A PhD student from Pakistan who is investigating a natural enemy to fight the brown marmorated stink bug – which threatens fruit and nut crops around the world – has been awarded the Carol Ellison Science Award 2023.

Muhammad Yasir Ali, who is being supervised for his doctorate studies by Dr Feng Zhang and Dr Jinping Zhang from CABI’s centre in China, won the award for his research into the efficacy of Anastatus japonicus – an egg parasitoid of the stink bug.

The Carol Ellison Award is given to an outstanding student conducting his/her research with CABI with the objective of enriching their research experience with the organisation as they work towards the conclusion of their studies.

The late Dr Carol Ellison was employed at CABI for over 30 years as a scientist specialising on the biological control of invasive weeds – for which she received her doctorate – and the award was launched in 2021 in her memory.

Mr Ali wins a grant of £2,000 which will be used to further his research into A. japonicus – which includes the mass rearing of the agent in the laboratory in Beijing before field trials will take place in kiwifruit orchards in Shaanxi province during the field season.

During autumn/winter, data collection and analysis will take place and he will then present his findings at a national workshop.

His work is being conducted at the MARA-CABI Joint Laboratory for Bio-safety in Beijing. The Joint Lab is a world-class research centre whose focus is research and technology transfer in eco-friendly plant protection technologies.

It has worked on over 30 international projects in which more than 80 organizations have participated since its establishment in 2008.

Launched in 2008, and with funding totalling over US$33m, this collaborative venture is based in Beijing and is part of the Institute of Plant Protection, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (IPPCAAS).

Muhammad Yasir Ali (002)

Carol Ellison Science Award 2023 winner: Muhammad Yasir Ali

Mr Ali has so far either led on or co-authored 16 peer-reviewed papers on research and in 2021-2022 was also a Beijing Government Scholarship winner.

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‘Study highlights mass rearing capabilities of an important natural enemy to fight brown marmorated stink bug pest.’