Meet Our Team

We are a growing team of entomology researchers and students solving pest and vector-borne plant diseases. Our specific focus areas are  horticultural specialty crops important to growers in Colorado.

Ada Szczepaneic

Principal Investigator

Ada Szczepaniec 
Associate Professor of Horticultural Entomology 


Ada (both A’s pronounced the same way) Szczepaniec [Stra-PA-nyetz] is originally from a small town in northern Poland, and she came to the U.S. in 1998 after finishing high school in Poland. Ada earned her B.S. in Cell Molecular Biology and Genetics and Ph.D. in Entomology from University of Maryland, College Park. Her Ph.D. work focused on the mechanisms underlying secondary pest outbreaks in urban landscapes exposed to neonicotinoid insecticides. She has since studied IPM in field crops, indirect effects of insecticides on plant-arthropod interactions, and induction of direct and indirect plant defenses in response to herbivory. Ada’s current work is focused on sustainable approaches to management of pests associated with industrial hemp in conventional and organic hemp production, incorporating biological control in IPM of hemp and specialty crops, insecticide resistance, and management of new emerging pests.

Visit Ada’s Google Scholar Page for publications and creative activities.

Laboratory Staff

Abby Lathrop-Melting

Abby Lathrop-Melting

Lab Manager

Abby joined the Szczepaniec lab as a research assistant after graduating from CSU in 2021. She has assisted in all lab projects including greenhouse and field research of hemp russet mites, emerging pests of quinoa, and aphid transmission alfalfa mosaic virus. Abby is also involved in various lab management duties and developing online extension materials.  

Aggie A

Darren Cockrell

Research Associate

Darren has been a Research Associate in the Department of Agricultural Biology since 2014. His research focus is on row crop entomology, including pests of wheat, corn, alfalfa, and hemp.

Students in Our Lab

Taylor Janacek

Taylor Janacek

M.S Student

Taylor joined the Szczepaniec lab during the summer of 2021. He has assisted in lab projects such as greenhouse and field research of hemp russet mites, and quinoa pest research in southern Colorado. During the fall semester of 2021 he started his M.S. project focused on developing IPM strategies for alfalfa mosaic virus transmitted by aphids to chili peppers.

James Hutzley

James Hutzley

Undergraduate Student
Agricultural Biology

James assists with the many duties of Dr. Szczepaniec lab. He assists in data entries, lab maintenance and the preservation of the lab’s multiple aphid colonies.

Kat Gingrass

Kat Gingrass

Undergraduate Student
Ecosystem Science and Sustainability

Kat is a junior studying Ecosystem Science and Sustainability with a minor in Microbiology. Kat fills various roles in the lab including plant care in the greenhouse and assisting in experiments.

Join Our Team

We are currently accepting new students interested in entomology and horticultural specialty crops. We solve important and practical problems for growers and emphasize the importance of an integrated pest management approach to our research.

Please email Dr. Ada Szczepaniec with your interest.