Maureen Gorman, Ph.D.
Research Associate Professor

Image of Maureen Gorman, Ph.D.

Contact information

Office: 64 Chalmers Hall
Fax: 785-532-7278
Lab website




B.S. 1984, University of Notre Dame
M.S. 1987, Iowa State University
Ph.D. 1990, Iowa State University

Areas of specialty

  • Insect biochemistry, molecular biology and genetics
  • Mechanisms of iron metabolism in insects
  • Function of insect multicopper oxidases
  • Insect innate immunity

Iron metabolism is a vital biological process in all eukaryotic organisms, but the mechanisms of iron metabolism in insects are poorly understood. Our research is focused on iron transport and the relationship between iron metabolism and innate immunity in insects. We use a combination of genetics, molecular biology, and biochemistry methods to study iron metabolism in Drosophila melanogaster (fruit fly) and Manduca sexta (tobacco hornworm). Our current research is focused on transferrin and ferritin, two iron-binding proteins in insect blood, and on two ferric reductases that are located in insect cell membranes. One potential long term outcome of this research program is a better understanding of how to manage beneficial and destructive insects.

Selected publications

Gorman, M.J. (2023) Iron homeostasis in insects. Annual Review of Entomology 68: 51-67. Epub ahead of print.

Weber, J.J., Brummett, L.M., Coca, M.E., Tabunoki, H., Kanost, M.R., Ragan, E.J., Park, Y., and Gorman, M.J. (2022) Phenotypic analyses, protein localization, and bacteriostatic activity of Drosophila melanogaster transferrin-1. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 147: 103811. doi: 10.1016/j.ibmb.2022.103811.

Weber, J.J., Kashipathy, M.M., Battaile, K.P., Go, E., Desaire, H., Kanost, M.R., Lovell, S., and Gorman, M.J. (2020) Structural insight into the novel iron-coordination and domain interactions of transferrin-1 from a model insect, Manduca sexta. Protein Science, Nov 16. doi: 10.1002/pro.3999.

Weber, J.J., Kanost M.R., and Gorman, M.J. (2020) Iron binding and release properties of transferrin-1 from Drosophila melanogaster and Manduca sexta: implications for insect iron homeostasis. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 125: 103438. doi: 10.1016/j.ibmb.2020.103438.

Najera, D.G, Dittmer, N.T., Weber, J.J., Kanost, M.R., and Gorman, M.J. (2020) Phylogenetic and sequence analyses of insect transferrins suggest that only transferrin 1 has a role in iron homeostasis. Insect Science, Mar 31;. doi: 10.1111/1744-7917.12783.

Brummett, L.M., Kanost, M.R., and Gorman, M.J. (2017) The immune properties of Manduca sexta transferrin. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 81: 1-9.

Peng, Z., Dittmer N.T., Lang, M., Brummett, L.M., Braun, C.L., Davis, L.C., Kanost, M.R., and Gorman, M.J. (2015) Multicopper oxidase-1 orthologs from diverse insect species have ascorbate oxidase activity. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 59: 58-71.

Peng, Z., Green, P.G., Arakane, Y., Kanost, M.R., and Gorman, M.J. (2014) A multicopper oxidase-related protein is essential for insect viability, longevity and ovary development. PloS ONE 9: e111344.

Lang, M., Braun, C.L., Kanost, M.R., and Gorman, M.J. (2012) Multicopper oxidase-1 is a ferroxidase essential for iron homeostasis in Drosophila melanogaster. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA doi: 10.1073/pnas.1208703109.

Lang, M., Kanost, M.R., and Gorman, M.J. (2012) Multicopper oxidase-3 is a laccase associated with the peritrophic matrix of Anopheles gambiae. PLoS One 7: e33985.

Gorman, M.J., Sullivan, L.I., Nguyen, T.D.T., Dai, H., Arakane, Y., Dittmer, N.T., Syed, L.U., Li, J., Hua, D.H., and Kanost, M.R. (2012) Kinetic properties of alternatively spliced isoforms of laccase-2 from Tribolium castaneum and Anopheles gambiae. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 42: 193-202.

Gorman, M.J., and Arakane, Y. (2010) Tyrosine hydroxylase is required for cuticle sclerotization and pigmentation in Tribolium castaneum. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 40: 267-273.

Complete Publications List