LAKE ALFRED, Fla. — One of the University of Florida’s most promising professors has been nationally recognized as an industry leader for her scholarship and service.
Lauren Diepenbrock, an assistant professor of entomology working at the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Citrus Research and Education Center recently received the 2019 Southern Region Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Center Friends of IPM – Future Leader Award. The award is given to individuals in the early stages of their career who have exemplified extraordinary potential and leadership promise in integrated pest management (IPM).
Writing about her in the nomination packet, Michael Rogers, UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education center director wrote, “Dr. Diepenbrock is quickly becoming the ‘go to’ expert in Florida for citrus pest management expertise. She has gained the respect of the growers she works with and many others she reaches through her Extension presentations and publications. As a new faculty member working in citrus IPM, her trajectory towards being recognized as a future national and global leader in citrus IPM is straight up!”
Since arriving at UF/IFAS in 2018, Diepenbrock has focused on developing non-pesticidal approaches for growers to use to manage citrus pests through habitat diversification within a grove (i.e., cover crops), use of repellent compounds to reduce the Asian Citrus Psyllid populations, reflective mulch to disrupt host plant location, and when pesticide use is warranted, using climate models to time pesticide applications to when they are most effective.
“I am honored to receive this recognition, especially from my peers,” Diepenbrock said. “It encourages me to continue to my work to support Florida’s citrus growers and the agricultural industry, especially in our continued fight with damaging invasive insects.”
While Dr. Diepenbrock has been very productive in establishing her program, she hasn’t let the high workload keep her from being responsive to the ever-changing pest management needs of growers around the state. Since starting her position, she has also played a key role in identifying and responding to 3 new emerging pest problems in Florida citrus. She is currently working with growers affected by these pest problems to develop economically sustainable approaches to managing these new pest issues. She has then been active in disseminating what she’s learned to help other growers through presentations at grower meetings around the state, through trade journal articles and through podcasts.
–Brad Buck, UF/IFAS