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2015 OARDC Distinguished Junior Faculty Research Award Andy Michel Andy Michel is an associate professor
2015 OARDC Distinguished Junior Faculty Research Award Andy Michel Andy Michel is an associate professor

2015 OARDC Distinguished Junior Faculty Research Award

2015 OARDC Distinguished Junior Faculty Research Award Andy Michel Andy Michel is an associate professor in

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 resistance—a 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.

Michel’s expertise in population genomics has helped him establish other successful collaborations and multiple
Michel’s expertise in population genomics has helped him establish other successful collaborations and multiple

Michel’s 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, Michel’s 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