In his previous job, Surendra Dara was a Strawberry and Vegetable Crops Advisor between 2009 and 2018 and Entomology and Biologicals Advisor until January 2022 at the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Dara primarily looked after pest management along with different aspects of research with biostimulants, biopesticides, and other biological materials in small fruits and vegetables serving San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties. As an IPM expert, he contributed to the IPM solutions of various crops grown in California. With his expertise in entomopathology, he served as a resource person for microbial control of various pests in different parts of California.
Dara has authored more than 400 scientific and extension publications that include 25 book chapters, three co-edited manuals, several peer-reviewed, trade journal, newsletter, and eJournal articles. He has delivered several presentations worldwide. He has trained strawberry and vegetable growers in Bangladesh, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Kosovo, Moldova, Mozambique, Myanmar, Transnistria, and Zimbabwe about crop production, pesticide safety, and IPM. He also lends his expertise to strawberry industries in different countries. As a principal investigator, co-principal investigator, or a collaborator of various projects, Dara has received nearly $4 million in grant funding. Dara's new IPM model has been very popular with a positive impact around the world.
Dara earned his bachelor's in agricultural sciences and master's in entomology from Andhra Pradesh Agricultural University, India. He went on to receive his doctorate in entomology from Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA. in 1995. He also obtained a post-graduate diploma in Applied Information Technology from Canada in 2001.
After receiving his doctorate, Dara served as an entomopathologist from 1996-1999 for the Plant Health Management Division, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture under the United Nations Development Program, Cotonou, Republic of Benin in West Africa. He was a post-doctoral research associate from 2003-2004 with the Department of Biology and Biochemistry, University of Houston, and an independent software consultant, 2001-2003. His other work experience includes assistant project scientist, 2005-2006, with the UC Davis Department of Nematology (now the Department of Entomology and Nematology) through USDA-ARS, and quality control manager from 2006 to 2009 for Certis USA.
He served on various committees at the University of California and continues to serve Entomological Society of America (ESA), and the Association of Applied IPM Ecologists in multiple roles. He is also a Subject Editor for the Journal of Economic Entomology, and guest co-editor for the special issues of Frontiers: Entomopathogens for Sustainable Food Production, Frontiers: Advances in Induced Crop Resistance for Insect Pest Control, and International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health: Current Status, Challenges, and Prospects of Biopesticides.