Some pictures from the Hajek Lab over the years:
Previous Graduate Students
Carrie P. Preston, Masters in Entomology, August 2019:
“The prevalence, distribution, and impact of Nosema maddoxi infecting the invasive brown marmorated stink bug”
Publication: Preston, C.P., and Hajek, A.E. 2019. “A newly described pathogen that attacks the brown marmorated stink bug.” Northeastern IPM Center. http://www.stopbmsb.org/biological-control/a-fungal-enemy/
Isis A. L. Caetano, Masters in Entomology, December 2016:
“Biology and ecology of Sirex, Deladenus and Amylostereum in North America”
Publications: Caetano, I.A.L., Hajek, A.E. 2017. Mating behavior and sexual receptivity of Sirex noctilio (Hymenoptera: Siricidae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America DOI: 10.1093/aesa/saw095
Caetano, I.A.L, Morris, E.E., Hajek, A.E. 2016. Growth of the Sirex-parasitic nematode Deladenus siricidicola on the white rot fungus Amylostereum. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 134: 12-14. DOI: 10.1016/j.jip.2015.12.009
Joanna J. Fisher, Ph.D. in Entomology, May 2016:
“Ecoimmunology of the Asian longhorned beetle, Anoplophora glabripennis”
Her dissertation research focused on interactions between the entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium brunneum and various aspects of the behavior and immune response of the invasive Asian longhorned beetle, Anoplophora glabripennis, which has the potential to become a serious pest in the United States as well as elsewhere.
E. Erin Morris, Ph.D. in Entomology, December 2013:
“New associations between Deladenus nematodes, their Sirex hosts, and fungal symbionts”
Erin assessed the phylogenetic relationships among native Deladenus nematode species from the USA and the Kamona strain of D. siricidicola used for biocontrol of Sirex noctilio in Australia. The results suggested each of the four North American Sirex woodwasp species included in the study had its own associated nematode parasite, with three cases of nematodes parasitizing an unexpected host. Additionally, Erin studied the ability of the Kamona strain to reproduce when feeding on several isolates of the symbiotic fungus of Sirex, Amylostereum areolatum. Results suggested high variability between fungal isolate and nematode reproduction, with D. siricidicola Kamona producing the most progeny when feeding on an isolate of A. areolatum putatively native to the USA. This has implications for mass production of D. siricidicola Kamona and for its effectiveness if released in the USA for S. noctilio biocontrol.
Gaylord Desurmont, Ph.D. in Entomology, August 2009:
“Oviposition behavior of viburnum leaf beetle [Pyrrhalta viburni (Paykull)]: from ecology to biological control of an emerging landscape pest”
Gaylord studied plant-insect interactions and biological control of the viburnum leaf beetle (Pyrrhalta viburni), a recent invasive pest in North America, focusing on oviposition behavior of the beetle on various species of viburnum. He also conducted studies with a European egg parasitoid wasp that attacks beetle eggs.
Marcos Rodrigues de Faria, Ph.D. in Entomology, August 2009:
“Studies on entomopathogenic fungi: Evaluations of germination protocols for assessing conidial quality and modified atmosphere packaging for enhancing high-temperature shelf life”
Marcos studied conditions associated with survival of conidia of Beauveria bassiana and Metarhizium anisopliae, focusing on the effects of the gases surrounding conidia, moisture relations, and temperature, in order to determine optimal storage conditions for these entomopathogenic fungi, which are used for biological control of insect pests.
James Reilly, Ph.D. in Entomology, January 2009:
“The Ecology of Nucleopolyhedrovirus Transmission in the Gypsy Moth (Lymantria dispar)”
His research included modeling how host resistance to LdNPV infection affects gypsy moth population dynamics, and studying the role of avian predators of the larvae in vectoring the virus. James is a dedicated moth-watcher and nature photographer.
Ryan P. Shanley, M.S. in Entomology, August 2007:
“Using Non-Woven Bands Impregnated with the Entomopathogenic Fungus Metarhizium anisopliae (Metchnikoff) for Biological Control of the Asian Longhorned Beetle, Anoplophora glabripennis (Motschulsky)”
Ryan’s thesis included investigations of dispersal of conidia from fungal bands in the environment, and whether adult A. glabripennis can acquire infection through exposure to environments contaminated with conidia. In addition, Ryan conducted a study to determine the LC50 for adult beetles exposed to non-woven bands impregnated with M. anisopliae F52.
Thomas L. M. Dubois, Ph.D. in Entomology, August 2003:
“Biological Control of the Asian Longhorned Beetle, Anoplophora glabripennis, with Entomopathogenic Fungi”
Thomas conducted laboratory bioassays comparing diverse species and strains of entomopathogenic Ascomycetes against larval and adult beetles. His studies continued with field work in Anhui Province, China, investigating the use of non-woven fiber bands containing cultures of entomopathogenic fungi, both in cages and without cages.
Italo Delalibera, Jr., Ph.D. in Entomology, May 2002:
“Investigations Toward Implementation of Neozygites tanajoae sp. nov. as a Classical Biological Control Agent Against the Cassava Green Mite in Africa”
Italo’s studies included a comparison of pathogenicity and virulence and basic biology of different species of Neozygites against cassava green mite. One objective was to choose isolates for introduction to Africa, where cassava green mite populations has seriously impacted cassava yields. Italo described the entomophthoralean fungus N. tanajoae that he had isolated from cassava green mite. Neozygites are among the most difficult entomophthoralean fungi to grow in vitro, but Italo developed a method.
Melanie J. Filotas, Ph.D. in Entomology, May 2002:
“Biology and Ecology of Furia gastropachae, a Fungal Pathogen of the Forest Tent Caterpillar, Malacosoma disstria”
The forest tent caterpillar is a North American native that can increase to outbreak densities that can be controlled by Furia gastropachae, a native fungal pathogen in the Entomophthorales. Melanie conducted studies identifying the LC50, and also found that F. gastropachae rarely infects species outside of the genus Malacosoma. Host infection by resting spores was highest at intermediate soil moisture levels and cooler temperatures. The effect of temperature on infection varied significantly by fungal isolates, with some indication that the geoclimatic origin of isolates was associated with fungal activity.
Some Former Members of the Hajek Lab
Carrie studied the effects of microsporidia on the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug as a potential biocontrol. She received her associate’s degree at Finger Lakes Community College and Bachelor’s degree at SUNY Oswego. Carrie previously worked with USDA APHIS at the Otis lab in Buzzards Bay, MA, rearing invasive species for research, including larval behavior of the European grapevine moth (Lobesia botrana) during mass rearing, and trap/bait preferences of larvae of the khapra beetle (Trogoderma granarium).
In June 2017 Miranda joined the lab to take care of a variety of insect and entomopathogen projects. She graduated from Juniata College in May 2017 with a degree in Wildlife Studies. She joined the lab so she could work on the Sirex project because she has an interest in how invasive species affect the environment and how to manage them. In June 2018 Miranda moved to Rochester NY.
Tonya Bittner, Post-doctoral Associate
Beginning in 2014, among other projects, Tonya investigated the genetic variation of Sirex woodwasps and their parasitic nematodes, and used qPCR to determine densities of outdoor dispersing Entomophaga maimaiga spores (a fungal pathogen of gypsy moth). In 2017 she left to work at Mark Whitmore’s Invasive Insect Pests lab in Natural Resources.
Isis A. L. Caetano, Masters Student
Isis joined the Hajek Lab in 2011. She is from Brazil, where she graduated as an agronomist at ESALQ-USP, and worked on organic certification and organic food production. In 2016 Isis completed her graduate program in Entomology, focusing on Deladenus nematodes and the Sirex woodwasp system. Isis now works on Hemlock woolly adelgid biocontrol using predatory insects, in Mark Whitmore’s Invasive Insect Pests lab at Cornell.
Jake C. Henry, Technician
Jake worked in the lab as an undergrad, graduated (in Engineering) 2014, and continued as a Technician. In May 2015 Jake left the lab for Illinois to work for the Nature Conservancy at Nachusa Grasslands Prairie Preserve. He returned to the Hajek Lab in November 2015, and in 2016 left for graduate school at Mississippi State University.
Tarryn Goble, Ph.D.
She left in summer 2016 for a position as R&D Manager at BioForest Technologies, Inc. in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, after three years as a post-doc at the Hajek Lab in charge of Asian longhorned beetle research, focusing on methods of applying Metarhizium biocontrol fungus using microsclerotial granules developed by USDA.
Joanna J. Fisher, Ph.D.
Dissertation publications: Fisher & Hajek 2014. Thermoregulatory behavior and fungal infection of the Asian longhorned beetle, Anoplophora glabripennis. Environ. Entomol. 43: 384-392. Fisher & Hajek 2015. Maternal exposure of a beetle to pathogens protects offspring against fungal disease. PLOS One. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0125197
E. Erin Morris, Ph.D.
After completing her dissertation in 2013 on nematode species spread by Sirex woodwasps, in 2014 Erin left for a post-doctoral position at the University of Copenhagen to study coinfections between entomopathogenic fungi and nematodes in mealworm beetles and strawberry blossom weevils.
Abby Finley, Technician
Abby joined the Hajek Lab in 2013, after graduating with a B.S. in Biology from Ithaca College, where she studied sex-distorting pathogens of water mites. In 2013 she left to study veterinary medicine at the University of Guelph in Toronto.
Stefanie Kroll, Ph.D.; Post-doctoral Associate
From 2012 to 2013 she studied Sirex woodwasp oviposition in the Hajek Lab. Her doctoral research at SUNY-ESF was on anthropogenic stressors on aquatic ecosystems and aquatic insects as bioindicators. In 2013 Stefanie moved to Philadelphia to work at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.
Stefan Long, Research Entomologist
Stefan, who received his M.S. in Entomology from Cornell in 2000, took care of a full range of operations in the Hajek Lab from 2007 to January 2013, including coordination of research projects on woodwasp species and their associated tree-damaging fungi, and supervision of the undergraduate assistants.
Kenlyn Peters, Technician
Kenlyn worked for the lab part-time from 2010-2011 as a student, then after graduating with a B.S. in Animal Science, full-time in 2012. She helped with Sirex woodwasp and Asian longhorned beetle studies, and research on soil fungi to determine whether they feed on entomopathogenic fungus resting spores.
Todd Ugine, Ph.D.; Research Associate
Todd joined the Hajek Lab in 2009 to work on Asian longhorned beetles, including testing the effectiveness of imidacloprid (used by USDA for beetle outbreaks), and improving methods of biocontrol with Metarhizium brunneum. In 2012 Todd moved to John Losey’s lab at Cornell to do Coccinellid research.
Ryan Kepler, Ph.D.; Post-doctoral Associate
From 2011-2012 Ryan studied the systematics and population genetics of Amylostereum fungi isolated from native and invasive Sirex at the Hajek Lab. In 2012 he joined the Systematic Mycology & Microbiology Laboratory at the USDA Beltsville Agricultural Research Center to study the genetics of biocontrol fungi.
Louela A. Castrillo, Ph.D.; Research Associate
Louela joined the Hajek group in 2002, and now works at USDA ARS in Ithaca (/www.ars.usda.gov/Aboutus/docs.htm?docid=12119) evaluating entomopathogenic fungi especially for pest management. At the Hajek Lab Louela did genetic analyses of Amylostereum fungi that are fed on and dispersed by Sirex woodwasps.
Mike Garvey, undergraduate assistant
Mike worked in the lab from 2009 to 2011, primarily on the Asian longhorned beetle projects, as well as the gypsy moth and other lab studies. He graduated from Cornell in 2012 and is now at Purdue University as a grad student.
Keith Ciccaglione, undergraduate assistant
Keith, an undergraduate assistant in 2008-2011, did his senior project on gypsy moth larvae infected with Entomophaga maimaiga to test whether higher temperatures might allow the caterpillars to survive longer, relevant to impacts of climate change and the spread of gypsy moths farther south. Keith graduated in 2011 and moved to New Jersey to work for LifeCell Corporation.
Aaron Anderson, undergraduate assistant
Aaron primarily helped out with the Asian longhorned beetle project from 2010 to 2011. His senior undergraduate project was on their behavioral responses to chemical attractants and odors from a fungal pathogen. Aaron graduated in 2011 and in 2012 was the Karner Blue Butterfly Site Steward (an Americorps internship through the Student Conservation Association) at Saratoga Spa State Park.
Charlotte Nielsen, Ph.D., Visiting scientist
Charlotte has visited the Hajek Lab from Denmark multiple times over the past years to study population genetics of the gypsy moth pathogen Entomophaga maimaiga; interactions between pathogenic fungi and the soybean aphid; and genetic analyses of Amylostereum fungi vectored by Sirex.
Ruth Plymale, Ph.D.; Post-doctoral Associate
Ruth worked in the lab from 2007-2009, investigating variability in the spatial distribution of the gypsy moth fungal pathogen Entomophaga maimaiga, focusing on factors such as tree species, soil properties, and weather. In 2009 she became an Assistant Professor of Biology at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkansas.
Alex Z. Jimenez, undergraduate assistant
Alex returned to Arizona in 2009, after graduating with a degree in Animal Sciences. Through the Rawling’s Cornell Presidential Research Scholars program, she studied the biocontrol nematode that both eats the wood-rot fungus fed on by the invasive Sirex woodwasp and parasitizes its eggs.
Peng Fan, Visiting Ph.D. student
Fan visited the lab in 2008 to do research on Asian longhorned beetles and a fungal pathogen, Metarhizium brunneum. In 2009 Fan returned to Anhui Agricultural University, in Hefei, Anhui, China, to continue her doctoral studies.