Muni’s Musings

Muni's MusingsGreetings, readers,

Welcome to the very first edition of our Integrated Pest Management Innovation Lab newsletter! We plan to keep you in the know and continue a newsletter tradition, highlighting recent activities, achievements, and future short-term plans. In this issue, we are proud to present a promising graduate student who participates in our program as well as a new Principal Investigator who specializes in biodiversity and climate change. We hope you will find this newsletter informative, useful, and entertaining.

Geographical Areas of Focus

The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Integrated Pest Management has been managed by Virginia Tech since its inception in 1993. In November of 2014, USAID issued a Cooperative Agreement to Virginia Tech to carry it over for another five years (until September of 2019). In this current phase, the program will operate in Asia (Bangladesh, Cambodia, Nepal, and Vietnam), and in Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania).

Invasive Species – a priority

Invasive species are a special concern of the Integrated Pest Management Innovation Lab in its new phase. The program has been closely following the spread of the South American tomato leafminer Tuta absoluta since 2012 when the tiny, yet destructive bug invaded Senegal. Since then, we have organized eight regional and national workshops on Tuta absoluta to create awareness of its spread in West, Central, and Eastern Africa, and South Asia. We have also formed a working group on Tuta absoluta under the umbrella of International Association for the Plant Protection Sciences. Controlling this pest is an important mission, and we are making persistent efforts to thwart its spread.

Award Excitement

I am excited to share some highlights of the past year. Back in March, Dr. George Norton, who has been closely associated with Innovation Lab since its inception, received the 8th International Integrated Pest Management Symposium Award for Lifetime Contributions. I would like to extend a big congratulations to Dr. Norton for his devotion and contributions to our endeavor. Additionally, I was humbled to receive the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD) Scientific Award for Excellence in March. Last but not least, in August, the Innovation Lab was honored with the International Association for the Plant Protection Sciences (IAPPS) Team Award for Excellence at the International Plant Protection Congress in Berlin.

Feeding the Future

In the past, our lab has spent time developing IPM packages for high value vegetable crops. Now, we are expanding with the addition of fruit and cereal crops. Recently, we received three sub awards. One has been submitted to the agreement officer for approval. Four more are in various stages of evaluation.

Please visit our website, covering past and present activities of the Innovation Lab at:

We hope you enjoy the first newsletter of our new phase.

Warm regards,
Muni Muniappan
Integrated Pest Innovation Lab Director
Phone: 1-540-231-3516.

Muni’s Musings
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