University of Kentucky College of Agriculture

Research Areas

Research programs in the Department of Entomology are focused in three areas of emphasis:

Insect Molecular Biology, Physiology, and Genetics
Insect Behavior, Ecology, and Evolution
Pest Management and Applied Ecology

Insect Molecular Biology, Physiology, and Genetics

The research program in Insect Molecular Biology, Physiology and Genetics is one of the three general sub-specialities represented in the Department of Entomology.  Research teams use biotechnology to study molecular virology, insect development, and the physiological and biochemical aspects of host/parasite/pathogen interactions to develop novel methods for manipulating important insect populations.  Additional research foci include chemical communication, quantitative genetics and biochemical phenomena related to insect vectors, nutrition, plant allelochemicals and natural product bioactivities.  Faculty use both pest and beneficial insect model systems to discover new information in these basic areas of science.

 

Areas of Specialization
  • Molecular Virology
  • Genetic Engineering of Insect Pathogens
  • Insect Immunity
  • Insect/Bacterial Symbioses
  • Physiological Basis of Chemical Communication
  • Molecular/Biochemical Insect Parasitology
  • Biochemistry of Insect-Plant Interactions
  • Mendelian and Quantitative Genetics

 

Faculty in the Department of Entomology with Specialization in the area of Insect Molecular Biology and Physiology include:
 
Facilities
The Department has well-equipped laboratories and state-of-the-art equipment and computing facilities to complement a broad array of studies in molecular biology and physiology.  Available equipment includes GC-MS, HPLC, Capillary Electrophoresis, SEM, TEM, Confocal and Photo microscopes, scintillation counters, ultracentrifuges, and DNA sequencers.  Several University of Kentucky research centers and core facilities are also available for studies in insect molecular biology.

Insect Behavior, Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics

The research emphasis in Insect Behavior, Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics is one of the three general sub-specialities in the Department of Entomology.  Faculty teams are examining the chemical basis for mate and host finding in a number of systems.  Additional groups are quantifying the role of arthropod predators in forest and agricultural systems. Insect-plant interactions is one area of emphasis for a number of research programs.  Faculty are also building phylogenies using DNA sequence data and morphological characters, to provide a basis for understanding ecological and evolutionary phenomena.  An association with the multidisciplinary Center for Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior provides opportunities for additional interactions and breadth.

 
Areas of Specialization
  • Chemical and Acoustic Communication
  • Community Ecology and Food-Web Studies
  • Evolutionary and Behavioral Genetics
  • Mating Behavior
  • Modeling
  • Predator/Prey and Insect/Plant Interactions
  • Systematics
 
Faculty in the Department of Entomology with Specialization in the area of Insect Behavior, Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics include:
 
Facilities
State-of-the-art computer, microscope, video, chromatographic and molecular equipment, along with excellent laboratory and greenhouse facilities are available to support student research projects.  In addition, the University owns and operates thousands of acres of forests, grassland, and farmland which are also available as research sites.

Pest Management and Applied Ecology

Broad societal issues, including water quality, food safety, environmental pollution, sustaining biodiversity, pesticide use, and improved crop and forest production systems form the core of a third area of research focus within the Department of Entomology.  Protection of our agricultural, urban, horticultural, and forest resources from insect attack and reducing risks from insect-borne diseases require a constant search for safer, more cost-effective, and environmentally responsible means of pest management.

 

Areas of Specialization
The Department of Entomology is nationally recognized for its programs in pest management.  Our work provides the basis for sound pest management programs for insect pests, weeds, and plant or animal diseases.  Areas of specialization include:
  • Integrated pest management
  • Host (Plant or Animal)/Insect Interactions
  • Enhancement of Biological Control
  • Host Resistance
  • Extension and Technology Transfer
  • Urban Entomology
  • Biodiversity

 

Faculty in the Department of Entomology, and Their Specialties, include:
 
Facilities
The Department has well-equipped laboratories and state-of-the-art equipment and computing facilities to address a broad array of Pest Management and Applied Ecology problems.  The University also owns and operates thousands of acres of farmland and forests which are accessible for research projects.