2011 Hodson Alumni Award Recipient - Dr. Dale Clayton
Dr. Dale Clayton is currently a Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Utah. He is also Adjunct Curator, Utah Museum of Natural History, and Co-founder & Chief Scientific Officer, Larada Sciences Inc., UT.
Dr. Clayton received his B.A. in Biology, Hartwick College (NY), his M.S. in Entomology, Univ. of Minnesota (1983) with Dr. Roger Price (Professor Emeritus), and his Ph.D. in Evolutionary Biology, Univ. of Chicago in 1989. Dale received a prestigious NSF-NATO postdoctoral fellowship and has won numerous awards since, including the Henry Baldwin Ward Medal (Am. Soc. of Parasitologists) and Fellow of the Am. Ornithologists' Union. In brief, Dale is a world authority on the systematics of bird (chewing) lice, and reciprocal effects of hosts and parasites on one another in both ecological and evolutionary time; he is currently summarizing his life's work (to date) in a book entitled: "The Ecological Basis of Co-evolutionary History: Lessons from Lice."
Dale has published over 100 peer reviewed articles in over 40 different journals, including PNAS, Proc. Royal Soc., PLoS, with two papers featured in Science. He has mentored 12 Graduate students and 6 postdocs and numerous undergraduate students, in addition to his formal teaching responsibilities. Much of his funding is from NSF, with grants totaling over $2.6 million.
In addition to his many research accomplishments, Dale fostered a unique and practical outcome of his research on human lice. In 2004, with funding from the Utah Centers of Excellence program, Dale established the Center for Alternate Strategies of Parasite Removal (CASPeR). The sole purpose of the center was to develop a device capable of controlling head lice with carefully controlled and directed warm air. This machine, named the "LouseBuster" has proven to be a major success. It is currently being marketed by Larada Sciences Inc., a University of Utah spinoff company based in Salt Lake City. This work was published in the journal Pediatrics in 2006 and generated worldwide attention (especially from school kids and teachers).
Dale gave one of the most fascinating seminars since the inception of the Hodson Award. The Department also acknowledges the hospitality of Drs. Susan Weller and Bob Zink for hosting a grand reception for Dale during his visit.