Dr. Jurenka's research interest and teaching expertise is in the area of insect physiology. He is specifically interested in the physiological and biochemical mode of action of peptide hormones especially the neuroendocrine control of sex pheromone biosynthesis in moths. Studies in this area include site of synthesis of peptide hormones utilizing immunocytochemical techniques, control of peptide release from neurohemal areas, and the mode of action at target tissue, including determination of the signal transduction cascade and receptor characterization.
His research also focuses on lipid metabolism, especially the characterization of enzymes involved in sex pheromone biosynthetic pathways and the biosynthesis of polyunsaturated fatty acids and prostaglandins in various insects. The knowledge gained in these types of studies is applied to the development of novel biorational control strategies for insect pests.
Representative Recent Publications:
Hellmich, E, Nusawardani, T, Bartholomay, L and Jurenka, R (2014) Pyrokinin/PBAN-like peptides in the central nervous system of mosquitoes. Cell and Tissue Research 356: 39-47.
Nusawardani, T, Kroemer, JA, Choi, M-Y and Jurenka, RA (2013) Identification and characterization of the pyrokinin/ pheromone biosynthesis activating neuropeptide family of G protein-coupled receptors from Ostrinia nubilalis. Insect Mol Biol 22: 331–340.
Jurenka, R and Nusawardani, T (2011) The pyrokinin/ pheromone biosynthesis-activating neuropeptide (PBAN) family of peptides and their receptors in Insecta: evolutionary trace indicates potential receptor ligand-binding domains. Insect Mol Biol 20: 323-334.
Jurenka, R and Rafaeli, A (2011) Regulatory role of PBAN in sex pheromone biosynthesis of heliothine moths. Frontiers in Endocrinology 2: 46.
Choi, M-Y and Jurenka, RA (2010) Site-directed mutagenesis and PBAN activation of the Helicoverpa zea PBAN-receptor. FEBS Lett 584: 1212-1216.
Graduate Student position:
The lab is currently recuiting a graduate student to conduct research in the area of Chemical Ecology at Iowa State University. The successful Ph.D. or M.S. student applicant will have the opportunity to conduct research on two projects. One thesis project involves pheromone biosynthesis in moths and the other project involves studying the chemical ecology of feeding behaviors in bees and beetles. To apply send me an email that includes a statement of research interests, a CV, non-official academic transcripts, and names of three references.