July 08, 2016

Simon Fraser University biology professor Gerhard Gries is the recipient of the Entomological Society of America’s Recognition Award in Insect Physiology, Biochemistry, & Toxicology.

The award honours outstanding research and teaching contributions in the field of urban entomology.

Gries holds an Industrial Research Chair in Multimodal Animal Communication Ecology, supported by Scotts Miracle-GRO and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

Among research highlights was his team’s identification of the bedbug aggregation pheromone, after eight years of studying the insects’ chemical signals that mediate aggregation behavior in tight cracks and crevices. Steps to commercialize Gries’ new technology for detecting and controlling bedbugs are now underway.

He is also applying his research to the world’s brown rat problem, paving the way for a better rat bait and trap.

Gries came to SFU from Germany 30 years ago, supported by a postdoctoral fellowship from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, and in 1994 received SFU’s Excellence in Teaching award. Over the years he has secured more than $9 million in research funding.

He calls his research chair, awarded in 2004, a “triple win” for not only generating new products and technologies, but providing “a perfect training and research environment” for students while “pushing the frontiers of science.”

Gries has published 240 peer-reviewed research articles (including 41 with undergraduate students as co-authors), filed 24 patent applications, and produced 13 scientific films on beetles, hoverflies, and aphids in collaboration with the Institute of Scientific Film in Germany.