- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
So wrote scientists Karen Menuz and Pratyajit Mohapatra in research titled "Molecular Profiling of the Drosophila Antenna Reveals Conserved Genes Underlying Olfaction in Insects," published last fall in the journal G-3 (Genes, Genomics, Genetics). "Currently, little is known about the molecules supporting odor signaling beyond the odor receptors themselves."
The research drew widespread interest. Now Menuz, an assistant professor in the Department of Physiology and Neurobiology, University of Connecticut, will head to the University of California, Davis, next week to present a seminar to the Department of Entomology and Nematology.
Menuz will speak on "Molecular Basis of Insect Olfaction" at 4:10 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 8 in 122 Briggs Hall. Host is chemical ecologist Walter Leal, distinguished professor, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, and a former chair of the entomology department.
Her abstract: "Development of new insect control measures will require the discovery of novel molecular targets that can alter their olfactory capabilities. The past two decades have witnessed an explosion of research on the two insect odor receptor families, but nearly all odor receptors are poorly conserved. Therefore, my research focuses on molecules that are likely to play critical roles in olfaction in distantly related insect species. Recently, we have found that Amt/Rh ammonia transporters are essential for the sensing of ammonia, an odor released by humans and attractive to insect vectors of disease and other insects. These transporters are highly conserved and are expressed in the antennal transcriptomes of all insect species examined. To identify additional genes that may contribute to olfaction in the periphery, we carried out a computational screen in Drosophila to reveal genes whose expression in the antenna is greatly enriched compared to other tissues. Importantly, we found that most orthologs of the olfaction-candidate genes are expressed in the antennae of other species, including mosquitoes, ants, bees, and beetles. These candidates will provide a foundation for future studies investigating conserved mechanisms of odor signaling."
Menuz holds a bachelor's degree in genetics, cellular and developmental biology and a bachelor's degree in biophysical chemistry, magna cum laude, from Dartmouth College (1999), Hanover, N.H. She received her doctorate in neuroscience from the University of California, San Francisco, in 2007, working with advisor Roger Nicoll. Her thesis:"In Vivo Regulation of AMPA receptors by Their TARP Auxiliary Subunits."
Community ecologist Rachel Vannette, assistant professor, is coordinating the department's seminars. All seminars begin at 4:10 p.m. on Wednesday in 122 Briggs Hall.
Other seminar speakers scheduled for the month of January include:
Wednesday, Jan. 15
Corrie Moreau, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.
Topic: "Piecing Together the Puzzle to Understand the Evolution of the Ants"
Host: Marshall McMunn, graduate student
Wednesday, Jan. 22
Sebastian Eves-van den Akker, University of Cambridge, UK
Topic: Nematology (to be announced)
Host: Shahid Siddique, assistant professor
Wednesday, Jan. 29
Elizabeth Crone, Tufts University, Medford, Mass.
Topic: Plant-insect interactions (to be announced)
Hosts: Neal Williams, professor; Rachel Vannette, assistant professor
- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Medical entomologist Geoffrey Attardo, assistant professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, has compiled a great line-up of speakers for the winter quarter. The Wednesday seminars, to begin Jan. 9 and continue through March 13, will take place from from 4:10 to 5 p.m. in 122 Briggs Hall. They are open to all interested person. Some seminars will be recorded for later posting.
First up on Jan. 9 is Brian Gress, a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of integrated pest management specialist Frank Zalom, distinguished professor of entomology in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and a past president of the 7000-member Entomological Association of America. Gress will discuss the fruit fly, Drosophila suzukii: its host selection and resistance evolution.
The spotted-wing drosophila, a major agricultural pest, damages fruit in many California counties, according to the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Program (UC IPM). First discovered here in 2008, "it infests ripening cherries throughout the state and ripening raspberry, blackberry, blueberry, and strawberry crops, especially in coastal areas. It also has been observed occasionally attacking other soft-flesh fruit such as plums, plumcots, nectarines, and figs when conditions are right."
The adults are about 1/16 to 1/8 inch long with red eyes and a pale brown thorax and abdomen with black stripes on the abdomen, UC IPM says on its website. The males have a black spot toward the top of each wing. The females have not spots. They have "a very prominent, sawlike ovipositor for laying eggs in fruit."
The seminars, as of today, Dec. 20:
Wednesday, Jan. 9
Brian Gress, postdoctoral fellow in the Frank Zalom lab, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
Title: "Host Selection and Resistance Evolution in Drosophila suzukii"
Host: Frank Zalom, distinguished professor of entomology, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
Wednesday, Jan. 16
Sarah Stellwagen, postdoctoral researcher, University of Maryland
Title: “Toward Spider Glue: From Material Properties to Sequencing the Longest Silk Family Gene”
Hosts: Hanna Kahl, doctoral student in the Jay Rosenheim lab, and Jason Bond, Evert and Marion Schlinger Endowed Chair in Insect Systematics, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
Wednesday, Jan. 23
Wednesday, Jan. 30:
Laura Burkle, assistant professor of ecology, Montana State University, Bozeman
Topic: Wild bees, interactions with flowers
Hosts: Pollination ecologist Neal Williams, professor of entomology, and Maureen Page, doctoral student in the Williams lab, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
Wednesday, Feb. 6
Alan Hastings, theoretical ecologist and distinguished professor, UC Davis Department of Environmental Science and Policy
Title: "Stochasticity and Spatial Population Dynamics"
Host: Hanna Kahl, doctoral student in the Jay Rosenheim lab, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
Wednesday, Feb. 13
Antoine Abrieux, postdoctoral fellow, Joanna Chiu lab, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
Title: "Understanding the Molecular Mechanisms underlying Photoperiodic Time Measurement in Drosophila melanogaster"
Host: Joanna Chiu, associate professor and vice chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
Wednesday, Feb. 20:
Alexander Raikhel, distinguished professor, UC Riverside
Title: "The Role of Hormone Receptors and MicroRNAs in Mosquito Reproduction and Metabolism"
Host: Geoffrey Attardo, assistant professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematolgoy
Wednesday, Feb. 27:
Lauren Esposito, faculty member, San Francisco State University, and assistant curator and Schlinger Chair of Arachnology at the California Academy of Sciences
Title: "Evolution of New World Scorpions and Their Venom"
Host: Jason Bond, Evert and Marion Schlinger Endowed Chair in Insect Systematics, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
Wednesday, March 6:
Monika Gulia-Nuss, assistant professor, biochemistry and molecular biology, University of Nevada, Reno
Topic: DNA Methylation in Ticks
Host: Geoffrey Attardo, assistant professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
Wednesday, March 13:
Spring Break: March 20-27
For further information on the seminars, contact Geoffrey Attardo at firstname.lastname@example.org./span>