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2015 OARDC Distinguished

Junior Faculty Research Award

Photo by Ken Chamberlain

Andy Michel
Andy Michel is an associate
professor in the Department of
Entomology, based on the Wooster
campus. He is recognized for his
research that seeks to understand
how insect pests adapt to rapidly
changing selection pressures in
agroecosystems, and how this
information can help ensure a
safer and more productive food
supply. He joined OARDC in 2007
as an assistant professor and was
promoted in 2013.
Michel runs the Insect Molecular
Ecology and Adaptation Laboratory
(iMEAL), which focuses on two of
the most important insect pests on
agronomic crops: soybean aphid
and Western corn rootworm. Michel conducts research that seeks to understand
the genetic mechanisms of aphid adaptation and develop improved management
strategies to extend the durability and sustainability of aphid-resistant soybeans.
His lab leads the way in soybean aphid genetics and molecular biology,
publishing more than 20 research papers in journals such as Evolutionary
Applications, Genome Biology and Evolution, BMC Genomics, and Heredity.
Meanwhile, in the case of Western corn rootworm (often called the billion dollar
corn pest), Michel has identified genetic markers linked to Bt resistancea
valuable discovery considering the fact that this beetle has recently evolved
resistance to transgenic Bt corn, threatening this extremely valuable tool. This is
the first example of an innovative, molecular marker approach for evaluating Bt
resistance spread and risk.

2015 oardc annual research conference

Michels expertise in population genomics has helped him establish other


successful collaborations and multiple publications across CFAES departments.
These projects include studying emerging plant disease vectors, bacterial
endosymbiont interactions with insects, impact of plant domestication on insect
adaptation, climate change adaptation in an Antarctic insect, and conservation of
native lady beetle populations. The techniques and expertise of iMEAL have also
enabled international collaborations including on Asian citrus psyllid genetics in
Mexico and on resistance adaptation in two Brazilian caterpillars.
In total, Michel has published 41 papers while at OARDC and has received
more than $5 million in funding as principal investigator or co-PI. He has also
delivered 93 presentations and co-written more than 20 fact sheets and bulletins
and more than 300 newsletter articles. Additionally, Michels outreach and
Extension program targets agronomic crop producers and helps them implement
appropriate insect-management practices.
The OARDC Distinguished Junior Faculty Research Award consists of a plaque
and $1,000 for Michel and $3,000 added to the operating expense account of his
OARDC research program for one year.

Selection committee: Anne Dorrance (chair), Charles Goebel, Michelle Jones, Gireesh
Rajashekara

2015 oardc annual research conference