Canine connection  | Prof. Elia Tait Wojno, animal health, (pictured above), is the namesake of the lab in which Page works to understand the optimal inflammatory response to diseases.

Student Spotlight on Melissa Page ’20: Researching an Optimal Response to Allergies

Corrections appended. There are few things that can put a damper on an end of summer evening in upstate New York, but allergies are one of them. The classic watery eyes, incessant sneezing, and insatiable back of throat itch one feels while relaxing on Libe Slope or hiking to Second Dam can be attributed to little molecules called allergens, and our bodies response to them. Yet pollen isn’t the only thing that can send one running for a tissue or bathroom. Many compounds in the environment including plants, food and insect product can cause full scale immunological responses and Melissa Page ’20 has set out to better understand why.

Parasitic threat | Black vine weevils such as these pose a significant threat to a variety of crops vital to New York agriculture.

Student Spotlight on Ben Engbers: Researching a Sustainable Way to Control Pests

While many Cornell students were off enjoying summer vacation away from Ithaca, Ben Engbers ’20 remained on campus to defend and improve the vitality of New York’s berry industry. As a research assistant and project manager at Elson Shields Laboratory of Entomology, Engbers has dedicated the majority of his undergraduate career to demonstrating the efficacy of nematodes as a sustainable biocontrol for berry farms.

“Nematodes are a native, sustainable, and organic solution to a food security problem that is affecting New York state and the world,” Engbers said. While Shields laboratory has studied the behavior and application of nematodes as pest control for over two decades, this summer, Engbers facilitated a specific project concerning the control of black vine weevil at Rulfs Orchard located five hours away in Peru, NY. “My work this summer resulted in promising data that I am excited to see published and ultimately applied in the real world,” he said. Black vine weevil is a formidable obstacle to crop growers worldwide and has been a significant detriment to the berry industry.