Gary W. Felton, Ph.D.

Gary W. Felton, Ph.D.

  • Professor and Department Head of Entomology
501 Ag Sciences & Industries Building
University Park, PA 16802


  • B.S., University of California, Irvine, 1975
  • M.S., University of Kentucky, 1983
  • Ph.D., University of California, Davis, 1988

Lab Website

Current Graduate Students

Adam Damon
Po-An Lin
Gabriela Ponce
Liu Zhang

Postdoctoral Scholars

Anne Jones
Charles Mason

Research Support Assistant (Lab Manager)

Michelle Peiffer


Donglan Tian, PhD August 2012, currently a Research Scientist at Bayer Crop Science, Davis, CA
Jinwon Kim, PhD December 2012, currently a Postdoctoral Scholar at Université de Neuchâtel, Switzerland

Department Focus Areas

Chemical ecology


Chemical ecology; Insect-plant interactions; induced plant defenses, plant perception of herbivores

Research Programs and Interests

My research program uses molecular, proteomic and physiological approaches to investigate insect-plant interactions. My main interests are investigating the counter measures herbivores use in overcoming host plant defenses. Particular interest is on the role of herbivore salivary signals in suppressing the induced defenses of host plants.

The role of saliva of blood feeding arthropods in suppressing the defenses of their vertebrate hosts has been comparatively well studied; however, very little is known about how the saliva of herbivores may interfere with plant defensive responses. Our projects focus primarily on the saliva of caterpillars. Recent findings indicate that saliva is enriched with an array of molecules that function in defense against microbial infection, digestion of plant tissues, and in suppressing induced defenses of plants. We employ a variety of surgical and genetic approaches (e.g., RNA interference) to examine function(s) of saliva.

Full list of Publications at Google Scholar