Sam Beshers is interested in physiology, ecology, and dynamics of behavior in social systems. His work in Entomology, funded by a USDA postdoctoral fellowship, is on patterns of division of labor in carpenter ants, Campo-notus, and their possible regulation by juvenile hormone. He has a Ph.D. from Boston University, a Master's from CCNY, and a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College. His family includes two children, Max and Caroline, a cat named Oscar who has an opposable thumb and can prop up a pencil, and a Burmese python named Betty. His wife, Lynn Wiley, coordinates the Illinois Research and Reference Center in the main library on campus. Favorite family activities include canoeing, hiking, cross-country skiing, and eating pancakes. Sam is happiest when hitting a good friend with a water balloon, preferably in the back.
This is Huang, people call me by my last name because my first name is too exotic to be pronounced correctly. I have been a tenure-tracked postdoc for the past six years here. Before that I did a short postdoc at Columbia, Missouri. Previous to that I was in Canada getting my Ph.D. in bees. Both my wife and I are NBC (native-born Chinese), while my kids are either CBC (Canadian-born Chinese) or ABC (American-born Chinese).
My main research interests are mechanisms of behavior in bees, or how do bees know what they are supposed to do? I was awarded a China-Cornell Fellowship for 93-95, but Illinois bees keep me beezy enough that I only made one trip to China in 1993 (and imported a stone in my kidney). My favorite pastimes include tinkering and programming computers (pc clones only), poetry (strictly Chinese), music, and singing (again only good in Chinese). I also enjoy cooking. Used to do a lot of photography. Sports include fishing and badminton. And of course, like any NBC should, I am good at pingpong (but probably not as good as Forrest Gump).
If you want to see a picture of me eating giant silk-worms, it is available in a hot place called the World Wide Web (http://ux6.cso.uiuc.edu/~z-huang/bugeat.html).
I have been working in Gene Robinson's bee lab since 1990, where in the field season (April to October) I do everything from instrumental insemination of queens and providing support in one way or another for experiments, to the more mundane work of maintaining honey bee colonies. My winters are largely spent coaxing data out of our temperamental liquid chromatography system. I'm sure I'm the only person in the department with a B.A. in Economics!
My wife Ellie works at Dr. Howard school in a special class for children old enough but not yet ready for first grade--a tough but rewarding job. She is from the Nether-lands and was trained to be a teacher there. I have a son 17 years old and college-bound next year (!), and a 13-year-old daughter interested in whales, volleyball, and reading, among other things. While spending time with my family, I enjoy hiking and backpacking, and have been known to pilot small airplanes.
I am a postdoc in Hugh Robertson's lab working on mariner transposable elements. I am interested in the biochemistry, molecular biology, and evolution of these very cool genes, which make Mendel's rules look like Spam. Ultimately, I would like to be able to engineer mariners into generalized germline transformation vectors for animals, especially insects. Recently, I was able to reconstitute transposition in vitro using only DNA substrates and a purified mariner transposase. This line of research will hopefully allow me to figure out exactly how mariner moves and how to make it move the way I want it to! Apart from my lab duties I administer the department's World Wide Web site which, by the way, has space available for all department members if you're interested.
Outside the lab I like to ride/tinker with my motorcycle, a big, black, and very-Teutonic BMW R100T. In the halcyon days B.C. (before children) I took the bike out to Arizona and North Carolina. When not in the saddle I spend most of my time playing with my two children, Joseph (3) and Anna (1), gardening, cooking, reading, making beer, and playing pool. I'm always looking for suckers, I mean partners, for a friendly game and a fish sandwich at Deluxe on Fridays.
Rich got his degree in Entomology in 1986 from UIUC. He and Dr. Robert Metcalf worked on kairomonal attractants for corn rootworms and cucumber and squash beetles. He continued working with Bob as a postdoctoral research associate for the next three years. During this time, they discovered over 40 compounds with varying attractant activity for five species of Diabroticite chrysomelid.
Rich is presently working with Robert Novak, head of the Medical Entomology Program, Center for Economic Entomology at the Natural History Survey. Rich's research projects range from oviposition attractants of mosquitoes to the use of soybean oil derivatives as larvicides. He continues to collaborate with Robert Metcalf on these projects and others.
I obtained my B.S. and M..S from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez under José A. Mari Mutt, an alumnus of our department. As an undergraduate I was interested in knowing the names and habits of the animals on the island, so it was not very difficult to decide that I wanted to be a taxonomist. The decision of which group of animals I wanted to work with was not very difficult either. In Puerto Rico 99% of the mammals are people, cows, dogs, and pigs, with a few horses, goats, and bats. So I realized that a mammal taxonomist in Puerto Rico did not have a future. The avian- and herpeto-faunas of the island are a little more diverse and interesting, but it is very likely that all the species have been described already. So what was left? Insecta. My M.S. dissertation project was a revision of the collembolan family Actaletidae, which has two genera and nine described species, all of which live on rocky seashores or mangrove swamps of the New World tropics and the northern coast of Spain and France.
My intention in coming to Illinois was to further my studies on classical taxonomy of Collembola. However, by the time I was done with core courses and prelims, the polymerase chain reaction had been improved by the intro-duction of Taq polymerase, Hugh Robertson was sequencing PCR products directly (or so he thought), and I was seduced by the molecular side of systematics. I began to work on a molecular phylogeny of the orders and families of Collembola. First I worked with the gene encoding glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (g6pd), but after two frustrating years, I abandoned that gene and began to work with the 18S r-RNA gene. Those years were not lost, how-ever, as part of my re-education as a molecular biologist. In addition Stewart, Hugh, and I coauthored a paper about our karma with g6pd. After two more years I accumulated enough data using the 18S gene to complete my dissertation. I am now a postdoctoral fellow in Hugh Robertson's lab extending the boundaries of my dissertation project to include phylogenetic relationships of the classes of Hexa-poda (Collembola, Diplura, Protura, and Insecta). I am still working on the systematics of Collembola, and I am coordinator of the Collembola page for David and Wayne Maddison's Tree of Life.
I probably hold the record for the number of times a student has been a TA for Insect Systematics (three, plus I did the new, reduced morphology twice). I had a good time during collecting trips to southern Illinois with Ellis and Jim Sternburg. I had a great time during weekly practices for the Linnaean games of the ESA. Toward the end of the season our practices were an excuse to get together and eat. Finally, Rosanna Giordano and I were married in 1991.
I grew up in a small town with a population of 700 just outside of Champaign-Urbana. By the time I graduated from eighth grade, the class was 3 boys and 10 girls. My senior year of high school I took an advanced biology course where we spent part of a semester studying insects. I realized that I loved entomology, but I entered a small private college with intentions to enter medical or veterinary school. During the first two years of college, I changed my career goals to becoming an entomologist and assumed the nickname "Bug Lady." I finished my bachelor's degree in 3.5 years and was married on New Year's Day after I graduated and before spring graduate classes began. My husband and I live in a small town outside of Urbana where I am frequently seen studying my neighbors' security lights for insects. In my spare time, I enjoy needlework, particularly cross-stitch, and cooking. I also enjoy gardening and hope to someday have an expansive butterfly gar-den. I recently completed my Master's degree and became a research specialist for Hugh Robertson.