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Molecular Basis of Insect Olfaction
& Chemical Ecology
Repellents

Welcome to the research page of the Leal Lab in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, College of Biological Sciences, at the University of California-Davis. We are interested in the molecular basis of insect olfaction, insect chemical communication, and chemical ecology. Current research projects are aimed at identification of pheromones, oviposition attractants, kairomones, and insect repellents, de-orphanization of odorant receptors, elucidation of the role(s) of odorant-binding proteins, and odorant-degrading enzymes.
Walter Leal
PI: Walter S. Leal, Ph.D, FRES (wsleal@ucdavis.edu)

Research
Research activities in the Leal lab are aimed at unraveling the molecular mechanisms that make the olfactory system of insects so sensitive and selective. We are particularly interested in elucidating the roles of odorant-binding proteins, odorant receptors, and odorant-degrading enzymes. Albeit fundamental in nature, our research has short, medium, and long-term societal benefits. Insects are extremely successful animals whose lives intertwine with ours. They may be vegetarian and harmful to our food supply as well as vectors of pathogens that inflict tremendous suffering and human loses. Thus, a better understanding of the molecular basis of insect olfaction may facilitate the design of eco-friendly chemicals to controls insects of medical and agricultural importance.

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Other than external collaborators, who should be credited for the work?

Pingxi
Dr. Pingxi Xu, Project Scientist (xupingxi@gmail.com)

Young-Moo
Dr. Young-Moo Choo, Postdoctoral Scholar (ychoo@ucdavis.edu)

Nik
Dr. Nik Nikbakht, Project Scientist (niknikbakht@ucdavis.edu)

Jan
Jan Maly, Graduate Student (jmaly@ucdavis.edu)
Biophysics Graduate Group

Jiankunk
Jiankun Yi, Visiting Researcher (jkyi@UCDAVIS.EDU)

Garrison
Garrison Buss, Undergraduate Student (gkbuss@ucdavis.edu)

Garrison
Kai Ming Tan, Undergraduate Student (ktan@ucdavis.edu)

Thao
Thao Tram, Undergraduate Student (tmhtran@ucdavis.edu)

Gabriel
Gabriel M. Leal, High School Student (gleal12@gmail.com)


Distance Graduate Students (Co-Advising, Ph.D. Students)
Graduate Program in Biochemistry, Institute of Chemistry Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, UFRJ)

Major Professor: Dr. Ana Claudia A. Melo (anamelo@iq.ufrj.br)

Thiago
Thiago Andrade Franco (thiago.biovr@gmail.com)

Daniele
Daniele Silva de Oliveira (dani_silva_1@hotmail.com)

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Recent Publications

PNAS
Mosquito odorant receptor for DEET and methyl jasmonate
DEET-Hand

Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Silencing the odorant receptor co-receptor RproOrco affects the physiology and behavior of the Chagas disease vector Rhodnius prolixus
Rhodnius

Current Opinion in Insect Science
The enigmatic reception of DEET - the gold standard of insect repellents
Repellents

American Entomologist
Deciphering the Rosetta Stone of Insect Chemical Communication
Rosetta Stone

Journal of Insect Science
Specificity of the receptor for the major sex pheromone component in Heliothis virescens
Receptor Specificity

F1000Research
Binding of a fluorescence reporter and a ligand to an odorant-binding protein of the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti
AaegOBP1

Frontiers in Physiology
Selectivity of odorant-binding proteins from the southern house mosquito tested against physiologically relevant ligands
CquiOBP1+3ligands

F1000Research
1-Octen-3-ol the attractant that repels
Mosquitoes repelled by 1-Octen-3-ol


OPINION

Current Opinion in Insect Science
The enigmatic reception of DEET - the gold standard of insect repellents
Repellents

PNAS
Snapshot of insect-fungus arms race

See Complete Bibliography
in Google Scholar
in NCBI
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Research Activities in our Lab are Sponsored by:

National Institutes of Health-NIH
Gifts from Various Donors, including
Bedoukian Research Incorporation
Fuji Flavor Co.

Address

Walter S. Leal
1107 Surge I
UC Davis / MCB

Phone: +1-530-752-7755
wsleal@ucdavis.edu

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Site maintained by Walter S. Leal wsleal@ucdavis.edu.
Design was adapted from http://entomology.ucdavis.edu/ (by namnguyen@ucdavis.edu)
Last Updated: 7/6/15