Areas of Expertise:
Insect evo-devo, RNA interference
Tribolium castaneum, Blattella germanica, Drosophila melanogaster
My research interests revolve around understanding the molecular basis underlying morphological evolution. We use insect wings as a model, and investigate the emergence and divergence of this evolutionary critical structure, that has made insects one of the most successful group of animals on this planet.
We also study the systemic aspect of RNA interference (RNAi) in insects. RNAi, in which dsRNA suppresses the translation of homologous mRNA, is a highly conserved cellular defense mechanism. In some organisms, the RNAi response can be transmitted systemically from cell to cell, a phenomenon termed ‘systemic RNAi’. Understanding systemic RNAi will be crucial for the application of RNAi to many other insects, which will open the possibility of functional analysis in various insects and also will provide us with the route to establish RNAi-based pest management strategies.