Stephen Garczynski, research geneticist at the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Wapato, Washington, died Feb. 9.
Garczynski was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1960.
He received his bachelor’s degree in biology/genetics at Purdue University in 1983. At the University of Georgia, he earned his master’s degree in entomology in 1992 and his doctorate in entomology in 1999. He worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Georgia from 1999 to 2006.
In 2006, Garczynski joined the USDA-ARS laboratory in Wapato and worked on the molecular genetics of temperate tree fruit pests, including codling moth and pear psylla.
As the lead scientist working with codling moth and other Lepidoptera, one of his greatest achievements was the design and optimization of the CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing tool to knock down a codling moth odorant receptor and the discovery that this receptor affects egg production and viability. Garczynski’s successful use of CRISPR/Cas9 in codling moth was a focus of his ongoing research on the codling moth chemosensory system, and he tackled each question or problem with great enthusiasm.
Garczynski also collaborated with scientists spanning the globe and served on graduate student committees in the U.S. and other countries. He opened his lab to anyone seeking skills and knowledge in molecular biology, and nobody left without a visit to his toy shelf, where he proudly kept a collection that includes many toys he received from visiting scientists, researchers and students from around the world.
—by Jonelle Mejica