John Beck is a research chemist with a B.Sc. (chemistry) from the University of California, Riverside and a Ph.D. (organic/natural products chemistry) from Colorado State University. Professional memberships include the American Chemical Society (ACS) division of agrochemicals (AGRO) and division of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (AGFD), the American Society of Pharmacognosy (ASP) and the Entomological Society of America (ESA) Plant-Insect Ecosystems section. Prior to joining the Western Regional Research Center as a career employee in 2006, Dr. Beck was an Associate Professor of Chemistry. Early research interests included chemical processes that mimicked biological reactions and structure-activity relationship studies of the dihydrophthalide, (Z)-ligustilide. While his formal training was in organic chemistry and the isolation, characterization, and bioassay of natural products from terrestrial sources, more recent research has focused on plant volatiles and their role as semiochemicals, particularly attractants for the California insect pest, navel orangeworm (NOW). His current research utilizes electroantennographic responses of NOW to select compounds. Additional research interests include volatiles as early-warning signals of fungal contamination. As part of the USDA-ARS mission and the goals of his laboratory, Dr. Beck maintains collaborative research with external stakeholders, academia, and the State of California - Paramount Farming Company (CRADA), the California Pistachio Research Board (trust); UC Davis Department of Entomology and Section of Evolution and Ecology (Karban Lab, Yang Lab, Strong Lab); and the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Professional service includes Associate Adjunct Professor of Environmental Toxicology at UC Davis, serving on the Editorial Advisory Board for Phytochemical Analysis and reviewer for several professional journals. Critical vices of the PMR Beck Volatile Research Laboratory include high quality coffee and doughnuts during group meetings.
Publications – Peer-reviewed
Left to right, PMR Beck Volatile Research Laboratory personnel: Yvonne Ho, Biological Science Lab Technician; Noreen Mahoney, Chemist; Wai Gee, Biological Science Lab Technician; John Beck, Research Chemist; Marina Oster, Stanford University, Dept. of Global Ecology Graduate Student; and, Nausheena Baig, Biological Science Lab Technician. Inset: Will Wetzel, UC Davis Population Biology Graduate Student.