- South East QLD Presenter
Hi, my name is Dr Leeane Heslin, although most people call me Lani. Like most Entomologists, I was fascinated with insects as a child and spent hours observing and handling insects in my garden. My interest in biology developed throughout school and I was further inspired to study biology by my high school biology teacher.
After completing a Bachelor of Applied Science at Queensland University of Technology, I was fortunate to gain work in the Entomology department of the DPI (Department of Primary Industries). For 8 years, I conducted research on tephritid fruit flies, which are a major agricultural pest of many crops. The development of successful quarantine treatments allowed growers to send their crops interstate and overseas with the assurance that they were not sending any pesky fruit flies. I conducted research on fruit flies within many kinds of crops including citrus, tomatoes, mangoes, capsicums and pumpkins.
After working at DPI for a short time, my fascinations with insects intensified and I wanted to know more about the amazing world of insects. I began to study entomology part-time, gaining a Post-graduate Diploma of Entomology from the University of Queensland.
This led to a full-time PhD, studying a beneficial insect - a very small parasitic wasp called Trichogramma. This insect is grown by “Bugs for Bugs” and used by growers as a natural control of moth eggs. My research centered on the development of an artificial diet using insect cell lines, that could be used to mass produce these beneficial insects at a potentially lower cost. I also conducted research on the behaviour of the larvae within the host egg and observed some fascinating larval behaviours that had never been seen before.
On completion of my PhD, I spent several years raising my two young boys. I love sharing fascinating insect facts with children and I get great fulfillment from the enthusiasm and excitement they show, especially when handling live insects. I can’t wait to present a Bugs Ed workshop to your class.