can be reached at 785-532-4721 or kzhu@k-state.edu.