Daniel E. Sonenshine

Growing up in New York City, Dan Sonenshine, professor emeritus and eminent scholar of biological sciences, dreamed of glory on the baseball diamond or football field. As a graduate student, he discovered his field of dreams was acarology, the scientific study of mites and ticks.

Something about the tick clicked, and Sonenshine embarked on a love-hate relationship with the pesky arachnid that opened doors to places he’d never thought of going – the Sinai Desert, for example, where he once collected ticks from camels in a Bedouin encampment.

Shortly after joining the Old Dominion faculty in 1961, Sonenshine began a tick research project in conjunction with the Virginia Department of Science. Along with other faculty, he created a master’s program and two Ph.D. programs and, in 1983, received ODU’s Tonelson Award for academic excellence. He served as the associate vice president for research for four years.

Sonenshine’s research on tick pheromones, tick immunity and tick-borne diseases began in 1984. Patents and commercial products derived from his work. His definitive two-volume text, The Biology of Ticks, was published in 1991 and 1993, followed by the Dynamics of Tick-Borne Zoonoses in 1994. He received Virginia’s Outstanding Scientist award in 1994.

Sonenshine retired “from teaching, only” in 2002. He continues to do research and remains director of ODU’s Animal Care Facility.


Quest Fall 2005 • Volume 8 Issue 2