Office phone: (562) 985-5254
- Insect immunology
- Lipid-mediator signaling pathways
Courses: Virology (MICR 452)
- Baculovirus pathogenesis in lepidopteran larvae:
Our goal is to understand molecular mechanisms of resistance in lepidopteran larvae to baculovirus infections so that these pathogens may be exploited for the biological control of crop pests. Baculoviruses are insect-specific pathogens that can cause fatal infections in the hosts they infect. These viruses do not infect plants, animals or humans. Because many insects susceptible to baculovirus infections are crop pests, baculoviruses are employed to limit the damage these insects cause to agricultural products. As baculoviruses are biological in nature (not chemical like “bug spray”), they are considered biological control agents.
For our insect pathogenesis studies, we employ baculoviruses encoding reporter genes, such as lacZ, to track of the movement of the virus among host tissues. This allows us to determine barriers to viral infection and with further experimentation, develop strategies to increase insect susceptibility to these biological control agents.
Using cultured insect cells and tissues, we exploit established methodologies to genetically engineer baculoviruses that modulate viral pathogenesis.
Lipid signaling molecules modulate inflammatory responses and we are interested in gaining a mechanistic understanding of how microbes mimic these mammalian signaling pathways to persist in their microenvironments.