2018 AGRO Award for Innovation in Chemistry of Agriculture

Sponsored by BASF Corporation

Mode of action of insecticides and repellents

Vincent L. Salgado

Vincent L. Salgado, a Principal Scientist at BASF Corporation in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, is the recipient of the 2018 ACS Award for Innovation in Chemistry of Agriculture. He is being recognized for his innovative work in the identification of TRPV channels as the target of feeding blocker insecticides.

Vincent was born in Akron, Ohio, as the second of four children and attended schools in New Jersey and Southern California. His interest in neurophysiology while an undergraduate at the University of California at Riverside brought him to the lab of Professor Thomas A. Miller, where he was inspired by the enthusiasm and dedication of the many interesting and talented people studying insects and insecticides. After obtaining his BS (1976), he spent the summer setting up a neurophysiology lab at Burroughs-Wellcome in Berkhamsted, England, near Rothamsted Experiment Station, where he worked with leading British insecticide researchers.

Back in Riverside, Vincent returned to Miller’s lab, where he obtained his PhD in Entomology (1981) working closely with postdoc Stephen N. Irving to show that the type II pyrethroids were, like DDT and the type I pyrethroids, working on sodium channels and not at another target, as was thought by some scientists. During his postdoctoral research under Toshio Narahashi at Northwestern University Medical School, he looked more deeply into the mechanism of action of type II pyrethroids on sodium channels.

Vincent went into industry to apply his expertise in neurophysiology and insect toxicology to the discovery of insecticides with novel modes of action. During his time at Rohm and Haas, Dow AgroSciences, Rhone-Poulenc Agro, Aventis CropScience, Bayer CropScience, and BASF, he contributed to many research projects and discoveries of novel modes of action, including block of voltage-dependent sodium channels (IRAC Group 22), allosteric modulation of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (IRAC Group 5) and, in collaboration with Professor Martin Goepfert at Goettingen University and Alexandre Nesterov and other colleagues at BASF, modulation of TRPV channels in chordotonal stretch receptor organs (IRAC Group 9).

Vincent’s work has also led to new insights into insect neurotransmitter receptors. He defined the two major classes of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in insect nervous systems, desensitizing and non-desensitizing, which serve as targets for neonicotinoids and spinosyns, respectively. With Xilong Zhao at BASF, he has also published extensively on ligandgated chloride channels in insects, identifying two glutamategated chloride channel (GluCl) subtypes and demonstrating that fipronil acts on both types, in addition to its known action on GABA receptors.

Vincent has contributed more broadly to the advancement of pesticide science by serving on grant review boards and the editorial board of the journal, NeuroToxicology, as well as by organizing symposia at meetings of the ACS and the International Congress of Entomology. He has also helped the industry in fostering the sustainable use of insecticides by serving on the Insecticide Resistance Action Committee for more than 10 years. He has published more than 50 research articles and reviews, holds 8 patents, and has mentored three graduate students.

In his free time, Vincent enjoys woodworking, metalworking, sailing, kitesurfing, and spending time with his partner Suzanne Hixson and his two adult sons, Robert and Michael.