UF scientist recognized for research in mosquito-borne disease control

Dr. Bloomquist sitting in the labratory
Entomologist Jeff Bloomquist, a professor in the University of Florida’s Emerging Pathogens Institute and the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, in his laboratory on the UF main campus in Gainesville. Bloomquist is part of a research team developing insecticides that kill mosquitoes but are harmless to other organisms. Bloomquist said the compounds could help fight malaria, a serious problem in Africa (UF/IFAS photo by Tyler L. Jones).

University of Florida entomology professor Jeffrey Bloomquist is known to have a restless curiosity about everything, ranging from insecticide toxicology to mosquito control and resistance.

That boundless need to know has paid off for Bloomquist, a faculty member with the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. He recently was honored with the American Chemical Society International Award for Research in Agrochemicals, an award that recognizes a lifetime of achievement in agrochemical research.

Bloomquist studies how to develop novel insecticides and repellents to help control disease-transmitting arthropods, especially mosquitoes, with implications for improving human health. “My laboratory is developing new insecticides around novel chemistry and novel targets for disease transmission control,” he said.

“It is indeed an honor to be included in such distinguished company,” said Bloomquist, who’s also affiliated with the UF Emerging Pathogens Institute. “It is the expressed esteem of colleagues who have served as mentors, friends and research collaborators throughout my career that means the most.”

Past winners of this award, which began in 1969, include pioneers who originated studies on the chemistry and toxicology of the insect control products that have had a major influence on human well-being, Bloomquist said. 

According to a nomination letter from University of Massachusetts environmental toxicology professor John Clark, Bloomquist:

  • Has established an internationally recognized program in neuro-toxicology that has garnered more than $11 million in grants and contracts, 130 publications and 347 research presentations.
  • Completed a three-year project on new insecticides for malaria control. This proposal was the top-ranked project in the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health study section.
  • Serves as the principal investigator on a five year, $3 million proposal on novel chemicals to control malaria and other diseases.

In another nomination letter, Joel Coats, distinguished professor of entomology and toxicology at Iowa State University, said “Bloomquist has a very good grasp of the ‘big picture,’ which is essential for a leading researcher to function effectively in today’s science arena.”

Written: Brad Buck