Chase Martin joined the Texas A&M Agrilife family after graduating from the University of North Texas with a B.S. Biology Degree in 2018. Chase has been involved in research with crapemyrtle bark scale since 2019, working under the supervision of the now-retired Dr. Mike Merchant, Extension Specialist at the Dallas Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center. After Dr. Merchant’s retirement (2020), Chase has continued to work on several research projects on crapemyrtle bark scale at the Dallas center as a part of the Six Legged Aggie Team, including residual efficacy of drench insecticides, impact of fire ants on crapemyrtle bark scale populations, and impact of natural enemy exclusion on crapemyrtle bark scale.
Grace Levy joined the Six-Legged Aggie Team in May of 2021. She graduated with a B.S. in Biology in 2018 and graduated with a M.S. in Entomology and Plant Pathology in 2020. As part of her Master’s research, she studied types of host plant resistance in wheat against bird cherry-oat aphids (Rhopalosiphum padi). Grace is now involved in the crapemyrtle bark scale research including phenology studies and interactions between red imported fire ants and crapemyrtle bark scale.
In her free time, Grace enjoys reading, camping, traveling, playing board games, and spending time with her husband and two dogs.
Dr. Samuel Vezenegho
Dr. Samuel Vezenegho is has been added as an invaluable member of the SixLegged Aggie Team. He earned his PhD in Medical Entomology and a Master of Science with distinction in Molecular Cell Biology, from the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. During this time, he focused on the systematics and insecticide resistance mechanisms in African malaria mosquito vectors. Dr. Vezenegho completed a post-doctoral fellowship as a lead scientist with Institute Pasteur, Cayenne, French Guinea, where he elucidated malaria transmission mechanisms in different epidemiological context. He has presented his research findings at international conferences, supervised team of researchers in the field and published over 10 peer review scholarly articles in international journals linkedin.com/in/samuel-vezenegho.
Dr. Vezenegho’s current research interest aim to use cutting edge molecular biology techniques to answer key questions that will unravel insecticide resistance mechanisms and vector competence in both mosquito vectors and agricultural insect pest. His ultimate goal is to develop novel vector control tools that will form a vital component in integrated pest management strategy.
Are you wondering if Dr. Samuel Vezenegho has a life outside of science? Wonder no more, yes, he does! Affectionately known as Samy Vez in the dance scene, he is a long-time social dancer and a dance instructor who teaches Kizomba, a partner dance from Angola. He was a finalist in the Urban Kiz category of the 2018 North America Kizomba Olympiads. He has learned invaluable leadership skills from top-notch leaders in the sciences, and from teaching partner dance. He has also done copious amounts of leadership research, which he combined with his lived experience to develop a Kizomba-based leadership training course for teams and organizations.
Mr. Newburn has been working on the Six Legged Aggie Team since late 2018. He worked for the previous extension program specialist in IPM (Dr. Scott Ludwig) and brings expertise gained from working at one of the ornamental facilities nearby. He is an invaluable asset to the team.
Christine Bays joined the Six-Legged Aggie Lab in May of 2019. She is a Sophomore at the University of Texas at Tyler and is earning her bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry. Christine also works in an Ant Symbiosis Lab at UT Tyler, studying the relationship between fungus-gardening ants and their fungus. Christine is currently considering pursuing pharmacy school, assuming she doesn’t get bit by the ferocious entomology bug!
This summer, Christine will be helping with research on crapemyrtle bark scale, whitefly biological control, mealybug insecticide efficacy, and other small research trials. We are excited to have her as a part of the six legged aggie team this summer.
In her free time, Christine likes to take care of the vegetable and flower gardens her family grows. She also enjoys playing video games, swimming, going to the movies, and drinking coffee. She also loves animals and has two cats of her own.