Christian Nansen: Researchers Must Embrace and Integrate Technology

Technology matters.

It's not enough for entomologists to do research; they must also embrace and integrate technology, says agricultural entomologist Christian Nansen, an associate professor in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, who keynoted a virtual meeting of the 47th Congress of the Colombian Entomology Society,  themed "Frontiers in Entomology." 

Technology plays a crucial role in the development of insect science--and entomologists, their students and society must embrace it, said Nansen.  He delivered his keynote address in three parts: Parts 1-3 and Final Thoughts. They are now available on his website ( as YouTube videos.

"I argue that, in the near future, we as university professors may have to look beyond publication of results in a research article--that students and society will likely demand more from us," Nansen said. "We can embrace and integrate technologies into what we do to create educational platforms, which include exposure to technologies and therefore enable students to acquire highly 'marketable' career skill sets.  We can integrate discussions about entrepreneurship into our research and education--demonstrate to funding bodies, colleagues, and students that we take development and adoption of science-driven solutions seriously."

In his three-part lecture, Nansen provides examples of his research and approaches to university education. 

"The lecture," he explains, "describes three elements in my program: optical sensing to diagnose insects, smartphone app development, and use of insect mass-rearing to biodegrade waste streams. Applied research, technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship are the denominators tying these three elements together."

In addition to insect ecology and remote sensing, Nansen's research interests include integrated pest management, host plant stress detection, host selection by arthropods, pesticide performance, and use of reflectance-based imaging in a wide range of research applications. 

The three-part lecture:

 Born and educated in Denmark, Nansen received his master's degree in biology from the University of Copenhagen in 1995 and his doctorate in zoology from the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University in Denmark in 2000. He accepted positions in Portugal, Benin, United States, UK and Australia before joining the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology in 2015 as an assistant professor. His international experience also includes being an international exchange student at the University of Lisbon, Portugal and a visiting professor at Northwest A&F University, Yangling, China.