Executive Committee of the DGaaE
About Dr Jürgen Gross
PD Dr Jürgen Gross lives with his wife, twins and dog in the wine town of Schriesheim an der Bergstrasse. He studied biology at the Freie Universität in Berlin (FUB) after completing his training as a biology laboratory assistant. His diploma thesis on the ecology and defence chemistry of the Lapland willow leaf beetle was awarded the Katharina-Heinroth-Prize of the Society of Friends of Nature Research Berlin in 1997. Following the FUB in 2001, he received his doctorate in the field of chemical ecology under Prof. Dr M. Hilker with the topic "On the Evolution of Host Plant Specialization in Leaf Beetles (Coleoptera: Chrysomelinae)".
After working as a post doc and group leader in Berlin, Dossenheim and Gießen, he has been head of the department "Applied Chemical Ecology" at the Julius Kühn Institute (JKI), Federal Research Institute for Cultivated Plants, Institute for Plant Protection in Fruit and Viticulture, since 2008. In autumn 2014 he habilitated at the Faculty of Natural Sciences at the University of Ulm and was awarded the Venia legendi for the field of zoology/ecology. Title of the habilitation thesis: Research on Chemically Mediated Communication between Cultivated Plants and Pest Organisms - Basis for innovative Applications in Phytomedicine". Following 6 years of teaching at the University of Ulm (Chemical Ecology and Evolutionary Ecology), he has taught Applied Chemical Ecology at the Technical University of Darmstadt since June 2017.
Dr Gross works on entomological and chemical-ecological questions with the aim of developing selective biotechnological methods of controlling insect pests using scents (pheromones and allelochemicals). His current research focuses on the manifold and complex networks of relationships between plants, phytopathogens, their vectors (herbivorous insects) and antagonists (predators, parasitoids, entomopathogens) mediated by these chemical messengers. In this context, he focuses on phloem-sucking insects (aphids, leaf fleas and dwarf cicadas). Further focuses of his work are the investigation of ecological, physiological and population biological aspects of various harmful insects in fruit and wine growing, such as the Asian ladybird Harmonia axyridis, the grape berry moth Lobesia botrana and Eupoecilia ambiguella or the cherry vinegar fly Drosophila suzukii. A side aspect of his research, which he conducts together with his wife Eva Gross, is the chemically influenced interaction of cultivated plants with large herbivores (elephants and rhinoceroses). In 2006, Dr Gross was awarded a prize for special innovation in agricultural research by the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft and the DFG.
He is a member of several national and international scientific societies and author of numerous publications. From 2005 to 2008, Dr Gross was editor of the international journal "Journal of Pest Science" (formerly "Anzeiger für Schädlingskunde") as successor to Prof. Dr W. Schwenke and is still a subject editor on the editorial board. He is also Associate Editor of the scientific journals "Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution" and "Journal of Plant Diseases and Protection" and member of the Scientific Committee on Chrysomelids at ZooKeys (Pensoft, Sofia). Since 2012 he has been the convenor of the international working group "Pheromones and other semio-chemicals in integrated production" of the "International Organisation for Biological Control" (IOBC/WPRS). He was also President of the International Society of Pest Information (ISPI) from 2016 to 2020. Dr Gross has been a member of the DGaaE board since 2005 and was one of the deputies of the president from 2013–2017.