Lincoln, Neb. —Two University of Nebraska-Lincoln students, Sajjan Grover and Earl Agpawa, have received national student awards from the Entomological Society of America for their research on sorghum-aphid interactions.
Grover, a doctoral student in UNL’s entomology department, has been named winner of the 2020 Kenneth and Barbara Starks Plant Resistance to Insects Graduate Student Award. This award, administered and presented by Plant-Insect Ecosystem (P-IE) section, recognizes innovative research by a graduate student in entomology or plant breeding and genetics.
Grover’s research focuses on understanding how plant signaling mechanisms are altered upon insect herbivory. His research involves sorghum and its interaction with a piercing-sucking insect, Melanaphis sacchari, commonly known as sugarcane aphid. His research results could potentially be utilized by sorghum breeders to increase sorghum’s resistance to the sugarcane aphid.
“I feel very satisfied with my research since it contributes to better understanding of this plant-insect battle and opens the doors for development of novel past development strategies,” Grover said. “This award motivates me to keep doing research and contribute to science and society. I am thankful to my advisor, Dr. Joe Louis, who nominated me for this award and provides us a great environment in lab to do wonderful research.”
Agpawa, an insect science undergraduate student researcher, has been named winner of the 2020 Undergraduate Student Achievement in Entomology Award. This award, administered and presented by Plant-Insect Ecosystem (P-IE) section, recognizes undergraduate students who have demonstrated significant achievements through research, teaching, and outreach in entomology.
Agpawa’s research project focuses on assessing sorghum tolerance to sugarcane aphids, and ultimately could help farmers more accurately identify sorghum genotypes that are tolerant of the pests.
“The award reminds me of the accomplishments I have done and it makes me feel content that my efforts are worth mentioning, and even more, rewarding,” Agpawa said.
Both honors are highly competitive national awards given based on the impact of the research conducted. Both students will receive a plaque, cash award and a waiver of registration to Entomological Society of America (ESA) Annual Meeting. Researchers also get an opportunity to present their research at the meeting.