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Marten Edwards - Muhlenberg College. Allentown, PA, US

Marten Edwards

Professor of Biology | Muhlenberg College

Allentown, PA, United-States

Edwards researches the molecular interface between mosquitoes and pathogens that cause human diseases.





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In his lab, Edwards researches the molecular interface between mosquitoes and pathogens that cause human diseases. Using molecular techniques, he is introducing foreign genes into the mosquito genome with the aim of blocking the transmission of LaCrosse Virus, the leading cause of viral pediatric encephalitis in the United States. Antiviral genes have been spliced into a “jumping gene” called PiggyBac, which is capable of inserting itself into mosquito chromosomes. His students gain experience in several recombinant DNA techniques, DNA sequencing and PCR, while being personally involved in a cutting-edge research funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Areas of Expertise (8)

Entymology Insects Insect Viruses Lyme Disease West Nile Virus Insect/Tick Bourne Diseases Bed Bugs Cicadas

Education (3)

Case Western Reserve University: Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Genetics

University of Arizona NIH: Ph.D., Entomology

Reed College: B.A., Biology

Media Appearances (3)

Kissing bug chaos may be overblown in Pennsylvania

WFMZ-TV  online


“There are 11 different kinds of kissing bugs but in Pennsylvania, not common," said Marten Edwards. Edwards would know. As an entomologist at Muhlenberg College, bugs are his business. He says before you pucker up, listen up as you'll probably be stood up on your date with that kissing bug. "There has never been documented case of getting Chagas disease in Pennsylvania from a kissing bug," Edwards said.

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Gnat invasion bugging many residents

WFMZ-TV  online


Muhlenberg College Associate Professor of Biology Marten Edwards said he's never seen so many gnats in the area and he has lived here for 12 years. He explained more gnats are buzzing around this year because of state budget cuts. "We are getting so many gnats because generally the state controls them with the black fly suppression program, but things are tough and budgets have been cut and so it's been difficult for them to keep up with the demand," said Edwards. He says gnats are not the same as fruit flies. They can bite, but they don't carry diseases. There's actually a plus side that so many are flying around the area.

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Zika virus poses little threat to Lehigh Valley residents

WFMZ-TV  online


"The type of mosquito that can transmit the virus we don't have here in the Lehigh Valley," said entomologist Marten Edwards. Edwards adds the Aedes mosquito, which transmits the virus, is only found in tropical and subtropical climates. "They love people, so they are very cosmopolitan people loving mosquito. But they really need year round warm temperatures," Edwards said.

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Research Focus (1)

Research and Teaching Interests

The molecular interface between mosquitoes and pathogens that cause human diseases

Research Grants (1)

Research Grant

National Institute of Health 


$100,000 three-year grant from the National Institute of Health for his research on mosquitoes' roles in the transmission of LaCrosse virus by mosquitoes (2001)

Courses (4)

BIO 152

Principles of Biology III

BIO 205

Cell Biology I

BIO 405

Cell Biology II

BIO 242


Articles (5)

Differential expression of Ixodes ricinus tick genes induced by blood feeding or Borrelia burgdorferi infection Journal of Medical Entomology


Ixodes ricinus L. is the principal European vector of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, the causative agent of Lyme borreliosis. Subtractive hybridization was used to isolate tick genes that were induced in whole ticks after blood meals on uninfected and B. burgdorferi ...

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Robust gut-specific gene expression in transgenic Aedes aegypti mosquitoes Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences


Genetic modification of the vectorial capacity of mosquito vectors of human disease requires promoters capable of driving gene expression with appropriate tissue and stage specificity. We report on the characterization in transgenic Aedes aegypti of two mosquito ...

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Rapid induction by a blood meal of a carboxypeptidase gene in the gut of the mosquito Anopheles gambiae Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


A search for genes induced rapidly (< 3h) after a blood meal in the gut of the human malaria vector Anopheles gambiae led to the identification of a carboxypeptidase gene (AgCP). We report the sequence of the 1302nt AgCP transcribed sequence, 710nt of upstream and ...

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Structure, Expression, and Hormonal Control of Genes from the Mosquito, Aedes aegypti, Which Encode Proteins Similar to the Vitelline Membrane Proteins of Drosophila melanogaster Developmental Biology


Genomic and cDNA clones of a gene expressed after a blood meal in the mosquito, Aedes aegypti, were identified as having significant similarity to the vitelline membrane protein genes of Drosophila melanogaster. The predicted protein had unusually high contents of alanine, histidine, and proline and contained a region of hydrophobic amino acids that was highly conserved in the predicted protein of the D. melanogaster vitelline membrane protein genes...

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Juvenile hormone receptors in insect larval epidermis: identification by photoaffinity labeling Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences


Tritiated photoaffinity analogs of the natural lepidopteran juvenile hormones, JH I and II [epoxy [3H] bishomofarnesyl diazoacetate ([3H] EBDA) and epoxy [3H] homofarnesyl diazoacetate ([3H] EHDA)], and of the JH analog methoprene [[3H] methoprene ...

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