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)
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
“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.
Gnat invasion bugging many residents
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.
Zika virus poses little threat to Lehigh Valley residents
"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.
Research Focus (1)
Research and Teaching Interests
The molecular interface between mosquitoes and pathogens that cause human diseases
Research Grants (1)
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)
Principles of Biology III
Cell Biology I
Cell Biology II
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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...
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 ...