Rob Denell, University Distinguished Professor


Director, Johnson Cancer Research Center

Contact information

36D Chalmers Hall
(785) 532-6705


Ph.D. 1969, University of Texas-Austin. Developmental Genetics.

Area(s) of Specialization

Genetic, developmental and molecular studies of insects.

Research Focus

As part of a local collaboration, we have been working to establish the red flour beetle as an important invertebrate model system for genetic and molecular studies. My research program focuses on using this beetle for comparative studies of the genetic control of developmental processes, in part to better understand how genetic changes led to morphological evolution. Current emphasis is on the genetic regulation of antennal development.


Shippy, T.S., M. Ronshaugen, J. Cande, J. He, R.W. Beeman, M. Levine, S.J. Brown, and R.E. Denell. 2008. Analysis of the Tribolium homeotic complex: insights into mechanisms constraining insect Hox clusters. Development, Genes & Evolution 218: 127-139.

Shippy, T.S., Y. Tomoyasu, W. Nie, S.J. Brown, and R.E. Denell. 2008. Do teashirt family genes specify trunk identity?: Insights from the single tiptop/teashirt homolog of Tribolium castaneum. Development, Genes & Evolution 218: 141-152.

Tribolium Genome Sequencing Consortium. 2008. The genome of the developmental model beetle and pest Tribolium castaneum. Nature 452: 949-955.

Lorenzen, M.D., T. Kimzey, T.D. Shippy, S.J. Brown, R.E. Denell, and R.W. Beeman. 2007. piggyBac-based insertional mutagenesis in Tribolium castaneum using donor/helper hybrids. Insect Molecular Biology 16:265-75.

Shippy T.D., C.D. Rogers, R.W. Beeman, S. J. Brown, and R.E. Denell. 2006. The Tribolium castaneum Ortholog of Sex combs reduced Controls Dorsal Ridge Development. Genetics 174: 297-307.

Tomoyasu, Y., S.R. Wheeler, and R.E. Denell. 2005. Ultrabithorax is required for membraneous wing identity in the beetle Tribolium castaneum. Nature 433: 643-647.

Tomoyasu, Y. and R.E. Denell. 2004. Larval RNAi in Tribolium (Coleoptera) for analyzing adult development. Dev. Genes Evol. 214: 575-578.

View the complete publication list in NCBI