The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences has hired an entomologist to help study ways to solve the citrus greening disease.

Jawwad Qureshi, an entomologist with a decade of citrus research experience, has joined the faculty of the university’s Indian River Research and Education Center in Fort Pierce, as assistant professor of entomology, a new position.

Qureshi’s insect pest management expertise is critical to the state’s citrus industry when greening, also known as huanglongbing/HLB has destroyed citrus groves statewide, according to a news release.

In 2012, he was named Entomologist of the Year by the Florida Entomological Society for his development of a sampling method for the Asian citrus psyllid, which spreads greening.

The method has become an important tool for researchers, growers and consultants who require rapid estimation of the psyllid to assist them in making decisions to control the psyllid in groves, according to the release. 

For 10 years, Qureshi was a research associate professor at the university’s research center in Immokalee, Fla.

Before joining the university, he was a post-doctoral research associate and served as a graduate research and teaching assistant at Kansas State University and worked with biological control and integrated pest management for the Center for Agriculture and Biosciences, International in the United Kingdom.

“Dr. Qureshi is one of the world’s few entomologists who have expertise in integrated pest management focused specifically on citrus,” Ronald Cave, the Indian River Research and Education Center’s interim director, said in the release. “His work is much needed in the region known worldwide for the highest quality fresh citrus product.”