At Animal Ecology I until 12/2015
My research interest focuses on the physiology of insects, especially to the digestion and the regulation of digestive enzyme release in the midgut of insects.
Insects represent the most diverse and abundant group of animals on earth, and they have a collectively huge ecological and economic impact. A lot of insect species are vectors of several diseases or are classified as pest insects, causing enormous damage in agriculture or food storage.
Various strategies using plant inhibitors, insect growth regulators, transgenic plants and other ecological friendly pesticides have been tested to control the development and reproduction of pest insects, but there are still a lot of questions about the fast adaptation of insects to environmental changes, and the physiology and evolution of the mechanisms of adaptation.
My current research focuses on:
(1) the regulation of digestive enzyme release with special regard to the effect of endogenous factors (age, sex, developmental stage) and exogenous factors (temperature, light-dark rhythm, food quality and quantity)
(2) the role of neuropeptides (allatostatins, sulfakinins) associated in feeding behaviour and digestive enzyme release
(3) the adaptation of insects to plant proteinase inhibitors
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