Dr. Lynne K. Rieske-Kinney Laboratory

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Current projects:

• Gene silencing in emerald ash borer. My lab is evaluating the use of gene silencing as a means of suppressing emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis (EAB), an exotic, aggressive, tree-killing beetle that has caused the loss of millions of ash trees in urban and wildland forests. We’ve shown that RNA interference (RNAi) can cause rapid and extensive beetle mortality; we are now evaluating additional genes that, when silenced, could cause beetle mortality. Additionally, we are evaluating methods of delivery and assessing potential non-target effects.

Gene silencing in southern pine beetle. The endemic southern pine beetle, Dendroctonus frontalis (SPB), undergoes population outbreaks that lead to landscape-scale tree mortality, and is expanding its geographic range in response to our changing climate. We have determined that SPB is susceptible to RNAi, and are working on evaluating additional genes and assessing geographic variability. We are also evaluating methods of delivery and assessing potential non-target effects.

Invasion dynamics of emerald ash borer. We are evaluating aspects of the EAB invasion, including: 

◦ Host range expansion. Both classical biological control and chemical control can contribute to EAB management, but EAB is now colonizing a novel host, white fringetree, Chionanthus virginicus. We are investigating the implications of this novel host on the effectiveness of EAB’s classical biological control agents and on EAB invasion dynamics. 

◦ Trophic linkages. Developmental asynchrony between EAB and its classical biocontrol agents complicates implementation of an effective biological control program. Changing forest structure and composition post-invasion are creating new habitats and altering trophic interactions in unknown ways. We are assessing some of these changes. 

• Asian chestnut gall wasp and chestnut restoration. Asian chestnut gall wasp, Dryocosmus kuriphilus, is a non-native gall-forming wasp that disrupts flowering and nut production, causes physical deformities of twigs and branches, and can kill trees. We are evaluating behavioral and ecological aspects of gall wasp infestations to help minimize losses.

Lab Associates

Current Lab Associates:

Bethany Kyre, PhD, May 2022 (projected) [Arrived Aug 2017]. bky223@uky.edu. Gene silencing in southern pine beetle.

Beth’s awards:

  • People’s Choice, 3MT Competition, UK College of Agriculture, Food, & Environment, April 2019.
  • First Place, Oral presentation, PhD division, Ohio Valley Entomological Association, October 2018.
  • Publication Submission Scholarship, UK Department of Entomology, August 2018.
  • Publication Acceptance Scholarship, UK Department of Entomology, March 2019.

Beth’s Publications:

  • Kyre BR, TB Rodrigues, LK Rieske. 2019. RNA interference and validation of reference genes for gene expression analyses using RT-qPCR in southern pine beetle, Dendroctonus frontalis. Scientific Reports 9, 5640. DOI:10.1038/s41598-019-42072-6. Link.


Flavia Pampolini, PhD, December 2022 (projected) [Arrived Jan 2018]. flavia.pampolini@uky.edu. RNAi in emerald ash borer: Specificity and delivery approaches. 

Sarah Pellecchia, MS, May 2020 (projected). [Arrived August 2018]. sarah.pellecchia.uky.edu. Developmental asynchrony affects efficacy of EAB classical biological control agents.

Project Evaluation
Tree removal permits evaluation of infestation levels and assessment of the efficacy of on-going parasitoid releases

Some Former Lab Associates 


Dr. Ramya, SL, Postdoctoral Scholar (PhD University of Mysore, Karnataka, India, 2014)ramya_sl@uky.edu. Developing delivery applications for RNAi technology in emerald ash borer.

Ramya’s Publications:

  • Leelesh, RS, LK Rieske. In review. Bacterially expressed dsRNA can silence genes and cause mortality in a highly invasive, tree-killing pest, the emerald ash borer (EAB), Agrilus planipennisi. Subm. to PLOS ONE.


Dr. Thais Rodrigues, Postdoctoral Scholar (PhD Federal Univ of Lavras, Brazil, 2014), 2016-2018. thaisbarros.bio@gmail.com. “RNAi: an emerging technology for broad scale management of tree killing pests, focusing on emerald ash borer.” [Currently Research Scientist, Molecular Entomology, private industry]

Thais’ publications:

  • Rodrigues TB, JJ Duan, SR Palli, LK Rieske. 2018. Identification of highly effective target genes for RNAi-mediated control of emerald ash borer, A. planipennisScientific Reports 8, 5020. DOI:10.1038/s41598-018-23216-6. Link.
  • Rodrigues TB, LK Rieske, JJ Duan, K Mogilicherla, SR Palli. 2017. Development of RNAi method for screening candidate genes to control emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennisScientific Reports 7, 7379. DOI:10.1038/s41598-017-07605-x. Link.

David Olson, MS, May 2018. olsondgm@gmail.com. Emerald ash borer host expansion: Trading an optimal host for enemy free space? [Currently Forest Health Specialist, Nebraska Forest Service]

Dave’s awards:

  • First Place, Oral presentation, Southern Forest Insect Work Conference, July 2017.
  • First Place, Oral presentation, MS division, Ohio Valley Entomological Association, October 2017.
  • Publication Submission Scholarship, UK Department of Entomology, March 2018.

Dave's Publications:

  • Olson DG, LK Rieske. 2018. Host range expansion may provide enemy free space for the highly invasive emerald ash borer. Biological Invasions 20, 1-11. DOI:10.1007/s10530-018-1853-6. Link.
  • Olson DG, LK Rieske. Under revision. Another look at systemic neonicotinoid applications for emerald ash borer suppression. Subm. to Arboriculture and Urban Forestry
Southern Forest Insect Work Conference
At the Southern Forest Insect Work Conference in San Antonio, July 2018


Dr. Ignazio Graziosi, Postdoctoral Scholar (PhD UK, 2015), 2017.  i.graziosi@hotmail.it  “Developing integrated approaches to mitigate the emerald ash borer invasion.” [Currently Research Entomologist, private industry] 

Ignazio’s publications (see also 2015):

UK Forest Entomology Lab and Partners
The Forest Entomology lab partners with the US Forest Service and Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government for an outreach and education event on managing the emerald ash borer

Dr. Sun Shouhui, Visiting Scholar, Shenyang University, China, 2017. 

Publications with Shouhui:

  • Yang L, LK Rieske, Y Deng, J Hua, S-H Sun. In Review. Molecular phylogenetic analysis of Hyphantria cunea from China and USA. Subm. to Journal of Insect Science.
  • Yu, D, F Li, LK Rieske, L-L Sun, S-H Sun. 2018. Transcriptome sequencing for identification of diapause-associated genes in fall webworm, Hyphantria cunea Drury. Gene 668, 229-236. DOI.org/10.1016/j.gene.2018.05.023. Link.

Matthew Savage, MS, 2017. Matthew.savage@uky.edu. Shifting arthropod communities associated with emerald ash borer induced ash mortality. [Currently Tree Care Specialist, private company, Long Island, New York] 

Matthew’s awards:

  • Submission Publication Scholarship, UK Department of Entomology, February 2016.
  • 2nd place oral presentation, Southern Forest Insect Work Conference, July 2015.
  • Kentucky Native Plant Society Student Research Grant Proposal. $500.

Matthew’s publications:

  • Savage MB, LK Rieske. 2018. Coleopteran communities associated with forests invaded by emerald ash borer.  Forests 9, 69; doi:10.3390/f9020069. Link.

Rieske-Kinney Lab Associates


Ignazio Graziosi, Fulbright Scholar, PhD, 2015. i.graziosi@hotmail.it. “Invasiveness of an exotic gall wasp is influenced by interactions with exotic and endemic organisms.”

Ignazio’s awards:

  • Fulbright Scholar (Italy), “Proliferation of an exotic gall wasp is influenced by interactions with exotic and endemic organisms.”
  • First Place, Oral presentation, Southern Forest Insect Work Conference, July 2013.
  • First Place, Oral presentation, 3rd Conf on Invasion Ecology, Biology and Management, July 2013.
  • First Place, Oral presentation, PhD Division, Ohio Valley Entomological Assoc., October 2011.
  • Submission Publication Scholarship, UK Department of Entomology.  Feb. 2013.

Ignazio’s publications (see also 2017):

  • Graziosi I, LK Rieske. 2015Can plant pathogens advantageously utilize insects as resources? Agricultural and Forest Entomology, DOI: 10.1111/afe.12116. Link.
  • Graziosi, I, LK Rieske. 2015. Semiochemicals offer hope for managing the granulate ambrosia beetle, Xylosandrus crassiusculus, an invasive pest of chestnut. The Nutshell. Northern Nut Growers Assoc. annual report.
  • Graziosi I, LK Rieske. 2014. Potential fecundity of a highly invasive gallmaker, Dryocosmus kuriphilus (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae). Environmental Entomology 43, 1053-1058. doi: 10.1603/ENT14047. Link.
  • Graziosi I, LK Rieske. 2013. Response of Torymus sinensis, a parasitoid of the gallforming Dryocosmus kuriphilus, to olfactory and visual cues. Biological Control 67, 137-142. Link.
  • Graziosi I, LK Rieske. 2012. Local spread of an exotic invader: Using remote sensing and spatial analysis to document proliferation of the invasive Asian chestnut gall wasp. iForest 5, 255-261. Link

William Davidson, MS, 2015. Integrating biological control and chemical suppression to save our ash resources. [Currently Forest Health Specialist, New Hampshire Division of Forestry]

Bill’s awards:

  • Submission Scholarship, UK Entomology, Spring 2015; Publication Scholarship, Summer 2015. 

Bill’s publications:

  • Davidson W, LK Rieske. 2016. Establishment of classical biological control targeting emerald ash borer is facilitated by use of insecticides, with little effect on native arthropod communities. Biological Control 101, 78-86. Link.
  • Davidson W, LK Rieske. 2015Native parasitoid response to emerald ash borer (Coleoptera: Buprestidae) and ash decline in recently invaded forests of the central United States. Annals of the Entomological Society of America. DOI 10.1093/aesa/sav068. Link.
  • Davidson W, LK Rieske. 2014. Emerald Ash Borer natural enemies are here – can they make a difference? Kentucky Woodlands Magazine, Vol. 9, Issue 2.

Abe Nielsen, Principal Laboratory Technician, 2012-2015. abe.nielsen@ky.gov[Currently Forest Health Specialist, Kentucky Division of Forestry]

Abe’s publications:

  • Nielsen AM, LK Rieske. 2015. Potential host and range expansion of an exotic insect-pathogen complex: Simulating effects of sassafras mortality from laurel wilt disease invasion in the central hardwoods region. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 142: 292-301; DOI dx.doi.org/10.3159/TORREY-D-14-00005.1. Link.
  • Levin-Nielsen AM, LK Rieske. 2014. Evaluating short term simulations of a forest stand invaded by emerald ash borer. iForest doi: 10.3832/ifor1163-007. Link.


Dr. Luke Dodd (PhD 2010 UK), Postdoctoral Scholar 2011-2014. Luke.dodd@eku.edu. “Interactions between prescribed fire and white-nosed syndrome.”  [Currently Assistant Professor at Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, KY]

Luke’s publications (see also 2010):

  • Dodd LE, MJ Lacki, J Johnson, LK Rieske. 2015. Prey size and dietary niche of Rafinesque’s big-eared bat, Corynorhinus rafinesquiiSoutheast Naturalist 14, 685-696. Link.
  • Fulton SA, LE Dodd, LK Rieske. 2014Hydric habitats are important to foraging bats in the Bluegrass Region’s urban parks. Urban Naturalist 3, 1-13. Link.
  • Dodd LE, MJ Lacki, DC Cox, LK Rieske. 2014. Prey consumed by bats across Central Appalachia prior to the detection of White-nose Syndrome. J Kentucky Academy of Science 75, 85-93. Link.
  • Dodd LE, NS Skowronski, MB Dickinson, MJ Lacki, LK Rieske. 2013. Using LiDAR to link forest canopy structure with bat activity and insect occurrence: preliminary findings. Pp. 50-57 in Proceedings of Mammoth Cave National Park’s 10th Research Symposium (S. R. Trimboli, ed.). Mammoth Cave National Park, Mammoth Cave, KY. Link.

Christopher Strohm, MS, 2014. Litter input influences benthic macroinvertebrate composition in headwater streams. [Currently Extension Associate, Washington State University Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center, Wenatchee, WA]

Chris’ awards:

  • President’s Prize, 2nd Place, oral presentation, Entomological Society of America. Knoxville, November 2012.


Joshua Adkins, PhD, 2012. jadkins@transy.edu. “Aquatic consequences of a terrestrial invader: The effects of the hemlock woolly adelgid on headwater stream quality.” [Currently Instructor and Laboratory Coordinator at Transylvania University, Lexington, KY]

Josh’s awards:

  • Best graduate student oral presentation, Joint Kentucky Invasive Species / Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council Conference, Lexington. May 2011.
  • Submission Publication Scholarship, University of Kentucky Dept of Entomology.  January 2011.
  • Karri Casner Environmental Sciences Fellowship for research support.  Tracy Farmer Center for the Environment.  $1,000, February 2010.
  • Kentucky Water Resources Institute Graduate Student Grant for research support.  March 2009.
  • Karri Casner Environmental Sciences Fellowship for research support.  Tracy Farmer Center for the Environment.  $1,000, February 2008. 

Josh’s publications:

  • Adkins JK, LK Rieske. 2015. Benthic collector and grazer communities are threatened by hemlock woolly adelgid-induced eastern hemlock loss. Forests – special edition addressing Biodiversity and Conservation, 6, 2719. Link.
  • Adkins JK, LK Rieske. 2014A terrestrial invader threatens a benthic community: Potential effects of hemlock woolly adelgid-induced loss of eastern hemlock on invertebrate shredders in headwater streams. Biological Invasions. DOI 10.1007/s10530-014-0786-y. Link.
  • Johnson J, JK Adkins, LK Rieske. 2014. Canopy vegetation influences ant communities in headwater stream riparian zones of central Appalachia. Journal of Insect Science 14, 237. doi: 10.1093/jisesa/ieu099. Link.
  • Adkins JK, LK Rieske. 2013. Loss of a foundation forest species due to an exotic invader impacts terrestrial arthropod communities. Forest Ecology and Management 295, 126-135. Link.

Lori Nelson Chamberlin, MS, 2012. lori.chamberlin@dof.virginia.gov. Species-specific differences in hemlock help explain susceptibility to the exotic hemlock woolly adelgid. [Currently Forest Health Specialist, Virginia Division of Forestry]

Lori’s awards:

  • Second place, Oral presentation, Joint meeting of the Southern Forest Insect Work Conference and the Southwide Forest Disease Workshop. July 2012.
  • Submission Publication Scholarship, UK Department of Entomology. Fall 2011.

Lori’s publications:

  • Nelson LA, LK Rieske. 2014Microclimatic variation within sleeve cages used in ecological studies. Journal of Insect Science 14, 167. doi: 10.1093/jisesa/ieu029. Link.
  • Nelson LA, DN Dillaway, LK Rieske. 2014Effect of an exotic herbivore, Adelges tsugae, on photosynthesis of a highly susceptible Tsuga host, with notes on conspecifics. Arthropod – Plant Interactions 8, 9-15. Link.


Luke Dodd, PhD 2010. Luke.dodd@eku.edu. “Disturbance affects insect prey and bat activity in deciduous forests.”  [Currently Assistant Professor at Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, KY] 

Luke’s awards:

  • University Dissertation Year Fellowship, University of Kentucky Graduate School.  2009-10.
  • Outstanding Graduate Student Award, Entomological Society of America North Central branch. 2008.
  • Travel grant, UK Graduate School, for travel to Entomological Society of America annual meeting (Reno)
  • Bat Conservation International Student Research Scholarship. “Application of molecular techniques for detection of prey of insectivorous bats. $3000. 2008.
  • Sigma Xi Grant-in-Aid of Research. “Application of genetic techniques for detection of prey of forest-dwelling bats.” $400.  Fall 2007.

Luke’s publications (see also 2014):

  • Dodd LE, LK Rieske. 2014. Temporal variation in nocturnal Lepidoptera and other insects at Robinson Forest, Kentucky. Journal of the Kentucky Academy of Science 74, 3-9. Link.
  • Dodd LE, Z Cornett, A Smith, LK Rieske. 2013.Variation in Lepidopteran occurrence in hemlock-dominated and deciduous-dominated forests of central Appalachia. Great Lakes Entomologist 46, 1-2: 1-12. Link.
  • Dodd LE, EG Chapman, JD Harwood, MJ Lacki, LK Rieske. 2012.DNA-based techniques allow unprecedented resolution of prey selection by a common forest-dwelling bat (Myotis septentrionalis).Journal of Mammalogy 93, 1119-1128.
  • Dodd LE, MJ Lacki, ER Britzke, DA Buehler, PD Keyser, JL Larkin, AD Rodewald, TB Wigley, PB Wood, LK Rieske. 2012.  Forest structure affects trophic linkages: how silvicultural disturbance impacts bats and their insect prey. Forest Ecology & Management 267, 262-270. Link.
  • Dodd LE, MJ Lacki, LK Rieske. 2011. Habitat associations of Lepidoptera in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 84, 271-284. Link.

Joshua Clark, MS 2010

Josh’s awards:

  • Karri Casner Environmental Sciences Fellowship for research support.  Tracy Farmer Center for the Environment.  $1,000, February 2008.
  • Graduate Student Travel Support. UK Graduate School, $400. 

Josh’s publications:

  • Liang L, JT Clark, N Kong, LK Rieske, S. Fei. 2014. Spatial analysis facilitates invasive species risk assessment. Forest Ecology and Management 215, 22-29. Link
  • Clark JT, S Fei, L Liang, LK Rieske. 2012. Mapping eastern hemlock: Comparing classification techniques to evaluate susceptibility of a fragmented and valued resource to an exotic invader, the hemlock woolly adelgid. Forest Ecology and Management 266, 216-222. Link.

Rachael E. Mallis, MS, 2010

Rachael’s awards:

  • Entomology Department Supplemental Fellowship.  UK Dept Entomology.  2007-09, $4000.
  • Travel Support for Entomological Society of America annual meeting (San Diego). UK Graduate School, $400 

Rachael’s publications:

  • Mallis RE, LK Rieske. 2011Arboreal spiders of eastern hemlock.  Environmental Entomology 40, 1378-1387. Link.
  • Mallis RE, LK Rieske. 2010. Web orientation and prey resources for web-building spiders in eastern hemlock.  Environmental Entomology 39, 1466-1472.  DOI: 10.163/EN10039. Link.

For a complete list of lab associates please request full CV.

Ash mortality due to emerald ash borer

Ash mortality due to emerald ash borer

Neonate EAB larvae are used in lab bioassays

Neonate EAB larvae are used in lab bioassays

An emerging EAB adult

An emerging EAB adult

Destructive sampling to assess EAB populations

Destructive sampling to assess EAB populations

Ash canopy thinning

Ash canopy thinning

EAB larva and gallery

EAB larva and gallery

Coarse woody debris accumulation alters trophic interactions

Coarse woody debris accumulation alters trophic interactions