Using the Parasites of Insects to Understand How Pathogens Respond to Changing Environments
In his research as an entomologist, Raymond St. Leger, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Entomology at the University of Maryland, has a specific interest in using the fungal parasites of insects as models for understanding how pathogens respond to changing environments, initiate host invasion, colonize tissues, and counter host immune responses.
“The aim is to use these results as a source of innovation for agricultural, medical and pharmaceutical industries,” says Raymond. “Recent studies have employed these fungi as a vehicle to carry genes encoding spider and scorpion toxins into the mosquitoes that vector malaria. These investigations have also used highly accurate genome sequences to address the mechanisms by which new pathogens emerge with different host ranges,” he adds.
The identification and characterization of biologically active fungal products, which are often specific to particular biochemical/organ systems in the insect, has provided a vast resource of genes which his research team and collaborators are employing to develop new medicines, he explains.
Raymond received his Ph.D. and completed his post-doctoral studies in Crop Protection at the University of Bath, Avon, United Kingdom; his Masters of Science in Entomology at University of London (United Kingdom), and his Bachelors of Science in (with Honors) in Biology at Exeter University, U.K.
For more information, please visit http://entomology.umd.edu/st-leger-raymond-j.html