People

Jason M. Schmidt, PhD

Associate Professor
Department of Entomology
University of Georgia
2360 Rainwater Rd
Tifton, GA 31793
Ph: (229) 386-7251
Email: jschmid2@uga.edu

Research Technician

Melissa Thompson

Melissa D. Thompson

I am a Research Technician III on the UGA Tifton Campus in the Entomology Department. I am interested in the biological control of arthropod pests and insect identification. My time is spent conducting molecular analysis, lab rearing insects,  managing pollinator gardens and coordinating field sampling. I also enjoy outreach to share information about beneficial insects in agricultural systems with the public and the grower community.

Post-Doctoral Research Associate

Arash Kheirodin

Arash Kheirodin
2020-

I am a landscape ecologist who is passionate about exploring complex trophic interactions within agricultural landscapes. My goal is to understand how natural enemies (e.g., predators and parasitoids) responds to the levels of complexity (low to a high proportion of non-crop area) in agricultural landscapes, and how that results in changes in herbivore abundance and crop yield.  Research interests: Landscape Ecology, Molecular Biology, Integrated Pest Management, Biological Control. ResearchGate: Arash Kheirodin

PhD Students

Pedro Toledo

Pedro F. S. Toledo
2021-

I am an agronomist, MSc. in Entomology and currently a PhD student at the Biocontrol Lab. During my doctoral studies, my focus has been to understand how cultural management, tree strata (canopy levels) and seasonal changes can influence the abundance, richness and overall effectiveness of predatory biological control agents in pecan systems. My research interests are (but not limited to): applied ecology, pesticide (eco)toxicology, insect behavior and sustainability in agriculture.

Albertha Parkins
2021-

Research Interest: Assessment of plant-insect interaction, Monitoring and management of invasive pests, Development and evaluation of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Programs /Strategies, Agronomy.

Kyle Slusher
PhD 2018-2021

Now at the USDA, Byron, GA.

MS Students

Swikriti on the field

Swikriti Pandey
MS 2019-

My interest lies in exploring the integrated pest management practices in the crop systems and exploring sustainable approaches to the agriculture production system leaning more towards horticultural crops. My research, currently, focuses on biological control of the key pests in tomato and understanding the trophic interactions between tomato plant traits, natural enemies and herbivores. I also like keeping up with climate change trends all over the world and understand its impacts on the developing countries.

Kylie M. Lennon
MS 2020-

I study natural enemy biodiversity and biological control of thrips in Vidalia onions systems.  I examine interactions between insects, crops, plant pathogens, weeds, and soil microbes, and test how various organic bactericides and weed cultivations alter these interactions.

Amos Kaldor

Amos Kaldor
MS 2020-

My interests lie in biodiversity, trophic interactions, and expanding conservation. My current research is in peach tree agriculture; Exploring natural enemy diversity and trophic interactions in the canopy, as well as surveying ground dwelling natural enemies and pollinators in the peach system. The ultimate goal of my research is to develop sustainable management practices to improve natural ecosystem services and reduce costs for growers.

Sarah Rezende

Sarah Rezende
MS 2021-

I conduct research to understand how native plants influence populations of ground predators and pollinators in blueberry fields. I am also investigating their movements between forest, field edge, and field interior habitats governed by resources that can vary across space.

My broader interests include non-Apis bee diversity on natural and agricultural landscape and their pollination services; and the response of non-Apis bee diversity to different flower resources.

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Miller Hayes

Olivia Centanni

Winston Cornish

I am an undergraduate student of the University of Georgia majoring in Entomology and Forestry on track to graduate in 2024. Interests of mine: insect ecology, aquatic invertebrates, forest ecosystems, field margin habitats, biocontrol, and ecological succession.

Emmelie Milner

Emmalee Milner

Grace Padgett

I’m majoring in Agriscience and Environmental Systems with an emphasis on plant breeding and genetics, and I will graduate with my degree in the Fall of 2021. I am interested in plant pathology and entomology. I am currently working as an undergraduate student research assistant in the lab.

Rachel Perez

Rachel Perez

Alumni-Graduate Students

Shereen Xavier

Shereen Xavier
MS 2018

Seth Whitehouse

Seth Whitehouse
MS 2017

Carson Bowers

Carson Bowers
MS 2019

Alumni-Undergraduate Assistants 

Pamela Halliday

Pamela Halliday

Dacee Blawn

Dacee Blawn

Andreas Contreras

Andreas Contreras

Justin Odum

Justin Odum

Katherine Russell

Katherine Russell

Abbie McBrayer

Abbie McBrayer