How Antarctica’s Only Native Insect Survives: Ohio State Grad Nets Honor

Krauss Award winner

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Nicholas Teets, who in fall 2012 earned his Ph.D. in entomology from Ohio State University, yesterday (4/25) received the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center’s (OARDC) William E. Krauss Director’s Award for Excellence in Graduate Research.

The award honors the best published paper by an OARDC-supported doctoral student.

OARDC is the research arm of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

Teets co-wrote “Gene Expression Changes Governing Extreme Dehydration Tolerance in an Antarctic Insect,” which appeared in PNAS, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, in December 2012. The journal, according to its website, is one of the world’s most-cited multidisciplinary scientific serials. The study looked at a tiny flightless midge called Belgica antarctica, which is the only insect native to Antarctica, which is not just the coldest place on Earth but also the driest.

Teets has been part of a research team focused on Belgica antarctica and also has studied the role of calcium signaling during cellular cold-sensing in insect tissues. His faculty adviser was David Denlinger, who is a Distinguished University Professor in CFAES’s Department of Entomology.

The award carries with it $1,000 and a framed copy of the published paper. OARDC Director Steve Slack presented the award during the center’s April 25 annual research conference in Columbus.

The members of the award’s selection committee were OARDC scientists Chang-Won Lee (chair), Mike Ellis, Peter Ling, Eric Stockinger, Bill Weiss and David Benfield (ex-officio).

In addition to Slack, the conference’s speakers included Bruce McPheron, Ohio State’s vice president for agricultural administration and dean of CFAES; OARDC Associate Director David Benfield; Henry Thompson, director of Colorado State University’s Cancer Prevention Laboratory; Steve Schwartz, Carl E. Haas Endowed Chair in Food Industries and director of CFAES’s Center for Advanced Functional Foods Research and Entrepreneurship (CAFFRE); and physician-scientist Dr. Steve Clinton, associate director of CAFFRE and molecular carcinogenesis and chemoprevention program leader at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The conference’s theme was “How Food Impacts Human Health.”

OARDC is the largest university agricultural bioscience research center in the U.S. The center works not just on food and farming but also, for instance, on biofuels, bioproducts, health, nutrition, sustainability and the environment.

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CFAES News Team
For more information, contact: 

Steve Slack, OARDC Director