Dr. Kelli Hoover

Associate Professor of Entomology


More on Kelli ...


I am interested in interactions between microbes and insects, be they pathogenic or symbiotic, using primarily invasive species as subjects for these studies. In my lab we explore microbial communities that live in the gut of the Asian longhorned beetle. We are using metagenomics, transcriptomics, and proteomics to understand the roles of the gut community and the beetle itself in lignocellulose digestion and protein acquisition. I also study host-pathogen interactions between a virus and the gypsy moth, including mechanisms the insect uses to fight off the infection and viral genes that attempt to overcome these host immune responses. I have been exploring host plant influences on the ability of viruses to infect noctuids for several years, and I am just beginning a project on biological control of hemlock woolly adelgid using a small predatory beetle imported from China. I teach an undergraduate general education course called "The Insect Connection" and team teach a graduate course "Frontiers in Insect Science." I also supervise graduate students who teach a half-semester lab course on Management of Insect Pests of Ornamentals.

Scholars and Graduate Students

Maya Nehme

Postdoctoral Scientist

Maya studies phermones of the Asian longhorned beetle and is working on development of a trapping program for this invasive species.

Erin Scully

Ph.D. Student, Entomology/Genetics

Currently, I am researching the complex relationship among the Asian Longhorned Beetle, its gut microbial symbionts, and its host trees. We have been investigating the potential involvement of ALB gut microbiota in the process of lignin degradation using metagenomic and metatranscriptomic approaches. In addition, we are also interested in delineating the mechanism of host plant resistance at the genetic level by exploring the effects of resistant and susceptible host trees on gut microbial community composition, gene expression, and gut enzymology. Using two closely related poplar species, one of which is recalcitrant to ALB infestation, while the other is susceptible, we will compare levels of secondary plant metabolites (specifically phenolic glycosides) in two tree species (Populus tomentosa and P. nigra). Furthermore, we will determine if these plant defensive compounds act through impacts on the gut microbial community and its transcriptome, or if resistance acts directly on the beetle itself.

I will begin researching the mechanisms of host plant resistance as a PhD student through the Intercollege Program in Genetics in August 2009. Ultimately, I hope to pursue a career as a research scientist in an industrial setting.

Education: M.S. in Biology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Paul Ayayee

Ph.D. student in Entomology

Research: Paul is studying nitrogen fixation by the gut symbionts of the Asian longhorned beetle

Education: M.S. in Entomology from University of Kentucky, Lexington

Undergraduate (Research) students