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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

IPRI Lifetime Achievement Awards
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International Plant Resistance to Insects Working Group

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Recipients:


The IPRI Lifetime Achievement Award
Dr. James A. Webster

Dr. James A. Webster received the IPRI Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012 based on his extensive research contributions to and leadership in insect plant resistance for over 30 years. Jim began his productive career after obtaining an Dr. James A. WebsterM.S. degree from the University of Kentucky and a Ph.D. degree at Kansas State University. His master’s thesis involved research on resistance to green peach aphid in tobacco, and his doctoral dissertation research focused on resistance to potato leafhopper in alfalfa. Jim conducted his dissertation research under the tutelage of R.H. Painter and E.L. Sorensen.

Jim’s 32-year professional career was spent with the USDA Agricultural Research Service, first at East Lansing, Michigan, where he worked on resistance to cereal leaf beetle from 1968-1981, and then at Stillwater, Oklahoma, until the year 2000. His research at Stillwater involved studying resistance first to the greenbug and later to the Russian wheat aphid. Jim also served as Research Leader and Laboratory Director at the ARS-Stillwater facility from 1993-1999. He also served on graduate faculties at Michigan State University and Oklahoma State University. After his retirement in 2000, Jim continued as an adjunct professor of entomology at OSU for a few more years until his students and committee assignments were finished.

There are several notable milestones in Dr. Webster’s career in plant resistance to insects. He identified, characterized and collaboratively advanced germplasm with resistance to various insect pests. In cooperation with plant breeders, Dr. Webster co-released several insect-resistant germplasm lines for further development by state and private plant breeders. He authored the first U.S. publication on original, Russian wheat aphid plant-resistance research, and Jim was the first to report detection of Russian wheat aphid resistance in triticale and barley, and yellow sugar cane resistance in sorghum.

Dr. Webster played an international role in the development of plant resistance to insects, having professional collaborations in various countries including Poland, Mexico, and South Africa, and mentoring students and scientists from several nations. Upon invitation from the Small-Grain Centre in Bethlehem, South Africa, Jim traveled to South Africa in 1990 and exchanged ideas about plant resistance to the Russian wheat aphid during a month long stay. That visit helped to foster a long-term relationship between South African scientists and scientists at the ARS Stillwater lab. Also in 1990, Jim served as an Organizing Committee Member and Co-Editor of the Proceedings, “Aphid-Plant Interactions: Populations to Molecules,” an international aphid symposium, and an Oklahoma State University Centennial Event. The symposium drew over 200 participants from 23 nations and 29 U.S. states.

Dr. Webster has been active in IPRI, including participation in 16 workshops, the 1974 Organizational Workshop in Indianapolis, and since retirement, in the 2004 workshop in Baton Rouge, and 2008 workshop in Ft. Collins. He served on the IPRI Steering Committee from 1988-1994, and was on the Program Committee with John Burd and David Porter for the 1994 meeting in Stillwater.

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The IPRI Lifetime Achievement Award
Dr. John D. Burd

The IPRI Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Dr. John D. Burd in 2012 based on his substantial and novel contributions to understanding aphid-host plant interactions and his leadership in plant resistance to insects for over 20 years. John received an M.S. degree in 1984 from Texas Tech University in Range and Wildlife Science, and a Ph.D. degree in entomology from Oklahoma State University in 1991. He was then hired as Research Entomologist at the USDA-ARS Laboratory in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and eventually became Lead Scientist for the Biologically-Based Cereal Aphid Management project there.

Dr. Burd had several outstanding research accomplishments involving plant resistance to insects during his research career. He characterized feeding-induced changes by the Russian wheat aphid in the capacity and efficiency of the primary photochemistry of photosystem IIDr. John D. Burd for resistant and susceptible plants, and identified candidate sites of action involved in the plant-damage response. John determined the effect of feeding by the Russian wheat aphid and by the greenbug on constituent, nonstructural carbohydrate content in wheat and characterized the resultant whole-plant stresses, thereby providing new insight into how aphids exploit their hosts by altering sink-to-source transition and regulating phloem translocation. Along with collaborators, John redefined the central tenet of the biotype concept for greenbugs, showing that virulence on crop plants does not coincide with greenbug fitness, and the use of plant resistance did not selected for virulent biotypes of greenbug. He characterized the evolutionary status of greenbug host races, demonstrated the importance of non-cultivated hosts for maintaining biotypic diversity, and discovered 16 new biotypes of the greenbug. John mentored and helped train graduate students in plant resistance to insects while serving as an advisor and on graduate committees at the University of Nebraska, Oklahoma State University, University of Wyoming, and Texas A&M University.

Dr. Burd’s contributions to the science of plant resistance to insects were truly international in scope. Among his research accomplishments, John co-pioneered the first studies on biotypic variation among a worldwide collection of the Russian wheat aphid, and he also discovered three new Russian wheat aphid biotypes from Texas and Wyoming. He also served in various capacities that promoted interactions internationally among plant resistance scientists and practitioners. John was active in the IPRI Working Group. He served on the IPRI Steering Committee from 2002-2008, and co-organized the 1994 workshop in Stillwater and the 2008 workshop in Fort Collins, Colorado. Dr. Burd served as Vice-Chair of the Program Committee for the International Plant Protection Congress, and on the Organizing Committee of the International Aphid Congress as the North American representative.

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The IPRI Lifetime Achievement Award
Dr. John C. Reese

Dr. John C. Reese received the IPRI Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010 based on sustained contributions to the science and development of host-plant resistance. He is currently a Professor in the Entomology Department at Kansas State University, Manhattan, and has been at KSU since  1982. Dr. John C. ReeseHe obtained a B.A. in Zoology from the University of Missouri, 1969; M.S. in Entomology from the University of Missouri, 1971; and a Ph.D. in Entomology from the University of Wisconsin, 1975. Dr. Reese was postdoctoral researcher at the University of Wisconsin, 1975-1977 and at the USDA-ARS Western Regional Laboratory, Albany, California, 1978-1979. He began his academic career as an Assistant Professor at the University of Delaware from 1979 to 1982. Dr. Reese has taught courses on host-plant resistance, and he has conducted research on various insect pests including the greenbug, the Russian wheat aphid, and the soybean aphid. His research efforts have emphasized aphid salivary enzymes in insect-plant interactions, functionality of genes in aphid salivary glands, and the quantification of sorghum tolerance to greenbug feeding damage. Dr. Reese has also researched the molecular genetics of aphid-plant interactions, especially the role of aphid salivary-gland genes. He and colleagues silenced a transcript for the first time in the pea aphid, and showed that this particular transcript is absolutely essential to the survival of the pea aphid on its host plant.

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Last Modified: 8/13/2012
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