Briefly describe your career path—up to this point.
I obtained my undergraduate degree in Cell Biology and Physiology in 1996 from the Université des Sciences in Montpellier, which is located in Southern France. I then went for a Maîtrise in Neurobiology at the Université Paul Sabatier in Toulouse, France, followed by an Ability to conduct scientific research from the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris, France. In 1998 I moved to the United States to conduct a Ph.D. in the biology department at Utah State University in Logan, UT in collaboration with the USDA-ARS Bee Biology and Systematics Laboratory. My doctoral research focused on the visual and olfactory cues that cavity-nesting solitary bees rely on to locate and recognize their nesting cavities. In 2005 I moved to Yakima, WA where I was a post-doctoral research entomologist with the USDA-ARS Fruit and Vegetable Insect Research Unit. I worked on the chemical ecology, behavior and biology of pest insects of fruit trees and potatoes. On October 1, 2012, I started as the fruit crop entomologist and extension specialist in the Department of Entomology at UW.
What is the main focus of your research program?
My major research interest is the study of natural chemicals that mediate interactions between organisms and how these chemical messages affect insect behaviors, with the ultimate goal to develop practical applications for semiochemicals for integration into pest management programs while sustaining and enhancing pollination services.
My research program focuses on developing and refining effective, economical, and environmentally sound insect pest management (IPM) strategies; and on determining the importance of pollinators and developing strategies for conserving and enhancing pollination services for fruit crops in Wisconsin. The focus of my extension program is to provide up-to-date, research-based information to Wisconsin fruit growers on effective and sustainable IPM practices and on pollination services.
What drew you to UW-Madison?
UW-Madison and the entomology department are well known worldwide for their academics and research programs. The tremendous opportunities for great applied research and extension activities are strengthened by the collaborations within and across departments here at UW and by the interactions and collaborations with the fruit growers of Wisconsin. And last but not least, Madison is such a great city!