Monday, October 9, 2023

Quinnipiac Chapter of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society Seminar Series presents Dr. Hany Dweck

Quinnipiac Chapter of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society

Seminar Series presents Dr. Hany Dweck, Assistant Scientist II, Department of Entomology, CT Agricultural Experiment Station

“How Does Spotted Lanternfly Smell its Chemical World?”

Tuesday, December 5 at 10:00 AM in Student Center 120

The spotted lanternfly (SLF), first found in North America in Pennsylvania in late 2014, is a serious invasive pest. It possesses piercing-sucking mouthparts that puncture plant stems, leaves, and fruit to feed on the sap, affecting over 70 different plant species, including economically important ones such as grapevines, maple trees, black walnut, birch, willow, and others. This feeding activity weakens and stresses plants, making them more susceptible to diseases and environmental stressors, potentially leading to decreased health and tree mortality. Connecticut's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) reports that approximately half of the state's trees are threatened by the SLF invasion. SLF, like numerous other insects, primarily relies on olfactory cues to locate its host trees. Additionally, olfaction plays a crucial role for the SLF in predator avoidance, aggregation, mate selection, and identifying suitable sites for feeding and depositing its egg masses. In this seminar, we will delve into the olfactory mechanisms and their pivotal role in an interaction that holds both economic urgency and fundamental biological significance: the interaction between SLF and Connecticut's trees. Through a comprehensive exploration of the olfactory mechanisms underlying the SLF-Connecticut's trees interaction, we aspire to make significant contributions to our understanding of this ecological relationship and uncover novel strategies for effective pest control.

Dr. Dweck has been a Chemical ecologist and Assistant Scientist II in the department of Entomology at the Connecticut Agricultural Station since January 2023. He earned a B.Sc. and M.Sc. at Cairo University, Ph.D. at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, and conducted postdoctoral studies in the laboratory of Dr. John Carlson at Yale University.  He was born in Giza, Egypt, and has lived in Sweden, Germany, and the United States.  He is also a proud husband and father of two boys. His laboratory studies how crop pests find their host plants, communicate, and avoid danger using tools and techniques from various fields, including behavior, electrophysiology, analytical chemistry, molecular biology, and genetics.

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