Call for CAMTech Research Proposals, due June 29, 2018

June 7, 2018
News

2018 Call for Proposals

The National Science Foundation Industry‐University Cooperative Research Center, the Center for Arthropod Management Technologies (CAMTech) announces a call for pre‐proposals for research projects to begin January 1, 2019.

Research

Proposals should be for pre‐competitive research (i.e. not leading to patentable information) related to arthropod or nematode management. The use of economically relevant organisms is preferred.

Proposals in ALL areas relating to arthropod or nematode management are accepted. Areas of particular interest are:

Physiology

  • Identification of new receptors for olfaction (mosquito, ag pests; repellant / attractant)
  • Insect‐microbe interactions (mosquitoes and key ag pests; effect on physiology and resistance)
  • Use gene editing to overexpress endogenous genes involved with insecticide metabolism / biology (e.g. P450s, ABC transporters) in insect cell lines and compare expression and functionality to that of a recombinant expression platform*
  • Injection method to better understand primary sites of metabolism, rates of metabolism and metabolites formed in late instar Lepidoptera*
  • Oral bioavailability across Hemiptera, Coleoptera, Lepidoptera: differences in flow and uptake kinetics from fore‐, mid‐ and hind‐gut, peritrophic membrane*

Resistance

  • Diagnostics
  • Mechanisms of resistance development; could include impact of IRM/IPM
  • Fitness effects (egg laying, larval survival, lifespan etc.)
  • Strategies for delaying insect resistance
  • Modeling of resistance allele frequencies (Vip3, Cry2, RNAi)
  • Ecology of emerging key crop and animal pests (i.e. aphids, stink bug, whiteflies, psyllids, D. suzukii, sucking and biting lice); Frequency and dispersal of insecticide resistance (N and S America)
  • IRM: socioeconomic studies on approaches to educate growers in best practices for resistance management
  • Understanding of bedbug resistance to commonly used insecticides including fitness costs and elucidation of which resistance mechanisms are most likely to become fixed

Genomics

  • Tissue specific promoters in insects, insect cell lines, reporter insects
  • Spodoptera interspecies hybridization

Organismal

  • Increased understanding of mechanisms of bait matrix attractants and ant behavior (carpenter‐, Argentine‐, leaf cutter‐, garden ants etc.)
  • Methods for rearing and establishing difficult insect colonies (e.g. red‐banded stink bug, non‐ diapausing northern corn rootworm, sucking and biting lice)

Nematodes

  • Genetic markers, molecular diagnostics for in field detection: Presence / absence / relative abundance of key crop nematode pests

Medical and veterinary entomology

  • Sub‐lethal effects of spatial repellents and commonly used insecticides on i) disease vectoring mosquitoes / ticks / fleas and impacts on disease transmission, ii) biology and behavior of German cockroaches, iii) biology and behavior of sucking and biting lice
  • Assay development for sucking and biting lice
  • Sustainable mitigation of tick populations (especially deer ticks) and associated disease (especially Lyme disease) in individual residences or within a community

Methods

  • 3D insect cell culture to model specific tissues; cell line systems for study of intrinsic pathways.
  • Quantification of feeding rates in Lepidoptera for better correlation of ingestion of active ingredients with metabolism and detoxification*
  • Development of single cell PCR methods in insects / insect cells

See Appendix for Supplementary Information for these projects

Eligibility

This call is open to faculty members at University of Florida and University of Kentucky only. Collaborators may be drawn from other institutions.

Funding

Funding will be considered for any allowable expenditure necessary to achieve the project goals, including but not limited to stipends for graduate students and post‐doctoral research associates, supplies and travel. Funding should be included in the budget for attendance of two CAMTech industry advisory board (IAB) meetings per year. Projects are typically funded for a period of 2 years with a maximum budget of $75k direct costs per year.

Application process

To apply, please submit a one‐page executive summary using this template to camtech@iastate.edu by Friday, June 29, 2018. Please use the same email address if you have any questions. Principal Investigators may be asked to respond to specific questions about their pre‐proposal in early August. Principal Investigators of selected pre‐proposals will be notified in August and provided with full proposal and budget templates. The deadline for submission of full proposals (totaling four pages in length) is Friday, September 28, 2018. Note that these full proposals will be presented in person at the CAMTech IAB meeting, to be held November 9‐11 in Vancouver, Canada (immediately prior to the ESA meeting) at which funding recommendations will be made.

For further information about CAMTech, please see http://camtech.ent.iastate.edu/

 

Appendix: Supplementary Information

Additional information that researchers may wish to consider for project proposals

Lepidopteran midgut injection

Method improvements are required to better understand the primary site of metabolism, rates of metabolism and metabolites formed.

Considerations for Project Proposal

Development of a robust injection method (defined dose) for late instar Lepidoptera (E.g. L5 Heliothis virescens, Spodoptera littoralis) and applicability for:

  • To measure the loss of compound (e.g. small molecule, peptide etc) in vivo after injection into the midgut
  • To investigate differential metabolism of commercial and published insecticides between injection into hemolymph and injection into gut via the mouth
  • To dose into the gut and then measure distribution in vivo (e.g. movement across gut membranes post hemolymph extraction)

Anticipated Impact to Industry on Delivery

The development of a lepidopteran gut injection assay will allow:

  1. Increased understanding into the metabolism within the gut vs. in the hemolymph; which in turn will provide information about potential differential metabolism
  2. To achieve greater visibility of metabolic soft spots
  3. To accurately dose into the gut, which improves mass balance tracking across biological fractions (gut→haemolymph). Active Ingredient exposure through diet feeding will result in different dosing depending on the individual’s feeding rates, and therefore makes in vivo distribution measurements difficult.

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Quantifying feeding rates in Lepidoptera

To better correlate rate of feeding (ingestion of active ingredients) with metabolism and detoxification. Current methods are semi‐quantitative at best e.g. measuring disappearance of diet. Higher accuracy is required – although the solution must not involve radioisotopes for cost, practicality and HSE reasons.

Considerations for project Proposal

  • Measure feeding rates in Lepidoptera
  • Design a robust assay to: quantify feeding rates and measure anti‐feedant effects in Lepidoptera
  • This would eventually involve exposure to active ingredients
  • Design a method that allows accurate quantification; for example use of a stable substrate and suitable quantification methods
  • Start with diet exposure; on success use leaf assays comparable to typical bioassay approaches
  • Lepidoptera of high interest are Spodoptera littoralis and Heliothis virescens

Anticipated Impact to Industry on Delivery

The development of a feeding rate assay will allow us to:

  1. Decouple anti‐feedant effects from metabolism and other bioavailability constraints in ADME research
  2. Determine anti‐feedant effects of: new chemistry, biologicals, peptides etc. to understand biology and mature chemistry, for marketing uses

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Oral bioavailability differences across Hemiptera/Coleoptera/Lepidoptera

The efficacy of active ingredients to control pests is determined by a variety of factors. There is limited knowledge of the influence of absorption and excretion and how this differs across the principal insect orders. There are differences in

  • flow and uptake kinetics in fore‐/mid‐ and hindguts (flow of diet through guts, water content of diet, volume dimensions of guts).
  • the barrier quality of peritrophic membranes (chemical composition, electrical charge gradient, thickness, pore sizes and distribution).

Considerations for Project Proposal

  1. Landscape/summary of existing knowledge.
  2. Choose one agronomically relevant species per group (Hemiptera / Coleoptera / Lepidoptera) ensuring standardized life stage and age (time after molting).
  3. Measure ingestion rates, residence times and excretion rates, preferably using plant material (no artificial diet) for each representative species.
  4. Use known insect control products ~5 model substances (chemistry, peptides, etc.) differing in physical properties and size to describe barrier qualities. Use imaging techniques where suited to support characterization of barrier. Derive requirements for insect control products and identify measures to manipulate the barrier.
  5. Propose a standardized model for each of the three groups, based on experimental data.

Anticipated Impact to Industry on Delivery

Essential knowledge for design and understanding of insect physiology and future selective insect control solutions.

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Insect lines for native protein production

To functionally characterise endogenous overexpression vs commercial recombinant expression techniques: Expression systems for pest insect proteins for functional characterisation are limited (e.g. E.coli, yeast, baculovirus). These platforms do not consistently produce functional gene products despite significant optimisation efforts. With gene editing technology, it should be possible to manipulate endogenous gene expression in the relevant host cell‐line.

Considerations for Project Proposal

To overexpress endogenous genes related to insecticide metabolism/biology e.g. P450’s, ABC transporters.

  • Screen for and identify a suitable promoter
  • Insert the promoter upstream of a gene of interest, in an insect cell‐line (e.g. Sf9/Sf21, insect cell lines), and measure expression levels.
  • Compare functionality against a well‐known recombinant expression system

Anticipated Impact to Industry on Delivery

Methods to enable protein production endogenously in insect cell‐lines will provide for understanding of functional protein interactions in a more relevant native environment.

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