Yolanda Chen is an Associate Professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Science, within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. She is interested in the origins of agriculture, and how current and historical human activities shape the emergence of insect as pests. She studies the ecology and evolution of insects within agroecosystems to seek insight on how to “farm with nature” within a globalized world. She has published widely on crop domestication and its impact on insect-plant interactions, invasions of insect pests in agroecosystems, rapid evolution of insect pests in agroecosystems, and ecological pest management.
Her lab is currently studying: 1) how the origins of agriculture in Mesoamerica have shaped insect biodiversity, 2) mechanisms of rapid evolution for the Colorado potato beetle, and 3) exploiting ecology to help manage the invasive swede midge, a devastating pest for organic brassica crops in the Northeastern United States.