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Thomas Miller Awarded J. G. Gregor Mendel Medal


UC Riverside’s Thomas Miller Awarded J. G. Gregor Mendel Medal

Award is one of the world's top honors in the biological sciences

(October 17, 2003)

Ambassador Stapleton, Thomas Miller, Soo-ok Miller, and President Illnerova.

Ambassador Stapleton, Thomas Miller, Soo-ok Miller, and President Illnerova.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- (www.ucr.edu) -- UC Riverside is proud to announce that Prof. Thomas A. Miller of the department of entomology received the Golden Medal of Johannus Gregor Mendel on September 26, 2003 in Prague, Czech Republic.

The Medal is given to outstanding biologists by the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, and was forwarded to T. A. Miller by Academy President Helena Illnerova. Other officials of the Academy, including those from the Institute of Entomology that submitted Prof. Miller’s candidacy, and representatives of Charles University and the Czech Ministry of Environment participated at the ceremony. The US Ambassador to Prague, Mr. Craig Roberts Stapleton, also attended the event.

Miller received the Medal for his ability to link excellent basic research in insect physiology with practical crop protection. Over the years he worked on insect diapause and its monitoring in the field, physiological regulation of insect heart beat and implications for the insecticide action, biochemical mechanisms of insecticide resistance, and, lately, on the genetically modified organisms.

His current interests include use of transgenic insects in place of the irradiated ones in the “sterile male technique” control of the pink bollworm. He has also elaborated an idea of using microbial insect symbionts to regulate the transmission of plant pathogens — the idea is being applied to the control of Pierce’s disease that is dispersed by a leafhopper (glassy-winged sharpshooter) and destroys Californian vineyards.

Miller’s work has greatly contributed to the commercialized applications of scientific findings in modern agriculture, namely the wise use of chemical pesticides and transgenic crop. His current research on the transgenic insects and symbionts opens new vistas in the never-ending fight with insect pests and vectors.

The University of California's entomological research in Southern California dates back to 1906. Over the years, the UC Riverside Department of Entomology has excelled in virtually all phases of entomological research and developed a scope of expertise unmatched by any other entomology department in the country. Today, the UC Riverside campus is on the cutting edge of advanced entomological research and features a unique new Insectary and Quarantine facility that permits the safe study of exotic organisms from around the world.

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