The "biorational" approach to insect control involves the development of specific chemicals that interfere with biochemical and physiological processes unique to insects. The goal of our research is to gain an understanding of basic biochemical processes that are unique to insects such that these processes can be exploited for insect control. Toward this end, projects in my laboratory use molecular and biochemical approaches to gain an understanding of the production and endocrine regulation of sex pheromones in the common housefly, the cotton boll weevil and bark beetles.
Other work involves determining the mechanisms of enzymes involved in cuticular lipid formation and studying comparative aspects of fatty acid biochemistry in insects. Bark beetles are extremely destructive forest pests, and we are investigating the processes of how they form their monterpenoid aggregation pheromones. In another project, we have demonstrated that a number of invertebrates can synthesize linoleic acid, which was previously thought to be an essential fatty acid for all animals, and are currently studying the gene for this and other desaturases. The long term goal of this research is to gain the necessary basic information such that environmentally compatible insect control techniques can be developed.
B.S. 1969 University of Wisconsin - La Crosse
Ph.D. 1973 Montana State University