The Kansas City Section of the American Chemical Society is soliciting nominations for the 2021 Kenneth A. Spencer Award. The award recognizes meritorious contributions to the field of agricultural and food chemistry. The Kansas City Section presents this award in the hope that it will give added stimulus in research, education, and industry to further progress in agricultural and food chemistry. More information on the History of this award, see the Kansas City Section website. Nominations should be submitted to Jon Tally following instructions on the application form webpage. The deadline for nominations for the award is November 15 of each year.
Joel R. Coats is the Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of Entomology at Iowa State University. He grew up on a farm in Ohio and received his B.S. in Zoology (Chemistry minor) from Arizona State University. His received his M.S. and Ph.D. in Entomology (Chemistry minor) graduate training was at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he specialized in insecticide toxicology and environmental toxicology. He was a Visiting Professor for two years in the Department of Environmental Biology at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, teaching in Pesticides in the Environment and Biological Activity of Pesticides.
At Iowa State, Joel was the primary organizer of the Interdepartmental Toxicology Graduate Program and served as the first Chair of that program. He also served as Chair of the Department of Entomology for seven years. He taught all or parts of four courses: Insecticide Toxicology, Pesticides in the Environment, Principles of Toxicology, and Special Topics in Insect Toxicology. He has served as major professor for 52 graduate students who graduated from his lab and has served as adviser for 14 postdocs. His research program includes two main areas, 1) insect toxicology and 2) environmental toxicology and chemistry of agrochemicals. His scientific publications include 15 books, 9 review articles, 51 book chapters, and 172 peer-reviewed journal articles.
For the past 35 years, Joel has been innovative in investigating natural products as insecticides and insect repellents. He has worked on identifying active components in the materials, their spectrum of activity, mechanisms of action, metabolism, and environmental fate. His research has primarily addressed terpenes and terpenoids, but it has also included studies on naturally-occurring glucosinolates, cyanohydrins, isoflavones, and fatty acids. His laboratory has synthesized hundreds of biorational analogs of terpenoids and used quantitative structure-activity relationships to assist in understanding modes of action and in prediction of better compounds. Importantly, his research has helped pave the way for companies to move forward in research and development of new products in the field of natural pesticides and repellents. He holds 13 patents on insecticides and insect repellents (7 have been licensed), and he currently has 6 pending (all licensed).
Joel is a Fellow of the American Chemical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Entomological Society of America, and the Agrochemicals Division of the ACS. He received the ACS Award for Innovation in Chemistry of Agriculture (2022), the ACS International Award for Research in Agrochemicals (2006), the Alumni Achievement Award (2013) from the University of Illinois College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Margaret Ellen White Award for Mentoring Graduate Students from the Graduate College at Iowa State University (2015), the John Doull Toxicology Award, from the Society of Toxicology’s Central States Chapter (2017), and the C.V. Riley Award from the North Central Branch of the Entomological Society of America (2018).