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    Personality of the Month

    Personality of the Month

    To focus some attention on our up-and-coming next-generation of young emerging medical entomologists, we are going to show-case some of these promising young talented individuals. First one up is Chris Daeyun Kim, a delightfully gifted and engaging member of the team at Kasestart University in Bangkok.

    After gaining his basic degree, Chris Daeyun Kim commenced his career in public health and vector management in 2009 by joining the R&D department of a leading pesticide company in Korea. He spent five years gaining experience in various aspects such as developing and evaluating products for managing household pests (among others bed bugs, ants, cockroaches, dust mites, flies, rodents, rice weevil), structural pests (e.g. termites, wood borers), disease vectors (e.g. mosquitoes, ticks) and invasive species (red imported fire ants, fall armyworm). He also provided regular educational programs and training for urban pest and medical vector management to government officers, pest management professionals and the general public. In 2011, he was invited to spend two years in the Philippines and Africa (Chad) to provide public health and vector management education programmes run by one of NGOs in South Korea. This experience stimulated his interest in urban and medical entomology, especially in tropical regions.

    To further develop his skills, he joined one of the leading entomology laboratories in Southeast Asia, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) in Penang for his master’s degree (under prof. Dr. Chow-Yang Lee’s supervision). One of his major accomplishments was discovering the role of tibial pads in the tropical bed bug, Cimex hemipterus. Briefly, this particular organ is used for climbing vertical smooth surfaces of pitfall type traps which previously caused failure in bed bug monitoring systems (link). He also published two translated books in Korea, ‘Do you have bed bugs? (2016)’ and ‘Termite of Singapore (2017)’ for members of the Korea pest control association. Even during the Covid-19 pandemic, he remained active internationally by providing webinars and articles about ‘Biology and behavior of bed bugs’ for members of the Singapore and Hungary pest management association (2020).

    Now with the Department of Entomology of Kasetsart University in Bangkok, Thailand, led by Professor Theeraphap Chareonviriyaphap, Chris’s current research topic is to develop chemical attractants and comparing host-seeking behaviors of various local Thailand vector mosquitoes, including the dengue vector mosquito, Aedes aegypti, Japanese encephalitis vector, Culex quinquefasciatus and the malaria vector, Anopheles minimus for surveillance or management tools using high-throughput screening system (HITSS) in laboratory and traps in semi-field screen (SFS) house. His findings will be published in early 2021.

    By joining prof. Theeraphap’s research team, he has learned not only about tropical vector mosquitoes, but also established an built international network with various opportunities to attend multi-national workshops and international conferences. The Asia-Pacific Malaria Elimination network (APMEN) is one of the opportunities. During the APMEN and KU (Kasetsart University) 2nd international training course on malaria vector surveillance for elimination (MVSE) in 2019, Chris established international connections with experts in vector control fields from various countries. People in the these fields motivated him a lot.

    Due to his growing experience in the public health field, Chris’s long-term goal is to become an expert in urban pests and medical vector management to contribute to protection in public health problems. He believes that actual interaction between academia and stakeholders can lead the pest control industry to strengthen, so that public health issues will be reduced. He believes this strengthened partnership will result in improved vector control, and more entomologists which are currently in short supply. At the same time, increased funding sources will support the entomologists to keep providing new scientific findings which will also contribute to growth in the industry. Most importantly, producing more trained public health experts to educate more people in public health can lead to community-level involvement in vector control, similar to what we have witnessed in individual behavior to stop the spreading of COVID19.