Molecular Basis of Insect Olfaction
& Chemical Ecology
Mosquito Attractants

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.

Walter Leal
Principal Investigator
Walter S. Leal, Ph.D, Hon. FRES, FNAI
(wsleal at ucdavis.edu)

Founders' Memorial
Watch the 2019 Founders' Memorial Lecture to honor Tom Eisner

Some members of the Leal Lab

Leal stands with members of the Leal Lab (from left to right): James Lu, NIH-supported Junior Specialist; Flavia Franco, FAPESP Visiting Scholar; Su Liu, China Scholarship Council (CSC) Visiting Scholar; Linya Zhang, CSC Visiting Scholar; , Walter Leal; Tiantao Zhang, CSC Visiting Scholar; and Pingxi Xu, NIH-supported Project Scientist. Photo: David Slipher/UC Davis


Our laboratory is interested in understanding how insects perceive the world through the sense of smell. Insect prominence among other animals is due in large part to a sophisticated olfactory system, which can selectively detect minute amounts of odorants. We aimed at unraveling the molecular mechanisms underpinning selectivity and sensitivity. Our goal is not only to advance our understanding of fundamental biology, but also to exploit the molecular basis of insect chemical communication for the development of environmentally friendly strategies for monitoring, controlling, and surveillance of insect vectors. One of the main objectives is to “identify approaches that will help control or prevent the transmission of vector-borne pathogens to humans.” This goal is in line with the mission of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) – the major sponsor of our research program. We focus mainly on the Southern house mosquito, Culex quinquefasciatus, which vectors pathogens causing filariasis, West Nile, St. Louis encephalitis, Western equine encephalitis, and Rift Valley fever. We use a multi-disciplinary approach that includes bioinformatics, molecular methods, RNAi & CRISPR/Cas9 silencing, sensory physiology techniques, and behavioral measurements. Ultimately, we test in the field newly developed oviposition attractants, repellents, and insect trapping systems.
Click here for more information




in Google Scholar

Current Laboratory Members & Students who Authored these Publications

Dr. Pingxi Xu

Dr. Young-Moo Choo

Arodi Prado

Graduate Student, USP-ESALQ

Candice Zheng

Thiago A. Franco

Visiting Researcher & Graduate Student, UFRJ

Dr. Flavia P. Franco

Raquel Lima e Silva

Dr. Su Liu

Dr. Linya Zhang

Xiaolan Wen

Dr. Tiantao Zhang

Xiang Meng

Fangfang Zeng

Daniele S. Oliveira

Graduate Student, UFRJ

Gabriel Faierstein

Graduate Student, IAM-FIOCRUZ/PE

Kaiming Tan

WeiYu (James) Lu

Suzane Alves

Graduate Student, IAM-FIOCRUZ/PE

Justin K. Hwang

Helena M. Leal


Research Activities in our Lab are Sponsored by:

National Institutes of Health-NIH
Research Agreement with FUNDECITRUS
Gifts from Various Donors, including
Bedoukian Research Incorporation

Walter S. Leal
1107 Surge I, The Grove
UC Davis/MCB
Phone: +1-530-752-7755
Email: wsleal at ucdavis.edu


Site maintained by Walter S. Leal
Design was adapted from http://entomology.ucdavis.edu/
Last Updated: 12/12/19