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Source: C. Michael Smith, 785-532-4700, cmsmith@k-state.edu
Photo available. Contact media@k-state.edu or 785-532-2535.

Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010

CONTRIBUTIONS TO AGRICULTURE EARN ENTOMOLOGIST NATIONAL RECOGNITION

MANHATTAN -- The Entomological Society of America is recognizing a Kansas State University entomologist for significant contributions to agriculture.

K-State's C. Michael Smith is receiving the society's Recognition Award in Entomology, a $1,500 honor sponsored by Syngenta Crop Protection. The award, which includes a plaque, will be presented Sunday, Dec. 12, at the entomological society's annual meeting in San Diego, Calif.

Awardees must be current members of the entomological society who have contributed significantly to agricultural advancement through their work in the entomology field.

Smith has been a professor of entomology at K-State since 1990. His research group has identified numerous genes in barley and wheat plants resistant to the pest aphid Diuraphis noxia, and established that transcriptomes -- or total cell RNA -- of resistant plants are expressed more rapidly and at higher levels than those of susceptible plants. Using virus induced gene silencing, Smith's research recently resulted in having a putative D. noxiaresistance gene in wheat silenced. As a Fulbright scholar, Smith's collaborations with European and African scientists identified the first Diuraphis noxia biotypes in North Africa and South America. Recent research by Smith's group has revealed evidence of a second Diuraphis noxiaNorth American invasion in 2004.

Smith has published collaborative research results in more than 90 manuscripts in refereed journals, the majority of which are in Entomological Society of America publications; 16 book chapters; and three host plant resistance textbooks, the most recent being "Plant Resistance to Arthropods: Molecular and Conventional Approaches."

He is a recognized authority in the field of plant resistance to arthropods, presenting more than 60 invited lectures in 18 different countries. He is currently a subject editor for The Journal of Economic Entomology and Arthopod Plant Interactions.

Smith and his collaborators have been awarded more than $4 million in extramural funding support from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Kansas Crop Improvement Association, the Kansas Soybean Commission, the Kansas Wheat Commission and the Research Council for International Exchange of Scholars.

Smith served as an invited expert external examiner for dissertation assessment panels at The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University in Copenhagen, Denmark; the Universitat fur Bodenkultur, Vienna, Austria; and the University of Pretoria, South Africa. In 2004 Smith was named a recipient of the K-State Student Foundation E. Walter Morrison Award, and in 2009 he received the K-State Gamma Sigma Delta Honor Society of Agriculture Distinguished Faculty Award. He is a fellow of the Entomological Society of America and has been a representative on the society's governing board.

The Entomological Society of America is the largest organization in the world dedicated to serving the scientific and professional needs of entomologists and those in related disciplines. It is a not-for-profit scientific society governed by members elected to represent scientific sections and regional branches. The society has more than 6,000 members who are affiliated with educational institutions, health agencies, private industry and government. Members include researchers, teachers, extension service personnel, administrators, marketing representatives, research technicians, consultants, students, and hobbyists.