B.A., Queens College, City University of New York
M.S., University of California Riverside
Ph.D., University of California Riverside
BIOL 321 - EvolutionBIOL 202 - Biology of PopulationsBIOL 421/422 - Genetics & Genetics Lab
Research and Teaching Interests
Insecticide resistance is a serious obstacle to the effective control of insect vectors of disease. While resistance has long been recognized as an evolutionary phenomenon, we know relatively little about the genetic and population processes which influence the dynamics of genes for resistance in populations.
In the mosquito Culex quinquefasciatus, resistance to organophosphate insecticides is associated with a highly active esterase allozyme, designated EST-B1. The molecular basis of high esterase activity in resistant individuals is high esterase enzyme titer, due to amplification (increase in copy number) of the EST-B1 gene. Individuals from a highly resistant strain can carry 250 times the number of EST-B1 gene copies, and exhibit 120 times the esterase activity of susceptible individuals.
The overall objective of my current research is to understand the genetic processes and evolutionary forces influencing the dynamics of amplified EST-B1 genes in populations. Under funding from the National Institutes of Health we are investigating how genetic processes interact with insecticidal selection to produce individuals with high esterase activity, the stability properties of these high activity phenotypes, and how esterase activity phenotype affects reproductive fitness in the presence and absence of insecticide. The long-term goal of my work is to provide the information necessary to design vector control strategies which minimize the rate of evolution of resistance.