Plenaries

Five plenary speakers for ICD9 have now been finalised and their plenary titles and biographies are listed below:

Michelle Trautwein

California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Dr, San Francisco, CA 94118, USA; e-mail: mtrautwein@calacademy.org

Plenary title: Resolving the Fly Tree of Life

michelle-trautwein1Michelle is an entomologist whose research interests lie in the continued discovery and understanding of the evolution and diversification of flies and other arthropods, particularly those that live in association with humans. Although she began her studies as an art major, Trautwein received a BS in Biology from the University of Texas at Austin in 1999. Before returning to graduate school, she assisted with research on frogs in Costa Rica, pigeon guillemots in Alaska, prairie dogs in Utah and bottlenose dolphins in Florida. An internship at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History reintroduced her to flies. She received her PhD in Entomology from North Carolina State University in 2009 and continued on there as a postdoc. From 2012–2024 she served as the Assistant Director of the Biodiversity Laboratory at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Currently, she serves as the Schlinger Chair of Diptera at the California Academy of Sciences. Her research has been featured by the New York Times, The Atlantic, WIRED and National Geographic.

Brian V. Brown

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, 900 Exposition Boulevard, Los Angeles, California, 90007, USA; e-mail: melaloncha@gmail.com

Plenary title: Phorid fly diversity – frontiers in species richness, structure and behaviour

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Brian is Curator of Entomology at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, USA. A native of Toronto, Canada, Brown undertook his undergraduate and masters studies at the University of Guelph, Canada. During the latter, under the tutelage of Steven A. Marshall, Brown took up the study of the fly family Phoridae. In 1990, he obtained his doctorate at the University of Alberta, Canada, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution and University of Maryland. In 1993 he took up his current position in Los Angeles. Brian is author of two books, was lead editor on the Manual of Central American Diptera and has published numerous scientific papers. He has conducted research in many parts the world, but has focused on tropical rainforest ecosystems. There, he studies phorid flies, especially those parasitic species known as ant-decapitating flies and bee-killing flies. He is also interested in fossil phorid flies in amber, integrating them into phylogenetic knowledge based on morphology and molecular characters. He received funding from the National Science Foundation to lead efforts to completely inventory the Diptera fauna of a mid-elevation tropical forest in Costa Rica in Central America.

Netta Dorchin

Department of Zoology and the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, 69978, Israel; e-mail: ndorchin@tauex.tau.ac.il

Plenary title: Unmitigated gallers – specialisation leads to diversification in the Cecidomyiidae

netta-dorchinNetta is a faculty member in the Department of Zoology in Tel Aviv University and the chief curator of entomology at the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History, Tel Aviv, Israel. She received her BSc, MSc and PhD degrees from Tel Aviv University, followed by postdoctoral fellowships in the University of Cape Town, South Africa and in Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, USA. She became fascinated with the family Cecidomyiidae as an MSc student and dedicated her graduate studies to research on their taxonomy, life history and evolutionary ecology. Her postdoctoral research in Cape Town focused on gall-inducing wasps as weed biocontrol agents, whereas in Bucknell she focused on the systematics and evolutionary ecology of gall midges on goldenrods. In 2007 she moved to Bonn, Germany, where she was the curator of Diptera and later the head of the Arthropod Department in the Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig. She returned to Tel Aviv University in 2011 to take up her current position. In addition to research on cecidomyiids from different parts of the world, she currently supervises studies on a diversity of other insect groups, including fruit flies, gall wasps, bees, parasitic wasps and mayflies. Her main focus remains, however, the taxonomy and evolutionary ecology of phytophagous gall midges, with a special interest in the rich cecidomyiid faunas of arid environments.

Rudolf Meiswinkel

Santa Maria del Monte, 14, Rocca di Cave (RM), 00030, Italy; email: ruwinkel@gmail.com

Plenary title: Culicoides as vectors for viruses causing disease in livestock

rudy-meiswinkel1Rudy was born in South Africa and completed schooling at Roosevelt High School (Johannesburg). He first studied at the Johannesburg College of Art, then worked as Technical Assistant in malaria control at the National Institute for Tropical Diseases (NITD), Tzaneen. There, then in his early 20s, he was mentored by the entomologist/malariologist Dr. Botha de Meillon, who introduced him to the world of bloodsucking Diptera, including Culicoides biting midges. Rudy subsequently spent 20 years at the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute (OVI), under Dr. Errol Nevill, specialising in the taxonomy and biology of the Culicoides imicola species complex (subgenus Avaritia); this subgenus contains the majority of the world’s vectors involved in the biological transmission of viruses that, in livestock, cause diseases such as bluetongue (BT), African horse sickness (AHS), equine encephalosis (EE) and epizootic haemorrhagic disease of deer (EHD). In 2001, following the re-emergence of bluetongue in countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, he relocated to the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale (IZS), Italy and after five seasons there, moved north to the Netherlands (Central Veterinary Institute, Lelystad). At the CVI, he is involved currently in host preference and taxonomic studies on Palaearctic Culicoides vectors for orbiviruses that, in the last decade, have begun to emerge from their tropical confines and to spread into higher temperate latitudes under the warming influence of Climate Change.

Martin Hall

Entomology Department, Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW75BD, United Kingdom; email: M.Hall@nhm.ac.uk

Plenary title: The research-casework continuum in forensic dipterology

Martin was born in Singapore and raised in East Africa until the age of nine, when he settled in UK. He graduated with a Zoology BSc in 1975 from the University of North Wales, Bangor and a PhD in 1978 from Imperial College, London. He was awarded the Thomas Henry Huxley Award of the Zoological Society of London for his thesis on blowfly feeding behaviour. Following seven years studying tsetse in Africa, mainly in the Sudan and Zimbabwe, Martin returned to the UK and joined the Natural History Museum, London in 1989 as a research entomologist, studying forensic and veterinary entomology. Martin is currently Head of the Parasites and Vectors Division in the Department of Life Sciences, focusing his research on fly species that develop as larvae on carrion and/or on live animals, on the latter causing the neglected disease known as myiasis. Martin has been a consultant on myiasis for the Food and Agriculture Organisation (Rome), the International Atomic Energy Agency (Vienna), the Office International des Epizooties (Paris) and the Arab Organisation for Agricultural Development (Khartoum).  Martin has worked as a forensic entomologist on some 200 criminal cases during the past 25 years. He is author or co-author of more than 140 peer-reviewed scientific publications, many on the biology of blowflies, the insects of primary evidential importance in forensic entomology. Martin has been a Vice-President of the Royal Entomological Society, London and was the founding President of the European Association for Forensic Entomology (2002–2006). He is on the Editorial Boards of Medical and Veterinary Entomology and Forensic Science International.