Rollie J. Clem, Professor


Vanier Chair in Biology

Contact information

268 Chalmers Hall
(785) 532-3172


Ph.D. 1994, University of Georgia.

Area(s) of Specialization

Regulation of apoptosis in insects; arbovirus-mosquito interactions; molecular biology of insect viruses

Research Focus

Our work mainly focuses on the interactions between arboviruses and mosquitoes. We are using the mosquito Aedes aegypti and the arbovirus Sindbis virus to study these interactions. The overall question driving our research is determining why certain mosquitoes are able to serve as vectors of arboviruses, even though most mosquitoes are not. We are particularly interested in the role of apoptosis in antiviral defense, and in determinants of midgut escape by arboviruses. We use molecular and biochemical techniques to investigate these processes. We are also working on creating immortalized cell lines from the European honey bee Apis mellifera, in order to facilitate the study of honey bee pathogens.

View Dr. Clem's complete publication list in NCBI

Selected Publications

Wu, W., Simmons, C.A., Moffitt, J., Clem, R.J., and A.L. Passarelli. 2020. Effects of manipulating fibroblast growth factor expression on Sindbis virus replication in vitro and in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Viruses 12, 943; doi:10.3390/v12090943.

Hodgson, J.J., Wenger, L.W., Clem, R.J., and A.L. Passarelli. 2019. Inhibition of dicer activity in lepidopteran and dipteran cells by baculovirus-mediated expression of Flock House virus B2. Scientific Reports 9:14494. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-50851-4.

Kantor, A.M., Dong, S., Held, N.L., Ishimwe, E., Passarelli, A.L., Clem, R.J., and A.W.E. Franz. 2017. Identification and initial characterization of matrix metalloproteases in the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti . Insect Molecular Biology 26:113-126.

Clem, R.J. 2016. Arboviruses and apoptosis: The role of cell death in determining vector competence. Journal of General Virology 97:1033-1036.

Ardisson-Araujo, D., Clem, R.J., and B.M. Ribeiro. 2015. A betabaculovirus-encoded gp64 homolog is a functional envelope fusion protein. Journal of Virology 90:1668-1672.

Dong, S., Lin, J., Held, N.L., Clem, R.J., Passarelli, A.L., and A.W.E. Franz. 2015. Heritable CRISPR/Cas mediated genome editing in the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti . PLoS One 10(3):e0122353. doi:10/1371/journal.pone.0122353.

Franz, A.W.E., Kantor, A.M., Passarelli, A.L., and R.J. Clem. 2015. Tissue barriers to arbovirus infection in mosquitoes. Viruses 7:3741-3767.

O'Neill, K., Olson, B.J.S.C., Huang, N., Unis, D., and R.J. Clem. 2015. Rapid selection against arbovirus-induced apoptosis during infection of a mosquito vector. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 112:E1152-1161.

Franz, A.W.E., Clem, R.J., and A.L. Passarelli. 2014. Novel genetic and molecular tools for the investigation and control of dengue virus transmission by mosquitoes. Current Tropical Medicine Reports 1:21-31.

Clem, R.J. and A.L. Passarelli. 2013. Baculoviruses: Sophisticated pathogens of insects. PLoS Pathogens 9(11): e1003729. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1003729.

Huang, N., Civciristov, S., Hawkins, C.J., and R.J. Clem. 2013. SfDronc, an initiator caspase involved innapoptosis in the fall armyworm Spodoptera frugiperda . Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 43:444-454.

Liu, B., Behura, S.K., Clem R.J., Schneemann, A., Becnel, J., Severson, D.W., and L. Zhou. 2013. P53-mediated rapid induction of apoptosis conveys resistance to viral infection in Drosophila melanogaster . PLoS Pathogens 9:e1003137. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1003137.

Wu, W., Clem, R.J., Rohrmann, G., and A.L. Passarelli. 2013. The baculovirus sulfhydryl oxidase Ac92 (P33) interacts with the Spodoptera frugiperda P53 protein and oxidizes it in vitro . Virology 447:197-207.

Brand, I.L., Civciristov, S., Taylor, N.L., Talbo, G.H., Pantaki-Eimany, D., Levina, V. Clem, R.J., Perugini, M.A., Kvansakul, M., and C.J. Hawkins. 2012. Caspase inhibitors of the p35 family are more active when purified from yeast than bacteria. PLoS One 7:e39248. doi:10.1371/jounrnal.pone.0039248.

Wang, H., Gort, T., Boyle, D.L., and R.J. Clem. 2012. Effects of manipulating apoptosis on Sindbis virus infection of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Journal of Virology 86:6546-6554.