UC Davis Alumnus Emily Bick Making Her Mark in Denmark

UC Davis alumnus Emily Bick is making her mark in Denmark.

Bick, an agricultural entomologist who received her doctorate in entomology in June 2019 from UC Davis and then headed for the University of Copenhagen for her postdoctoral fellowship, has just received a $23,000 fellowship from the American Scandinavian Foundation for her proposal, "Designing Pest-Resilient Apple Orchards Using Bespoke Models."

This stipend will help support one year of living expenses while she pursues ecological modeling at University of Copenhagen.

She will be leveraging Professor Lene Sigsgaard's apple orchard data and aiming to add spatial capability to Professor Neils Holst's Universal Simulator. Both professors are supervising the grant.

The abstract of the proposal:

“This proposal aspires to address civilization's greatest challenge: sustainably feeding our global population. Approaching agricultural food production as an ecosystem rather than an industrial process allows for greater sustainability. This systems approach allows farmers to sustainably intensify their agroecosystem using the tool with the greatest impact: redesign. Models can be used to pre-screen designs for optimal pest management. I propose using modelling to design pest-resilient apple orchards. Specifically, the proposal focuses on the combination of pest-attractant crops (Trap Crops), increasing plant diversity (Dilution Effects) for masking crops from pests, and using diverse crops to support natural enemies (Natural Enemy Effects). The combination of modelling and orchard design could result sustainably intensifying apple production in Europe.”

She earlier received a $244,000 postdoc grant from the Innovations Fund in Denmark. (See Bug Squad)

Emily's entomological journey began at Cornell University, where she received her bachelor's degree in entomology in 2013. She then received two degrees in entomology from UC Davis: her master's degree in 2017 and her doctorate in 2019.

Bick, who specializes in integrated pest management, helped anchor the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology Linnaean Games Team that won the national championship at the ESA meeting in 2016, and the University of California (UC Davis and UC Berkeley) Linnaean Games Team that won the national championship in 2018. The Linnaean Games, launched in 1983, are lively question-and-answer, college bowl-style competitions on entomological facts and played by winners of the ESA branch competitions. The teams score points by correctly answering random questions. (Watch the championship game on YouTube). She also served as vice president of the UC Davis Entomology Graduate Student Association (EGSA).

Bick served as an emergency medical technician from 2008 to 2017 and gained her pesticide applicator's license in 2013. She was singled out to receive the Student Certification Award at the Entomological Society of America (ESA) meeting in 2018. In 2014, she was named a Board-Certified Entomologist, a honor bestowed on her at the ESA meeting.