OARDC Researcher to Lead International Scientific Society

August 27, 2008

Editor: For a photo of Grewal, contact Mauricio Espinoza at (330) 202-3550 or espinoza.15@osu.edu.

 

WOOSTER, Ohio — Parwinder Grewal, a professor of entomology with Ohio State University’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC), has been elected to lead the Society of Nematologists (SON) — an international scientific organization dedicated to the study of nematodes, one of the most abundant and diverse life forms on Earth.

While nematodes (also called roundworms) are most commonly known as pests of plants, animals and humans, Grewal has attracted international recognition by studying a beneficial kind of these animals: entomopathogenic, or insect-parasitic, nematodes, which are used as biological insecticides against a wide variety of pests in turfgrass, ornamental plants, citrus, strawberries, cranberries and other crops.

“It is a great honor for me to be elected as the president of the largest international society of nematology in the world. Having been born in a small village in India, it is a great milestone for me personally,” said Grewal, who is also the director of Ohio State’s Center for Urban Environment and Economic Development and a specialist with OSU Extension. “I am very pleased that my fellow scientists and students around the world hold such a high regard for my research and leadership.”

Grewal received bachelor’s (1981) and master’s (1983) degrees from Punjab Agricultural University. He started his professional career as a nematologist with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, working on mushroom nematodes. He received his doctorate from London’s Imperial College and was appointed as “Higher Scientific Officer” at the Horticultural Research Institute in Littlehampton, England, where he contributed to the development of the first biological product based on insect-parasitic nematodes for the control of mushroom sciarid flies.

Grewal came to the United States in 1991, joining Rutgers University to pursue more fundamental research on insect-parasitic nematode host-finding behavior, genetics and thermal biology. In 1993, he was hired by Biosys Inc. as a senior scientist and manager, leading research on mass-production and formulations of nematodes for pest control. He joined Ohio State in 1997 as an assistant professor.

“We are very pleased that the leadership qualities we have long recognized in Parwinder Grewal are being recognized internationally with this selection,” said OARDC Director Steve Slack.

During his career, Grewal has published 150 peer-reviewed papers, 17 book chapters and 11 review articles on plant-, insect-, mollusk-, fungal- and bacteria-feeding nematodes. He is the lead editor of the book Nematodes as Biocontrol Agents, published by the Commonwealth Agricultural Bureau International (CABI, United Kingdom) in 2005. Additionally, Grewal has organized several symposia, including “Evolution of Parasitism in Nematoda” (Salt Lake City, 2001) and the “Third International Symposium on Entomopathogenic Nematodes and Their Symbiotic Bacteria” (Wooster, Ohio, 2003).

Grewal’s research program has received over $11 million in grants and earned him several distinctions, including the 2002 Syngenta Recognition Award for Excellence (conferred by SON), the 2002 Entomological Society of America (ESA) Award of Excellence in Integrated Pest Management, and the 2008 ESA Recognition Award in Urban Entomology.

During his tenure as president of SON, Grewal says he is committed to exploring new frontiers in nematology, both in its fundamental and economic aspects. He’s also aiming to teach more people about roundworms and their great promise as environmentally friendly pest-killers.

“I will work to create new opportunities for attracting young scientists, students and children to explore the fascinating world of nematodes,” Grewal said.

For more information about the Society of Nematologists, log on to http://www.nematologists.org. To learn more about Grewal’s nematode research, go to http://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/nematodes.

OARDC and OSU Extension are the research and outreach arms, respectively, of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

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Author(s): 
Mauricio Espinoza
Source(s): 
Parwinder Grewal