Peter Piermarini

Assistant Professor | Department of Entomology
Faculty

My research investigates the molecular mechanisms of fluid secretion by the renal (Malpighian) tubules of mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti and Anopheles gambiae). Aedes mosquitoes are one of the most important vectors for spreading the viral-based illnesses of yellow fever and dengue fever to humans, whereas Anophelesmosquitoes are the primary vectors of malaria.  Malpighian tubules are the kidneys of insects.  Our kidneys filter our blood to produce a urine, but the Malpighian tubules of insects must actively secrete fluid to produce a urine. I am interested in elucidating how mosquitoes produce urine, because it is vital to their survival after consuming a human blood meal.  That is, the Malpighian tubules excrete the excess fluid and salts absorbed from the blood they ingest. If we can identify key genes/proteins involved with urine production by mosquito Malpighian tubules, then we may be able to interfere with this process via genetic disruption or pharmacological agents, thereby making it less likely for a mosquito to bite another person and spread disease.

Areas of Expertise
  • Insect Physiology and Molecular Biology
  • Medical and Veterinary Entomology
Education
  • (2002) Ph.D., Zoology, University of Florida
  • (1995) B.S., Biology, James Madison University

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Phone:
(330) 263-3641
224 Thorne
1680 Madison Ave., Wooster, OH 44691