Early in his career he became known for his thorough studies on neem insecticides and azadirachtin, helping to bring some clarity to a field of investigation that had been characterized by research of variable quality, dubious claims, and highly redundant work. More recently he worked with a team of investigators that provided the R&D support for EcoSMART Technologies Inc., propelling the company to become the world leader in pesticides based on plant essential oils. Along the way, Isman became an authority on the development of pesticides based on these natural products, but he has always maintained some basic research on insects, leading to some fascinating observations on insect feeding and oviposition behavior, insect memory, and the metabolism of plant toxins by insects.
Isman has published more than 180 scientific papers, reviews, and book chapters. His review of botanical insecticides, published in 2006 in the Annual Review of Entomology, has the highest citation rate of all papers published in that periodical. He has presented more than 50 invited symposium papers and 40 invited lectures covering every continent. Isman is a subject editor for the Journal of Economic Entomology and the Journal of Pest Science, and serves on three other editorial boards. In 31 years at UBC, he has supervised 22 graduate students, 13 postdoctoral fellows, and 16 visiting scientists. He was awarded the Entomological Society of Canada's Gold Medal in 2011 for outstanding achievement in Canadian entomology, having previously been awarded their C. Gordon Hewitt Award (1991) for outstanding achievement by an entomologist under the age of 40. He received the PheroTech Award of Excellence from the Professional Pest Management Association of British Columbia in 1996, and their Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014. In 2010 he delivered the Thomas and Nina Leigh Distinguished Alumni Lecture at the University of California, Davis.
He has presid
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Entomological Society of America