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W. Joe Lewis

Joe Lewis

Research Entomologist

Career Highlights:

Dr. Lewis unraveled mechanisms regulating plant, herbivore, and beneficial insect interactions. He discovered how plants use "SOS" signals to recruit beneficial insects to their defense.

Dr. Lewis formulated a systems approach to pest management — widely considered a model guide for sustainable agriculture.

He developed processes to train insects to selected chemical signals. Then, designed and patented a system to use these trained insects as biosensors.

Dr. Lewis was founder and editor of ground-breaking agricultural science publications. Biological Control is now an established worldwide refereed journal. He edited Semiochemicals: Their Role in Pest Control and also authored the introductory and concluding chapters.

During his career, Dr. Lewis served as host and mentor to 29 students and young scientists from 15 countries.


  • 1990: Founder's Memorial Lecturer Award, Entomological Society of America
  • 1999: Outstanding Senior Scientist, USDA-ARS
  • 2000: Congressional Recognition, Outstanding Achievement, Service, and Public Distinction
  • 2003: Invitational Fellowship for Research, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science
  • 2003: Jean-Marie Delwart Prize, Royal Academy of Science, Belgium
  • 2008: Wolf Prize in Agriculture, presented by President Peres (Israel)
  • 2008: Elected Fellow, Entomological Society of America