July 24, 2012

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Purdue entomologist earns presidential research honor

By Brian Wallheimer

Ian Kaplan
Purdue University entomologist Ian Kaplan observes a colony of hornworms in his greenhouse lab. Kaplan will be in Washington, D.C., next week to receive a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from President Barack Obama.
(Purdue Agricultural Communication photo/Tom Campbell)

Purdue University entomologist Ian Kaplan will receive a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers next week from President Barack Obama.

The award is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their careers. Kaplan, an assistant professor of entomology, researches ecological approaches to pest management for vegetable crops.

"This is a big honor, and I'm looking forward to the opportunities this will afford me to further my research," said Kaplan, who has been at Purdue for nearly three years. "We try to apply ecological principles and ecological theory to best management practices for pests."

Coming Tuesday, July 31:

The next edition of ConnectionsNow! will take a look at the BUV (basic utility vehicle) project. In 2009, agricultural and biological engineering students started this project to design and build a cheap mode of transportation for people and products in Africa.

Those principles and practices include understanding plant-insect interactions, the chemical ecology of insects and sustainable biological control of pests through natural predators.

"This is an area of increasing importance, and we could not be more proud that Ian has received this recognition," said Jay Akridge, Glenn W. Sample Dean of the College of Agriculture.

Kaplan will receive a citation from Obama in a White House ceremony. The citation states: "For outstanding work in proactive approaches to facilitating the impact of biological control on crop pests using novel phytochemical tools to improve the sustainability of U.S. agriculture."

Kaplan is among 96 recipients announced this week by the White House. Federal agencies involved in nominating the recipients include the National Science Foundation; the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, and Veterans Affairs; and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

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