Areas of Expertise:
insect diapause, circadian clocks, qPCR, RNAi, molecular physiology
Culex pipiens (Northern house mosquito), Halyomorpha halys (Brown marmorated stink bug), C
I study the molecular regulation of seasonal responses in insects. I am specifically interested in knowing how temperate insects are able to measure day lengths to determine when it is summer and they should quickly grow, develop and reproduce, and when it is winter and they should avert their resources to surviving a prolonged period without food, water and combat temperature stresses.
My PhD work has suggested that the Northern House Mosquito, Culex pipiens, uses its circadian clock genes to measure daylength and appropriately coordinate its seasonal responses. Now we are working to connect the clock to the hormonal regulators of the diapause pathway. We are also working to determine if male mosquitoes of Culex pipiens, that do not survive the winter, might also respond to seasonal changes by altering the composition of their accessory gland proteins. Finally, I am interested in determining whether clock genes are similarly connected to the hormonal regulators in other insects that also survive the winter as adults such as the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug.