2019 Scholarship Recipient
Mark Dery is a fourth year Ph.D. candidate in the Entomology Department at the University of California, Riverside. After completion of an Associate degree at Riverside City College in 2013, he transferred to California State University, San Bernardino, where he conducted research on mosquito insecticide resistance in the laboratory of Dr. James Ferrari. During this project, Mark developed an interest in entomology while observing mosquitoes when rearing the colonies. After the completion of a B.S. in Biology, he began the Entomology Ph.D. program at the University of California, Riverside in 2016.
Mark’s research at UCR focuses on bed bugs (Cimex lectularius), blood feeding, parasitic insects that are infamous for infesting the mattresses of their primary host, humans. Bed bugs are among the most difficult urban pest to control. Widespread insecticide resistance and their cryptic nature make bed bugs particularly hard to control. While not known to transmit diseases, bed bugs significantly affect human well-being, by causing itchy welts when they feed which can cause severe psychological distress to those affected.
Existing methods for controlling bed bugs often fail to provide effective, yet safe and inexpensive control. As a result, a new biological control method has been developed for bed bug control, the application of an insect killing fungus (Beauveria bassiana) to infested areas. Specifically, Mark’s work investigates possible chemical or behavioral defensive mechanisms that bed bugs may utilize to inhibit or avoid the fungus and how to overcome these defenses.
The Harry S. Smith Biological Control Award will allow Mark to focus on his research and present this work at the Entomological Society of America Annual Meeting in St. Louis, Missouri in November 2019.
Mark's scholarship is made possible in part by these 2019 donations
A special thanks to George Markin, Susan Deardorff, Retha Keenan, Pamela and John Pavela, Dan and Carolyn Cahn, Roger and Patricia Essick, Paul and Kathryn Madonna, Gayle and Rick Marrocco, Dr. Kouichi and Mrs. Grace Tanaka, Phil and Robin Tognazzini, Chuck and Cathi Wrench and Robert and Sue Cooley.