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Molecular Responses to Xenobiotics

Our laboratory program has projects dealing with:

1)  The molecular mechanisms of how insects respond to and evolve resistance to pesticides.  We have worked on this topic using a variety of model species and pest insect systems.

2)  We are also interested in the impact that sub-toxic doses of pesticides and other xenobiotics have on induction of detoxification systems.

3)  We also study the molecular mechanisms by which insects respond to sub-toxic doses of dietary doses of plant materials, that also impact humans, including protease inhibitors (e.g., Bowman-Birk inhibitors) and lectins (e.g., wheat germ agglutinin).  We are using proteomic, genomic, and metabolomic approaches to understand the system-wide responses of organisms to these challenges (in collaboration with groups Carnegie Mellon University, Texas A&M University, Purdue University, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, University of Florida, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis, and the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology).  Additional work includes potential transcription factor binding motif (TFBM) analyses to determine potential regulatory pathways associated with these responses (in collaboration with groups at Purdue University and Carnegie Mellon University).  Our long-term interest is to bring these approaches together, using a systems biology approach, in order to gain a better understanding of how insects respond to plant defensive molecules.