Entomologists Join Faculty at Weslaco Ag Research Centers

WESLACO -– Two entomologists have recently joined the faculty of agricultural research agencies in Weslaco. Dr. Boris A. Castro has been named assistant professor and Extension entomologist at the Texas A&M University System Agricultural Research and Extension Center. Dr. Mamoudou Setamou has been appointed assistant professor in entomology at the Texas A&M-Kingsville Citrus Center.

Dr. Boris A. Castro was recently appointed to serve as assistant professor and Extension entomologist at the Texas A&M University System Agricultural Research and Extension Center at Weslaco. (Texas Agricultural Experiment Station photo by Rod Santa Ana III)

Castro is a native of Honduras. He earned an associate’s degree in agronomy from the National School of Agriculture in Honduras and a bachelor’s degree in entomology and nematology from the University of Florida.

Castro later transferred to Louisiana State University where he earned his master’s and doctorate degrees in entomology.

“My doctoral entomology studies were conducted part-time, while having full-time research associate responsibilities with the LSU department of entomology where I conducted statewide research on corn and grain sorghum,” Castro said.

His professional experience includes an internship in Florida where Castro said he gained knowledge in rearing a biological control agent to manage fruit flies. He also had a three-year appointment as an extension consultant and instructor at Zamorano College in Honduras. There he worked with producers on a wide variety of vegetable crops, many of which are grown here in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

Before coming here, Castro worked with the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service, providing insect expertise to fruit and rice growers throughout the state.

“Since being appointed June 1, I’ve had the opportunity to attend two field days and to begin to meet my clientele, which will include vegetable producers, as well as homeowners,” he said.

Castro fills the vacancy left several years ago by Dr. Stormy Sparks, who relocated to his native Georgia. Castro, his wife and two children live in McAllen.

Dr. Mamoudou Setamou is the new assistant professor in entomology at the Texas A&M-Kingsville Citrus Center. (Texas Agricultural Experiment Station photo by Rod Santa Ana III)

Setamou began his position at the Citrus Center in March. A native of West Africa, he earned his bachelor’s degree in agronomy at the National University there, his master’s in Ghana and his doctorate in horticultural entomology in Germany.

He first came to South Texas in 2000, working in the sugarcane entomology laboratory at the Texas A&M facilities in Weslaco. In 2002, he moved to Kenya where he worked with the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology.

The following year, Setamou returned to the Valley where he took a position with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Kika de la Garza Subtropical Research Institute. His work there included work on the glassy winged sharpshooter, a vector for Pierce’s disease in grapes.

At the Citrus Center, Setamou fills the vacancy created by Dr. Bhimu Patil’s appointment as director of Texas A&M’s Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center in College Station. In addition to conducting citrus pest research, Setamou will be teaching entomology classes through Texas A&M-Kingsville.

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