University of Turin, Department of Life Sciences and Systems Biology
Francesca Barbero received a PhD in Evolutionary Biology and Biodiversity Conservation, and is currently working as a postdoc researcher at University of Turin. Her research is focused on the study of multitrophic interactions in systems involving butterflies, ants and plants. She has surveyed the relative importance of chemical and acoustical signaling on behavior and ecology of target species, discovering the first case of acoustic mimicry in social parasites (Barbero et al. 2009 – Science 323: 782-785). The objective of her research is to shed light on the mechanisms underlying the origin, evolution and maintenance of insect multitrophic relationships.
FSU Jena, Institut für Spezielle Zoologie und Evolutionsbiologie/Entomology Group
Rolf Georg Beutel received a PhD in Zoology in 1986 at University of Tübingen. Then he has been a postdoc at University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada in 1986-1987, and Research assistant at RWTH Aachen from 1987 and at FSU Jena from 1994. He is Privatdozent at FSU Jena from 1996, and curator at the Phyletisches Museum. Appointed in 2004 professor of zoology and entomology at the FSU Jena, where is leader of the Entomology Group. His research interests include high level phylogeny and evolution of Hexapoda. In particular, morphology and phylogeny of Coleoptera have been investigated. The attachment structures of insects have been explored, as well as the effects of miniaturization, using innovative techniques for morphological studies.
Imperial College London, Department of Life Sciences
Andrea Crisanti is Professor of Molecular Parasitology at Imperial College London. He has pioneered the molecular biology of the human malaria vector Anopheles gambiae and has made a number of important scientific contributions that advanced the genetic and molecular knowledge of the malaria parasite and its mosquito vector. These include: i) the identification of the molecules involved in mosquito gut meal digestion; ii) the characterization of key genes involved in plasmodium molecular motor; iii) the development of gene transfer technology for anopheline mosquitoes; iv) the establishment of gene drive technology in mosquitoes; and v) the development of synthetic sex distorter producing male only progeny. The development of gene drive technology promises to overcome many of the roadblocks that so far have hampered the eradication of malaria in resource poor countries. This technology has been utilized to spread genetic modifications impairing mosquito reproductive capability, either targeting genes involved in female fertility of inducing male sex bias in the progeny.
Wageningen University, Laboratory of Entomology
Marcel Dicke is professor of Entomology and head of the Laboratory of Entomology at Wageningen University, The Netherlands. His main interest is in the behavioural, chemical and molecular ecology of insects and one of his discoveries is that plants respond to feeding by herbivorous insects with the production of odours that attract the enemy of their enemy (coined ‘crying for help’ by the plant). This research supports the development of biological control of insects in agriculture. In 2007 he received the Spinoza award (also known as Dutch Nobel Prize) for his research. His general interest is in using insects to solve societal problems and challenges. He is strongly involved in promoting insects as the food of the future and is one of the authors of The Insect Cookbook (Columbia University Press, New York, USA; tinyurl.com/pjgbxxl), that features not only recipes but also interviews with e.g. Kofi Annan (former Secretary General of the United Nations). See also Marcel Dicke’s TED talk “Why not eat insects?“: http://on.ted.com/j05sk
Cornell University, Insect Physiology and Toxicology
Angela Douglas is the Daljit S. and Elaine Sarkaria Professor of Insect Physiology and Toxicology at Cornell University, USA. She previously held a professorial position and BBSRC Research Development Fellowship at the University of York, and a Royal Society University Research Fellowship at the University of Oxford, UK. She has a BA in Zoology (University of Oxford) and PhD in Microbiology (University of Aberdeen, UK). Angela’s core research concerns is the beneficial microbes in insects, especially their contribution to insect nutrition, and she has a broad interest on symbiosis and nutritional physiology. She has authored more than 200 research articles, review articles and several books on symbiosis and insect physiology.
University of Göttingen, Agroecology Research Group
Teja Tscharntke is the head of the Agroecology Research Group at the University of Göttingen, Germany. His research interests are biodiversity patterns and associated ecosystem services at different spatial and temporal scales as well as multidisciplinary studies linking socioeconomic with ecological approaches. He is a Highly Cited Researcher in “Environment/Ecology” and the Editor-in-Chief of Basic and Applied Ecology. Recent first-author papers focus on ‘Landscape moderation of biodiversity patterns and processes – eight hypotheses’ (2012, Biol. Rev.) and ‘Global food security, biodiversity conservation and the future of agricultural intensification’ (2012, Biol. Conserv.)