Lepidopteran insects are major crop pests and consume a large proportion of the food and textile crops that are produced by humans.
Michael Kanost (Biochemistry) is an internationally recognized insect scientist who is funded by
NIH and NSF to study innate immunity and biochemistry of
the exoskeleton in the tobacco hornworm Manduca sexta.
Manduca has been widely used as a model system, and Kanost is in a position to utilize extensive EST libraries generated by him and others for functional genomic studies.
Rollie Clem (Biology) and
Lorena Passarelli (Biology) are studying the interactions between the lepidopteran insect
Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm) and the baculovirus
Autographa californica nucleopolyhedrovirus. An EST sequencing project in
S. frugiperda has been initiated by these two research groups. Ongoing studies include viral regulation of apoptosis, signal transduction pathways controlling cell motility, and insect anti-viral immunity. In addition,
Larry Buschman and
Kun Yan Zhu are initiating a project on the genomics of the European Corn Borer (Ostrinia nubilalis).