Student Spotlights

Fall 2023

Meet two of our amazing Entomology students: Ian Collins and Subin Babu Neupane.

Ian Rafael Collins Graduate Research Assistant
Ian Collins in the field

Ian Collins, Master's Student

My name is Ian Collins and I am in the honeybee lab under Dr. Lewis Bartlett. I come from a half Peruvian half American household. Because of my dad’s job we moved outside of the states when I was two so I grew up in Guatemala and Argentina. In Guatemala I was surrounded by a jungle which had a plethora of exciting insects for me to explore. When we would go on hikes to the volcano, Pacaya, I would always slow down the group as I would be turning over logs or chasing an interesting bug I found. I would also always have whatever bug I could find in little enclosures in my room, to my mom’s delight. My interest only grew as I got older and once I figured out what an entomologist was I knew that is what I wanted to be.

 After I moved to Georgia and the United States as a teenager I realized UGA had an entomology department and knew that is where I wanted to go. I then went to undergrad at UGA studying entomology and then after graduation I worked at the bee lab and then eventually started my masters with Dr. Lewis Bartlett in the spring of 2023. My research has to do with honeybees and one of their pests, the small hive beetle. Specifically, I am researching how the insecticide chlorantraniliprole can be used in supplemental pollen feeding of honeybees to deter small hive beetle infestations. In my research we are not only seeing if the insecticide will properly deter beetles from infesting the pollen and the hive but also to see if there are any negative health effects of the insecticide on the bees. For my future I plan to get my phd and hopefully get into a career in academics studying social insects. With my career I have a passion to educate the public on the importance of pollinators and insects in general.

In terms of hobbies, I like to keep insects such as ant colonies and praying mantis. I also like to play video games, fishing, hiking, and hanging out with friends. Given my experiences growing up I love traveling and experiencing new cultures but recently I have had a hard time traveling when I'm too busy working in honeybee colonies. Me and my girlfriend also have two dogs who we love but are also a lot to handle!

Subin Babu Neupane Graduate Research Assistant
Subin Babu Neupane in the lab
Subin Babu Neupane wins ESA Award
Subin Babu Neupane in the field

Subin Babu Neupane, Ph.D. Student

My name is Subin Babu Neupane. I am a Ph.D. student at the Small Fruits Entomology Lab at the University of Georgia under Dr. Ashfaq Sial. My current research is focused on the biological control of Spotted-wing Drosophila (SWD) using native and exotic parasitoids. For this, I explored the existing parasitoids of SWD in Georgia, conducted experiments to understand the non-target effects of insecticides on these parasitoids, and studied the suitable plant host for the classical release of exotic parasitoids in the blueberry production systems in the Southeastern USA.

I grew up in the foothills of the Himalayas in Nepal. I completed my high school studies in my hometown. Later, I joined the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Sciences (IAAS) for my undergraduate studies where my interest in Entomology was started and fostered. I had some influence from my father as at that time he was an agriculture extension officer for the Government of Nepal. So, a lot of extension articles, posters, and insect identification booklets lay around my house during my childhood. I was particularly fascinated by pictures of ladybird beetles predating the aphids displayed in one of those posters. However, I was not planning to pursue entomology as a career until the final years of my bachelor's degree. In the final year of my study, I got a chance to visit rural farms in 8 districts of western Nepal. This exploration helped me to observe and understand the problems of small-scale farmers closely. My interest grew particularly in the problems of insects and pests in these farms and the innovative ways these farmers apply to get rid of the pests. Influenced by this, I later worked with a group of colleagues on a research project for the Management of rice weevil ( Sitophilus oryzae L.) as a part of an undergraduate project. In this project, we used some local plants that potentially had insecticidal effects on the control of rice weevils. This project was the beginning of my journey to be a professional entomologist. After I graduated, I worked as a technical officer at the National Agriculture Research Council of Nepal, and my interest in insect and pest control in different crops got deeper during my job.

Realizing the importance of higher studies, I moved to Texas A&M University and completed my MS degree in Entomology in 2020. For my thesis, I determined the economic threshold of sugarcane aphids in sorghum in relevance to the high plains of the Texas panhandle. I also studied the relationship between the phenological stages of sorghum and its effect on the various reproductive parameters of sugarcane aphids.

In 2020, joined the Department of Entomology at the University of Georgia. Since then, I have been learning the different aspects of biological control of invasive pests using SWD as a model. I am learning the process of classical release and aspects of post-release monitoring of useful natural enemies, and habitat management for facilitating the natural enemies of insect pests. Working in the world of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), I feel both fascinated and challenged by the intricate relationships between the ecological, biological, and economic aspects of IPM and I want to continue working in this area. In the future, I hope to start a research lab of my own and conduct research on the management of many other insects and pests of agriculture and help the growers.

When I am not working on my research, I enjoy being myself mostly by cooking new dishes, listening to podcasts, and watching movies from different countries.