Barry Pittendrigh honored by Purdue Entomology

MSU Entomology professor Barry Pittendrigh was honored by Purdue University

MSU Entomology professor Barry Pittendrigh was honored Oct. 14, 2016, by Purdue University’s Department of Entomology with the John V. Osmun Alumni Professional Achievement Award in Entomology. The award is in recognition of John Osmun’s long career, professionalism, and great respect for Entomology alumni. He was department head from 1956-1972.

The award nominators note that Pittendrigh has been highly productive in many areas of entomology and well beyond. While at Purdue, Pittendrigh saw the need to understand the genome of the human body louse, Pediculus humanus, which is a carrier of relapsing fever, trench fever and typhus. Pittendrigh took the initiative to write the white paper necessary to obtain funding from NIH to sequence the louse genome, organized the project and recruited experts, coordinating a project that led to the successful analysis of the sequenced body louse genome.

Pittendrigh’s initiative is having significant impact in the international agricultural arena as well. Starting with a USAID-supported Bean/Cowpea CRSP project and later one with the Dry Grain Pulse Innovation Laboratory working with cowpea IPM in Africa, he saw the need for novel ways to get information into the hands and minds of low-literate farmers in Africa and beyond. His Scientific Animations Without Borders (SAWBO) was launched in 2011. The focus of the program is to make scientifically validated knowledge easily accessible to low-literate learners in their own language.

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