LOCAL NEWS

BYU alumnus names newly discovered nematode after former professor

Feb 11, 2024, 8:01 PM | Updated: 8:04 pm

Brigham Young University Professor Byron Adams shows off a picture of Steinemema adamsi,a nematode ...

Brigham Young University Professor Byron Adams shows off a picture of Steinemema adamsi,a nematode his former student discovered and named after him (BYU video)

(BYU video)

PROVO — Anyone who has watched “Spongebob Squarepants” may have a negative perception of nematodes, the wormlike creatures that descend on the Krusty Krab or Spongebob’s house and, well, eat them and anything in their sight.

But we all know the classic early-2000s Nickelodeon cartoon isn’t exactly true to life under or above the sea, and it was an honor when a Brigham Young University alumnus discovered a new species of one of the microscopic worms and named it after his professor at Brigham Young University.

Adler Dillman said he didn’t know anything about nematodes until he met biology professor Byron Adams in 2003. Dillman, now chairman of the Department of Nematology at the University of California, Riverside, had the opportunity to describe a new nematode and felt it was fitting to name it after his worm-loving mentor.

“If there’s somebody who loves nematodes more than Byron, I haven’t met them yet,” Dillman said.

Adams was ecstatic to have a new species of nematode become his namesake and said the insect-killing Steinernema adamsi is the “coolest thing ever.”

“You could name it after anything in the world, and you want to name it after me? That’s an incredible honor,” Adams said in a video.

Nematodes are microscopic roundworms that live all over the planet, from the tops of mountains to the bottoms of oceans.

The study of nematodes

Adams first started studying nematodes when he was an undergrad at BYU and has traveled all over, finding them in the desert of North America to cold, dry areas of Antarctica.

“They are the most abundant animal on the planet. I guess I love nematodes so much because they sustain life on our planet,” Adams said.

Steinernema adamsi is part of a group of nematodes that are beneficial to humans because they infect and kill insect pests such as fleas and gnats. Some types of nematodes are even available for purchase as pest control.

The worms crawl inside an insect, defecate highly pathogenic bacteria into its blood and combine with that bacteria to kill the host, explains a press release from BYU.

Dillman discovered the worm during field research in Thailand. While he doesn’t yet know the specific insect it hosts, Dillman believes the discovery can be useful in everyday lives and help biologists learn more about the species.

Adams has mentored more than a hundred students in researching nematodes, and Dillman followed in his footsteps of loving the tiny creatures. Dillman said the mentoring he received from Adams, including a research trip to Antarctica, changed the trajectory of his career.

Adams said Dillman is doing “incredibly challenging” work on the nematode research and he is so proud of him.

“I love seeing my former students on all of these other campuses everywhere else where they can be a force for good in students’ lives,” Adams said.

Dillman said one of the things he is most proud of that Adams taught him is the importance of including students in the work. Now as a professor, Dillman continues that in his own lab.

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

Follow @KSL5TVLike us on Facebook...

Eliza Pace

Kevin Bacon to come to Utah for Lehi Round-Up concert

Lehi City announced a familiar face would be returning to Lehi for the Round-Up concert this June: Kevin Bacon of  "Footloose."

1 second ago

Michaun Torgersen and Ashley Hone talk to KSL TV about repurposing wedding dresses. (KSL TV)...

Eliza Pace

‘This means a lot to me’: Utah woman repurposes wedding dresses for burial outfits for babies

A Spanish Fork woman is using wedding dresses for a special project. Michaun Torgersen takes donated dresses and makes beautiful burial clothing for stillborn or miscarried babies.

50 minutes ago

Lehi Ronald McDonald room...

Karah Brackin

Get sneak Peak inside Lehi Ronald McDonald Family Room

On Friday morning, KSL-TV got an exclusive look at the new Ronald McDonald Family Room at the Primary Children’s Hospital in Lehi.

53 minutes ago

Casey Scott gives away gas cards on Feb. 23, 2024. (KSL TV)...

Casey Scott

Casey Scott surprises drivers with free gas cards on Friday

Casey Scott is back from vacation and ready to finish the week strong with some gas card giveaways!

3 hours ago

Fewer than two in five people in the US have gotten the flu vaccine this season, according to CDC e...

Kiersten Nunez

Utah faces unusual flu season with third pediatric death

The latest update from Utah Department of Health shows a third child has succumbed to influenza during the current season. Health experts are raising concerns over the unusual patterns the state is seeing this year.

4 hours ago

Utah lawmakers have advanced a bill that would prohibit the Utah attorney general from engaging in ...

Bridger Beal-Cvetko, KSL.com

Legislature seeks to bar attorney general from private law practice while in office

Lawmakers have advanced a bill that would prohibit the state attorney general from engaging in private practice while in office.

4 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

BYU alumnus names newly discovered nematode after former professor