I am a native Tennessean and was excited to join the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology in December 1985. I came to UTIA from Clemson University, where I had been a Research Assistant Professor for two year gaining valuable teaching, research and advisory experience. My main research areas at Clemson focused on evaluating the potential of introduced natural enemies as biological control tools to manage insect pests of soybean. At UTIA, I have a 25% Teaching and 75% Research appointment. My primary teaching responsibilities include advising graduate students and teaching several undergraduate and graduate courses, including Integrated Pest Management, Advanced Integrated Pest and Pathogen Management, Field Crop and Vegetable Pests, and A Bug’s Life (a freshman course); I also co-teach Diseases and Insects of Ornamental Plants. While at UTIA, I have had the opportunity and privilege to mentor 45 graduate students and four postdoctoral associates, and serve on more than 40 graduate student committees. I also actively work with undergraduate students who play a vital role in my laboratory, where they assist with various research projects. I also am active in outreach programs with kids and adults of all ages, where I can share the wild, wonderful world of insects with anyone who will listen. I encourage students to become passionate about things that interest them and to pursue and nurture that passion in their lives and in their professions.
I serve as the leader of the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) (applied insect ecology)/Biological Control Research Laboratory at UTIA to address the issues and problems facing the agricultural industry, as well as those impacting upon our forests and natural resources. My research focuses on invasive species (insects and weeds) and integrates the use of biological control in IPM programs. An invasive species is simply an organism that has been accidentally or purposely introduced into the U.S. from another country, and has become a problem species (economically, environmentally, or health-related) in its new area. Many invasive species are now present in Tennessee and the southeastern U.S., where they have had tremendous negative impacts.
My overall research emphasis is focused on component IPM, emphasizing the development of safe, effective, and economical methods of IPM integrating biological control, and the biological/ecological interactions relating to invasive insect species and their environment. The major emphasis of my research laboratory currently addresses hemlock woolly adelgid, emerald ash borer, kudzu bug, brown marmorated stink bug, and other invasive species. Past research has focused on numerous forest pests, such as insect transmission of the pathogens that causes thousand cankers disease and dogwood anthracnose, epidemiology of beech bark disease (an insect/pathogen complex), and natural enemies of gypsy moth.
I participate with various federal and state agencies to survey and document incidence and distribution of already established invasive species, as well as monitor for incidence of new exotic bark beetles to mitigate them before they become well established and problematic.
For the last 30+ years, teaching has been my vocation, but it also has been my avocation. As a teacher, we should be dedicated to the scholarship of the discipline and possess the knowledge and understanding of the subject matter. I feel it is equally as important to possess a passion for teaching – a passion that encourages, motivates, stimulates, and excites students to enhance their learning by creating an environment that is conducive to effective learning.
I listen to student concerns and needs, and work with them to make their educational experience productive, diversified, and enjoyable. I strongly support service and outreach activities to share the wild, wonderful world of insects, and encourage students to pursue and nurture service passions in their lives/professions. I provide an environment of respect for others and self-respect for each student, including respect for diverse backgrounds, talents, and ways of learning. I foster a comfortable, caring, positive and interactive classroom environment that focuses on hands-on activities and real-life situations to facilitate learning, to promote creative thinking and critical thinking skills, to encourage students to be inquisitive and to be problem solvers, to encourage students to express their opinion and to listen to the opinions of others, to encourage classroom participation, interaction, and cooperation, and to encourage independent thinking. My ultimate goal as a teacher and as an advisor is to make a positive difference in the lives of students and to inspire and encourage life-long learning.
FYS 129 – A Bug’s Life
EPP 410 – Disease and Insects of Ornamental Plants
EPP 523–Field Crop and Vegetable Insects
EPP 530 – Integrated Pest Management
EPP 602 – Advanced Topics in Entomology (offer periodic courses under this heading)
EPP 630 – Advanced Integrated Pest and Pathogen Management
office (865) 974-0218
mobile (865) 803-3552
fax (865) 974-4744
128 Plant Biotechnology Building
2505 EJ Chapman Drive
Knoxville, TN 37996-4560
B.A., Biology, Berea College (KY)
M.S., Entomology, University of Kentucky
Ph.D., Entomology, Clemson University
75% Research, 25% Teaching
Graduate program concentrations
Sustainable Disease and Integrated Pest Management Systems
Areas of expertise
Population dynamics, biological control, invasive species, integrated pest management, applied insect ecology
Invasive species, biological control, population dynamics, integrated pest management,applied insect ecology
Research questions in our laboratory
Current lab members
Liang, W., L. Tran, R. Washington-Allen, G. Wiggins, S. Stewart, J. T. Vogt, and J. F. Grant. 2017. Environmental space shift: Predicting the potential invasion of kudzu bug (Megacopta cribraria) in North and South America and determining its climatic preference. Biological Invasions, BINV-D-17-00456R1. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-018-1743-y
Benton,E. P., J.F. Grant, T. C. Mueller, R. J. Webster, and R. J. Nichols. 2016. Consequences of imidacloprid treatments for hemlock woolly adelgid on stream water quality in the southern Appalachians. Forest Ecology and Management 360: 152-158; doi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2015.10.028.