Insect Pathology and Biological Control – University of Copenhagen

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Insect Pathology and Biological Control

Insects, like all organisms, are subject to infectious diseases which can seriously affect host fitness. Many infections are even lethal to insects. The study of insect diseases, or insect pathology, encompasses a broad range of scientific disciplines including entomology, microbiology, molecular biology, immunology, evolution and ecology.

Our team studies both fundamental and applied aspects of insect pathology. The fundamental aspects range from studies on diversity and phylogenetics, evolution of infection processes and host defence mechanisms to the ecology and life cycles of insect pathogens. The majority of our research focuses on insect pathogenic fungi but other types of insect pathogens are also studied. The applied aspects of insect pathology are twofold: 1) developing insect pathogens as biological control agents of pest insects and mites to provide sustainable solutions for pest control, and 2) prevention of diseases in beneficial insects such as honey bees, other pollinators, predators and insects used for food and feed.

Our research is divided into five research topics:

  1. Host-pathogen co-evolution
  2. Interactions among insect pathogenic fungi, plants and insects
  3. Honey bees and bee health
  4. Biological control of pests
  5. Edible insects and their diseases

We have national and international collaborations with universities, research centres, the private sector and non-governmental organizations.