Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Genetics
Michigan State University
Evolution of Insect Pheromones
How do insects communicate with other individuals of the same species? In this project, we will investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying pheromone production and identify genes that are responsible for pheromone synthesis in selected Drosophila fruit fly species, such as the global fruit pest, Spotted Wing Drosophila, Drosophila suzukii. Understanding the biosynthesis pathway of these pheromones can lead to novel methods of pest control using pheromones.
Insect Physiology is the study of the functions of insects and of their component parts. It is the science of how they work, and how they accomplish the phenomena which we commonly attribute to life. In this project, we will study how insects can adapt to the changing climate by evolving higher levels of desiccation resistance. We are developing novel techniques to investigate the genes and mechanisms that desert insects evolved to adapt and survive in the dry desert environment.