Ke Dong
Professor in Biology

Research in the Dong lab centers on the molecular, neuronal and behavioral bases of insect responses to natural/synthetic neuroactive compounds including insecticides, such as pyrethrum and pyrethroid insecticides. We aim to elucidate the mechanisms of action of neuroactive compounds on insect ion channels and receptors and mechanisms of insect resistance to neuroactive insecticides. We are also interested in understanding the physiological functions of various ion channels and receptors, particularly voltage-gated sodium channels, the DSC1 cation channel and odorant receptors, in Drosophila melanogaster (a genetically tractable model) and Aedes aegypti (a major vector of human diseases, such as yellow fever, Dengue and Zika). We take a combination of molecular genetic, neurophysiological, toxicological and behavioral approaches to evaluate the effects of neuroactive compounds at the molecular, cellular and organismal levels. Our goal is to make fundamental discoveries in insect-chemical interactions that impact practical solutions to control disease vectors (e.g., attract, repel and/or kill) in the global fight against vector-borne human diseases.

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