K-State Research and Extension News
August 11, 2014
Share  Email the story

Kansas State University’s Kun Yan Zhu Honored

Photo and caption available

Professor is internationally known for his research in insect resistance to pesticides and Bt toxins.

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kun Yan Zhu, a professor of entomology at Kansas State University has been named a Fellow of the Entomological Society of America for 2014. He will be recognized in November during the ESA’s 62nd annual meeting in Portland, Oregon.   

The award acknowledges contributions in entomological research, teaching, extension or administration. 

Zhu is internationally recognized for his research on insect molecular toxicology. He was born in Zhejiang Province, China, and earned a bachelor’s degree in plant protection with a specialization in entomology at Zhejiang Agricultural University (presently Zhejiang University) in 1982. He earned master’s and Ph.D. degrees in biology at Utah State University, then became a postdoctoral research associate and later a research faculty member at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, before coming to K-State in 1995. He was promoted to associate professor in 2002 and full professor in 2007.  

Zhu’s research focuses on insect resistance to chemical insecticides and Bacillus thuringiensis toxins; insect acetylcholinesterase (AChE); management of stored product pests; chitin biosynthesis, metabolism, and inhibition; and RNA interference (RNAi). His laboratory first documented the AChE paralogous gene in the greenbug, which led to the discoveries of the paralogous gene in many other insects and the mutations associated with this gene in insecticide-resistant insects by other researchers. His laboratory developed a feeding-based, double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) delivery technique by using chitosan/dsRNA nanoparticles for mosquito larvae.

He has authored or co-authored 135 peer-reviewed papers and reviews, 12 book chapters, and 325 presentations (114 invited) delivered at international, national, regional, and local professional meetings. He has served as a major or co-major professor for 19 graduate students, and as a supervisory committee member for an additional 30 graduate students in various academic disciplines. He has hosted 27 professors, Fulbright scholars, and other visiting scholars from Brazil, China, Egypt, Germany, India and Togo.

 Zhu has served as subject editor of Journal of Economic Entomology, academic editor of PLOS ONE, associate editor of Pest Management Science, and editorial board member of eight other scientific journals. He served as a guest editor for a special issue on insect RNA interference and for a special section on insect chitin metabolism, both published in Insect Science in 2013, and he has peer reviewed more than 330 manuscripts for approximately 60 scientific journals.

He was awarded the Summer Faculty Fellowship by the National Research Council in 2004, and the C.V. Riley Achievement Award (2009) and the Recognition Award in Entomology (2011) from the ESA North Central Branch. He was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2012.

Zhu is married to Xiaoli Wu, and has a son, Jeffery, and daughter, Lisa.

The Entomological Society of America’s members are researchers, teachers, extension service personnel, administrators, marketing representatives, research technicians, consultants, students and hobbyists. For more information, visit the Entomological Society of America.


K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus, Manhattan.

Story by: Mary Lou Peter
K-State Research & Extension News

Dr. Kun Yan Zhu – 785-532-4721 or kzhu@ksu.edu