The Chemical Ecology Lab, home of the Huck Institutes for Life Sciences Chemical Ecology Program, is located on Orchard Road, northeast of main campus. The Chemical Ecology Lab currently houses office and laboratory facilities for faculty members, several postdocs, graduate students, and staff. Recently, the building was remodeled and a state-of-the-art greenhouse was added to the east side of the building. Additional greenhouse facilities and the Gypsy Moth Research Center are also located in this area.

Dr. Tom Baker focuses his research on insect pheromones and odor-mediated behavior, neuroethological studies of olfaction, identification and development of insect attractants for IPM systems, and development of olfaction-based biosensors.

Dr. Jim Tumlinson is involved in research as a chemist interested in biological and agricultural systems and has studied chemicals that affect insect behavior. Emphasis is on developing fundamental knowledge and principles that can be applied in environmentally safe pest management programs.

Dr. Erika Machtinger's work is an interdisciplinary combination of population and chemical ecology, behavior studies, parasitoid-host interactions, biological control, molecular biology, and more recently, toxicology and wildlife biology. I have integrated field and laboratory work to improve the understanding of the use of biological control for pests that transmit pathogens that cause disease. I have a continuing desire to address arthropod issues that concern public and animal health and well-being by using both practical and novel approaches.

Dr. Rose Zhu's primary emphasis of research is to understand the mechanisms and evolution of insects' adaptation to chemical stresses in their environment. Insects are the most evolutionarily successful metazoans on the Earth. The remarkable success of insects is largely due to their adaptive capabilities in coping with numerous stresses. The radiation of insects into diverse ecological niches has enhanced their risk to be exposed to toxic or otherwise life-threatening conditions. In their natural environment, insects have to face extensive chemical pressure from their hosts, predators, parasitoids, competitors, and many other abiotic factors such as pesticides. The long-term goals of her research is discovering new theories of insect chemical adaptation, along with developing innovative techniques and strategies for precision pest management and beneficial species conservation. Her research uses integrative approaches from molecular and evolutionary biology, functional genomics, behavior, bioinformatics, protein chemistry, and structural biology.

The Center for Chemical Ecology

In 2005, Penn State researchers and facilities united as a center of excellence to promote collaborative research and graduate education in chemical and molecular ecology. The Penn State Center for Chemical Ecology (CCE) brings together researchers in complementary disciplines (biology, crop and soil sciences, entomology, horticulture, forestry, plant pathology, biochemistry and molecular biology) to explore the role chemistry plays in predator–prey, parasite–host, herbivore–plant, virus–vector, and intraspecific interactions. The center offers education and training to graduate students and postdoctoral scholars through PSU courses, international short courses, and seminars by chemical ecology experts. Dr. Jim Tumlinson is the Director of the center.

Department of Entomology


501 ASI Building
University Park, PA 16802