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Department of Entomology


Graduate Faculty Accepting New Students

Mary Gardiner

The Gardiner Lab studies the ecology of urban greenspaces. Much of our work focuses on the ecological and conservation value of vacant land. This work takes place in Cleveland, Ohio – a city managing more than 27,000 vacant lots created as a result of protracted economic decline, home foreclosure, and population loss. Researchers in the lab examine how the landscape composition and legacy as  well as local plant community and management of vacant lots influences their conservation value for arthropods, studies focused from the tree canopy to soil communities.

Reed Johnson

Insect pollinators are vital for the production of many fruits, nuts and vegetables, including apples, blueberries, almonds, tomatoes and pumpkins.   These crops are also vulnerable to pests and diseases, which are often controlled through the use of pesticides.  However, pesticides may be toxic to insect pollinators, setting up a conflict between the need for pollination and the need for pest and disease control. In our lab we are seeking to understand how to protect pollinators from the pesticides and other toxins they encounter.  The managed European honey bee, Apis mellifera, serves as a model pollinator for toxicological testing.  While the honey bee is the most economically important pollinator in the U.S. and serves as an excellent model species, we are also interested in understanding pesticide toxicity in other pollinating insects as well. The Bee Lab

Ashley Leach

I’m an applied entomologist specializing in the development of Specialty Crop System IPM. I am broadly interested in optimizing agricultural production systems, including understanding the biology and ecology of these systems and the tactics that can improve their efficiency. (In short, I help kill the bugs that kill your food.) I am always looking for new collaborations in agricultural research and extension. 

Kayla Perry

The Perry Lab investigates how disturbances influence the structure and function of insect communities in natural and urban forests. Natural disturbances such as native insects and windstorms are essential components of forest ecosystems, but human-induced disturbances such as exotic species, habitat degradation, and climate change impact forest health and management. To assess the impacts of disturbance, we use insects and their biodiversity as an indicator of forest health. Ongoing research projects in Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania investigate the responses of forest insect communities to disturbance caused by emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis), windstorms, salvage logging, and urbanization. Although we study a variety of insect groups, my taxonomic expertise includes ground- and soil-dwelling arthropod communities, particularly ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae). 


Peter Piermarini

My laboratory investigates the molecular physiology of mosquito vectors with an emphasis on ion transport mechanisms involved with salt and water homeostasis. We also conduct applied research on mosquitoes with an emphasis on the discovery and development of insecticides and/or repellents from natural sources (e.g., plants). 

Keywords:  physiology, toxicology, biochemistry, molecular biology, mosquito

Sarah Short

The Short Lab is broadly interested in understanding the factors that influence variation in susceptibilty to pathogen infection and transmission of infectious disease. We study how insects interact with harmful and helpful microbes and the ecological and evolutionary forces shaping insect immune defense.  As vector biologists, we are also interested in finding ways to use this information to improve our ability to prevent the spread of vector-borne diseases. We primarly study Aedes aegypti, the mosquito vector of dengue and Zika virus.

Jamie Strange

Dr. Jamie Strange has studied bee health and genetics for over 20 years.  The research focus of The Strange Bumble Bee Health and Genetics Lab is to understand how pests, parasites, and pathogens impact bee populations and how population genetic tools can be applied to study changes to bee populations. Current projects include understanding the effects of landscape on bumble bee pathogen and parasite community, the impacts of urbanization on population diversity, and conservation of the Rusty-Patched Bumble Bee, a federally protected species.

Sam Ward

Sam’s research group The LEAFE Lab studies the ecology and management of insects that feed on trees. They work on a variety of topics across multiple spatial and temporal scales, ranging from biological control of ornamental pests to macroscale ecology of invading forest insects. Most projects are aimed at understanding drivers of the arrival, establishment, and spread of non-native insects (invading species and imported biological control agents), with a particular emphasis on mitigating ecological and economic impacts of invaders. Other themes in the lab include the spatial ecology of arthropods, tree and insect responses to climate change, and ecoinformatics.

Shaohui Wu

My lab is looking for highly motivated M.S. and Ph.D. students who are interested in lab and field research on Turfgrass Health, particularly addressing pest/disease problems in commercial turf (such as golf courses). Research options may include integrated pest/disease management, insecticide/fungicide resistance, microbial control with biopesticides (entomopathogenic nematodes, fungi, bacteria, or viruses) and the interaction with chemical pesticides, development of novel control tactics, and non-target effects on natural enemies and pollinators. In addition to research, the students will have opportunities to participate in extension activities to gain experience for professional development.