David J. Chitwood
A native of Baltimore, Maryland, David Chitwood received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics at the University of Maryland, with an emphasis on theoretical mathematics. After a particularly boring summer job as a statistician, he decided to pursue a career in plant pathology, the subject of one of his more interesting undergraduate classes. Therefore, he enrolled in graduate school at the same university and subsequently received M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Plant Pathology under the tutelage of Professor Lorin Krusberg. The subject of Davidís dissertation research was the phospholipid biochemistry of Meloidogyne javanica and Turbatrix aceti.
After a short interlude in an administrative position with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C., Dr. Chitwood was hired as a postdoctoral associate to work with nematodes at the Insect Physiology Laboratory of the USDA Agricultural Research Service at Beltsville, Maryland. In 1982, David was given a permanent position as a Zoologist in the renamed Insect and Nematode Hormone Laboratory. He was transferred to the Nematology Laboratory at Beltsville in 1990 an assumed his present position of Research Leader in 1992. He currently manages a laboratory containing six permanent scientists plus nine other staff members.
Dr. Chitwoodís personal research has focused on the biochemistry of lipids and steroids in nematodes. With the assistance of collaborators, he discovered steroid biosynthetic pathways unique to nematodes, as well as major differences in phospholipid and glycosphingolipid biochemistry between plant-parasitic nematodes and their hosts. He demonstrated that certain inhibitors of steroid metabolism disrupt the nematode life cycle by interference with the conversion of plant sterols to nematode sterols. Davidís research has been recognized not only by nematologists but also by lipid biochemists. His interests are currently expanding to include the identification of natural compounds antagonistic to nematodes. He has published over 60 papers in scientific journals or books.
Davidís editorial responsibilities have included serving as Associate Editor, Editorial Board member, and Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Nematology. He currently is a member of the Editorial Board of Nematology and the Editorial Advisory Board of Lipids. In addition to editorial activities, David has served the Society of Nematologists as Vice-President, President-Elect and President, and as a member of numerous committees. He is currently the Vice-Chair of the Nathan A. Cobb Foundation, a member of the Honors and Awards Committee, and SON representative to the International Federation of Nematology Societies and the Coalition on Funding Agricultural Research Missions. He has also been President and Treasurer-Corresponding Secretary of the Helminthological Society of Washington, and Chair of the Federation of Societies for Parasitology.
Dr. Chitwood was elected Fellow of the Society of Nematologists in 2002. The award is made in recognition of distinguished contributions to the science of nematology.
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