UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Rick Roush, dean of Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, has been elected as an Entomological Society of America Fellow, an honor that acknowledges his outstanding contributions to entomology in research, teaching, extension and outreach.
He will be recognized during the opening of the society’s annual meeting Nov. 17 in St. Louis.
Roush, who also serves as a professor in the college’s Department of Entomology, is recognized globally as a leading authority on resistance management to conventional insecticides, herbicides and genetically modified crops, and for biological control and integrated pest management.
Moreover, he has been lauded internationally as an academic administrator, with significant impacts in extension and sustainable management, noted long-time friend and colleague Anthony Shelton, international professor in Cornell University’s Department of Entomology.
“Rick’s recognition as a fellow of the Entomological Society of America is well deserved and long overdue; the letters of support for his nomination attest to how well he is regarded by his peers,” said Shelton, who also serves as associate director of international programs at Cornell.
“While I had known about Rick’s research work since his graduate school days, it was only when we were faculty members at Cornell in the mid-1980s that we started collaborating on projects and have been doing so ever since,” said Shelton. “I have always appreciated Rick’s breadth and depth in science, his optimism, and his willingness to tackle difficult issues.”
Roush hails from San Diego, California. He received his bachelor of science degree in entomology from the University of California, Davis, in 1976 and his doctorate in entomology from the University of California, Berkeley in 1979. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Texas A&M University.
He was a faculty researcher at Mississippi State University from 1981 to 1986, an associate professor at Cornell University from 1986 to 1995, and an associate professor at Australia’s University of Adelaide from 1995 until 2003.
From 1998 to 2003, he was chief executive officer of Australia’s Cooperative Research Centre for Weed Management. From 2003 to 2006, he directed the Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program at the University of California, also serving as interim director of the university’s Sustainable Agricultural Research and Education Program for two years before becoming dean of the University of Melbourne (Australia) School of Land and Environment.
In 2014, he took the helm of Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, where he is responsible for the administration of all educational, research, government, alumni, industry relations and Penn State Extension programs. Under his leadership, the college has focused on key issues facing agriculture and rural communities in Pennsylvania, including water quality, job development, drug addiction and pest management.
Roush’s contributions in research have extended over four decades and resulted in more than 130 refereed journal articles, books and book chapters, as well as dozens of other articles for scientists and the general public. He has collaborated on and published more than 20 papers on predators, parasitoids and biological control of insects and weeds, including two that have each been cited more than 300 times. He has served as major adviser for 17 graduate students.
While at Cornell, his team discovered the first-ever, invertebrate gamma-aminobutyric acid receptor, a finding that led to identifying the mutations that confer resistance to cyclodiene insecticides, such as dieldrin. During this time, Roush began collaborating with Shelton and Elizabeth Earle, now a professor emerita, on developing strategies to manage insect resistance using the diamondback moth and a Bt crucifer system.
Roush also played a pivotal role in developing and implementing highly successful two-gene strategies for delaying resistance to Bt transgenic crops, including publishing a seminal modeling paper documenting the key features of what would make successful two-toxin crops.
In addition, he has served on numerous boards and review panels, including the Genetic Manipulation Advisory Committee in Australia, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences Committee on Pesticide Resistance Management, and four scientific advisory panels for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
–Amy Duke, Penn State University