Dr. Joel R Coats

Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor of Entomology
Profile photograph of Joel Coats

Joel Coats is Distinguished Professor of Entomology and Toxicology in the Department of Entomology at Iowa State University. He is originally from Ohio and received his B.S. in Zoology (Chemistry minor) from Arizona State University. His graduate training was at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, receiving his M.S. and Ph.D. in Entomology (Chemistry minor), with specialization in insecticide toxicology and environmental toxicology. Professor Robert L. Metcalf served as his major professor there. He was a Visiting Professor for two years in the Department of Environmental Biology at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. He has been on the faculty at Iowa State University since 1978 and served as Department Chairman for seven years. He teaches in five graduate courses: Insecticide Toxicology, Pesticides in the Environment, Special Topics in Insect Toxicology, and portions of Principles of Toxicology, and Laboratory Methods in Toxicology. Joel has served as major professor for 44 graduate students who graduated from his lab, plus 3 current ones, and served as adviser for 13 postdocs.

Joel’s research program includes two main areas: (1) insect toxicology and (2) environmental toxicology and environmental chemistry of agrochemicals. His research in the insect toxicology area is focused primarily on natural products as insecticides and insect repellents, including investigations of their spectrum of activity, mechanisms of action, metabolism, synthesis of biorational derivatives and analogs, quantitative structure-activity relationships. His scientific publications include 10 books, 7 review articles, 41 book chapters, and 142 peer-reviewed journal articles, and he holds 9 patents.

He has received the International Award for Research in Agrochemicals from the American Chemical Society Agrochemical Division, and he is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a Fellow of the Entomological Society of America and the Agrochemicals Division of ACS. In October 2013 he received the Alumni Achievement Award from the University of Illinois College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Recently, Dr. Coats was featured in the news for his research focusing on the development of novel biorational repellents from natural, plant-based chemistries. You can read more about this research at the link below: 


Area of Expertise: 
Insecticide Toxicology
Environmental Toxicology
B.S. Arizona State University, 1970
Ph.D. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 1974
+1 515 294 4776
116 Insectary