With funding from the Plant Sciences Institute, the Virus-Insect Interactions group builds on expertise at Iowa State University to address the challenge of plant protection against insects and viruses, and against viruses that harm beneficial insects such as pollinators. We treat viruses as a double-edged sword: some are harmful pathogens of plants and pollinators while others may be exploited for management of insect pests.
VII conducts cutting-edge research on:
- Viruses of insect pests
- Plant and animal viruses that are vectored by insects (primarily aphids and mosquitoes)
- Viruses of beneficial invertebrates including honeybees and shrimp
- Acquire fundamental knowledge of insect-virus interactions ranging from structural biology to field ecology in order to:
- understand how viruses replicate and cause disease, and
- provide predictive tools for insect and virus outbreaks in relation to climate change, or changes in farming practices.
- Translate this knowledge to novel practical approaches that exploit viral strengths and weaknesses for management of viruses and insect pests, and for protection of beneficial organisms.