Start date

26th October 2017


4.00 pm to 6.00 pm


Online - Reddit Science AMA (Ask Me Anything)

Event type




Have you ever wondered:

  • How do insect pests use chemicals to locate the plants they attack? 
  • How do plants use chemicals to signal the presence of the insects that attack them? And does this chemical signalling allow plants to garner support from natural enemies of insect pests?
  • What are semiochemicals? And how can they be used to manipulate the behaviour and development of a plant, or an insect pest, to help keep a pest’s population under control?
  • What do we, so far, understand about chemical signalling between plants below the ground?
  • How has chemical ecology advanced the control of insect pests? 

This is your chance to ask these questions, and more!

Jozsef Vuts will be hosting a Reddit Science AMA on Thursday 26th October at 4pm BST (11am EDT).

It is simple to be part of this event:

  1. Subscribe to Reddit Science - it is free and you will be one of over 10 million global subscribers interested in discussing scientific research.
  2. Log in to Reddit Science at the date and time detailed above and you can ask Jozsef anything about his research, and join an online discussion potentially spanning across the globe.  


Hello Reddit! I’m a chemical ecologist at Rothamsted Research in the UK.

Up until the age of eight I had wanted to become a pilot, an ambition that was stopped short after a failed attempt to fly a home-made glider. However, I think it was my innate curiosity that eventually made me realise that I wanted to do something connected to nature. Endless hours a day spent in the back garden, natural history books, influential teachers and, later in life, great mentors supported me on my way to becoming an ecologist. First at the Plant Protection Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and later at Rothamsted. I was amazed by the dedication and focussed work of inspiring scientists who wanted to make a difference, thereby setting a standard for me.

After my third level studies, I was introduced into the amazing world of semiochemicals (behaviour- and development-modifying chemicals). Since then, I have found myself immersed in this magical world of chemical communication that invisibly governs key interactions among organisms! It is fascinating stuff!

I mainly work with insect pests in agro- and forest ecosystems. I identify volatile compounds from the pests’ host plants or the insects themselves. I then use these compounds to manipulate the behaviour and development of the plant, or the insect, to help keep the pest’s population under control. I recently also started to study the chemical ecology under our feet. The soil is a tough one, because it is much less accessible, and therefore harder to research, than the environment above the ground. However, when something is discovered here, it has the potential to be ground-breaking!

In a world where environmental, human and food safety are fortunately becoming increasingly important, we need alternative, non-toxic ways to tackle pests, and chemical ecology research offers such solutions. The recent ban of many key pesticides is also driving the focus of plant protection in this direction.

It would be great to discuss my research with you. Feel free to ask me anything! On Thursday 26th October at 4pm (BST) I will be live on Reddit Science AMA. In the meantime, you are welcome to find out more about me in a blog entry I wrote for Rothamsted’s 'A day in the life of a research scientist’ blog series.

About Reddit Science AMA Series

In an effort to bring science education to the public, the Reddit Science community (known as /r/Science) has created an independent, science-focused AMA Series – the Science AMA Series. The goal is to encourage discussion and facilitate outreach while helping to bridge the gap between practicing scientists and the general public. This series is open to any practicing research scientist, or group of scientists, that wants to have a candid conversation with the large and diverse Reddit Science community.

The Reddit Science AMA Series is a unique format that allows scientists to speak about their work in a manner that is not possible within the confines of traditional short-form journalism or indeed anywhere else on the internet. Questions can be explained individually and follow-up points may be fielded so that the readers have a clearer understanding of the field and research being discussed. The AMA series can also be used to generate coverage as an ‘open source interview’, both highlighting recent work by the scientists as well as their general interests in the lab/office.

Reddit comments are vote-based! Users can ‘upvote’ comments and questions they find most interesting and the list will be updated with the most desirable questions listed at the top. Reddit comment sections are also ‘threaded’, such that users viewing the AMA post-discussion may easily follow the flow of the conversation and direct responses to questions and comments will be in a nested parent-child format.

Reddit Science holds one AMA session each day and upcoming AMAs are detailed on the right-hand side of the landing page.

Online at: https://www.reddit.com/r/science/