Forest Entomology at the University of Kentucky

Dr. Lynne K. Rieske-Kinney Laboratory

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Congratulations to Mary Wallace, Zach Bragg, and Hannah Hollowell!

All are award recipients for their oral presentations at the North American Forest Insect Work Conference (May 2021)!

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Current lab projects

• Gene silencing in forest pests. We’re evaluating various aspects of utilizing RNA interference to induce gene silencing for forest pest suppression, focusing on wood boring beetles and bark beetles. The emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis (EAB), is an exotic, aggressive, tree-killing beetle that has caused the loss of millions of ash trees in urban and wildland forests of the US. The endemic southern and mountain pine beetles, Dendroctonus frontalis (SPB) and D. ponderosae (MPB), and the six-spined engraver, Ips calligraphus, undergo population outbreaks that can lead to landscape-scale tree mortality and catastrophic losses.

We’ve shown that RNA interference (RNAi) can cause rapid and extensive mortality in these beetles; we are now:

  • Evaluating optimal gene selection
  • Demonstrating specificity with mortality assays, gene expression and in silico analyses in model insects and in pest associates.
  • Evaluating potential delivery methods, focusing on in planta approaches.

EAB is an invader of unprecedented scope and magnitude, affecting urban and wildland forests and continuing to expand its invaded range in North America. Bark beetles are expanding their geographic range in response to our changing climate, causing extensive forest mortality and disrupting the ecosystem services that contribute to global sustainability. My lab is contributing workable solutions to these forest health crises.

Interested? email me at Lrieske@uky.edu.

Lab Photo 2021

Forest Entomology lab, August 2021

Current Lab Associates

Bethany Kyre, PhD candidate, May 2022 (projected) [Arrived Aug 2017]. bethkyre@uky.edu. Gene silencing in Dendroctonus bark beetles.

Beth’s awards:

  • Research Activity Award, University of Kentucky (UK), College of Agriculture, Food & Environment, January 2021.
  • Conference Award, UK Graduate Student Congress, November 2020.
  • President’s Prize, Second Place, Oral presentation, Entomological Society of America, November 2019.
  • Barnhart Fund for Excellence, UK College of Agriculture, Food & Environment, April 2019, April 2020.
  • First Place, Oral presentation, PhD division, Ohio Valley Entomological Association, October 2018, 2019.
  • Roger F. Anderson Award for Graduate Student Excellence, Southern Forest Insect Work Conference, Savanna, GA, July 2019.
  • First Place, Oral presentation, PhD division, Southern Forest Insect Work Conference, Savanna, GA, July 2019.
  • People’s Choice, 3MT Competition, UK CAFE, April 2019.
  • Publication Acceptance Scholarship, UK Dept of Entomology, March 2019, May 2020.
  • Publication Submission Scholarship, UK Dept of Entomology, August 2018. 

Beth’s Publications:

  • Kyre BR, JR Dupuis, G Zúñiga, LK Rieske. In review. Intraspecific genetic variation in Dendroctonus alters efficacy of molecular approaches to population suppression. Submitted to Proceedings B – Biological Applications, May 2021.
  • Kyre BR, BJ Bentz, LK Rieske. 2020. Susceptibility of mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins) to gene silencing through RNAi provides potential as a novel management tool. Forest Ecology and Management 473, 118322. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2020.118322
  • 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.
2019 Lab Associates
At the Ohio Valley Entomological Association meeting in Lexington, KY, Oct 2019

Flávia Pampolini, PhD candidate, December 2022 (projected) [Arrived Jan 2018]. flavia.pampolini@g.uky.edu. Gene silencing using RNAi in emerald ash borer: The path to deployment.

Flávia’s awards:

  • Richards Graduate Student Research Activity Award (UK CAFE), $725. October 2019, November, 2020.
  • Publication Acceptance Scholarship, UK Dept of Entomology, May 2020, December 2020.
  • Publication Submission Scholarship, UK Dept of Entomology, November 2019.
  • Graduate Student Travel Award, $400. October 2018.

Flávia’s publications:

  • Pampolini FB, LK Rieske. 2020. Emerald ash borer specific gene silencing has no effect on non-target organisms. Special Issue: New Applications of Insecticidal RNAi, Frontiers in Agronomy 2:608827. doi: 10.3389/fagro.2020.608827. Link.
  • Pampolini, FB, TB Rodrigues, RS Leelesh, T Kawashima, LK Rieske. 2020. Confocal microscopy provides visual evidence and confirms the feasibility of dsRNA delivery to emerald ash borer through plant tissues. Journal of Pest Science DOI: 10.1007/s10340-020-01230-w. Link.

EAB

EAB is causing widespread loss of ash. LaRue Co., March 2021

Mary Wallace, PhD, May 2023 (projected) [Arrived Aug 2019]. mary.wallace@uky.edu. Exploring the potential for managing Scolytinae using RNAi.

Mary’s awards:

  • First Place, Oral presentation, PhD division, North American Forest Insect Work Conference, May 2021.
  • 2019-2020 Cralle Foundation/ Joan Cralle Day Fellowship, University of Kentucky Graduate School. $15000. July 2019. 

Mary’s publication:

  • Wallace M, LK Rieske. In preparation. Validation of reference genes for quantitative PCR in the forest pest, Ips calligraphus. Target journal: Scientific Reports; anticipated submission June 2021.

Ips

Evaluating Ips for gene silencing requires a ready source of beetles, November 2019

Zachary Bragg, PhD Dec 2023 (projected) [Arrived Aug 2019]. zachary.bragg@uky.edu. Uptake and movement of double stranded RNA developed for insect suppression through plant tissues.

Zach’s awards:

  • Second Place, Oral presentation, MS division, North American Forest Insect Work Conference, May 2021.
  • President’s Prize, First Place, Oral presentation, Entomological Society of America, November 2020.
  • Second Place, Oral presentation, MS division, Ohio Valley Entomological Association, October 2019.

Zach’s publication:

  • Bragg ZA, LK Rieske. In preparation. Spatial distribution and retention in loblolly pine seedlings of dsRNAs engineered to cause southern pine beetle mortality. Target journal: Frontiers in Plant Science; anticipated submission June 2021. 
Bragg
Evaluating in planta uptake of dsRNAs that induce gene silencing, 2020 

Hannah Hollowell, MS, Aug 2021 (projected) [Arrived Aug 2019]. hannah.hollowell@uky.edu. Evaluating the specificity of southern pine beetle gene silencing.  

Hannah’s awards:

  • First Place, Oral presentation, MS division, North American Forest Insect Work Conference, May 2021.
  • President’s Prize, First Place, Oral presentation, Entomological Society of America, November 2020.

Hannah’s publication:

  • Hollowell HM, LK Rieske. In preparation. Southern pine beetle-specific RNA interference exhibits no effect on model nontarget insects. Target journal: Forest Ecology & Management; anticipated submission June 2021. 
Woods
Woody plant vegetation censusing in EAB-impacted stands 

Kylie Bickler, Undergraduate Entomology/Ag. Biotech major. BS May 2022 (projected). Evaluating dsRNA dose response.

Kylie’s awards:

  • Glen Collins Award, Spring 2021, for Outstanding Undergraduate Research in Ag Biotech Program. May 2021.
  • Undergraduate Student Research Award, UK College of Agriculture, Food & the Environment, May 2021. $1,000.
Tree Removal
Tree removal permits evaluation of infestation levels and assessment of the efficacy of parasitoid releases

Some Former Lab Associates 

2020

Sarah Pellecchia, MS, May 2020. sarah.pellecchia@uky.edu.  Developmental asynchrony affects efficacy of EAB classical biological control agents.

Sarah’s awards:

  • First Place, Oral presentation, MS division, Southern Forest Insect Work Conference, Savanna, GA, July 2019.

2019

Dr. Ramya, SL, Postdoctoral Scholar (PhD Univ of Mysore, Karnataka, India, 2014). ramya_sl@uky.edu. “Developing delivery applications for RNAi technology in emerald ash borer.” [Currently Visiting Lecturer, University of Bedfordshire, United Kingdom]

Ramya’s Publications:

  • Leelesh, RS, LK Rieske. 2020. Bacterially expressed dsRNA can silence genes and cause mortality in a highly invasive, tree-killing pest, the emerald ash borer (EAB), Agrilus planipennisi. Insects11(7), 440; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11070440
  • Pampolini, FB, TB Rodrigues, RS Leelesh, T Kawashima, LK Rieske. 2020. Confocal microscopy provides visual evidence and confirms the feasibility of dsRNA delivery to emerald ash borer through plant tissues. Journal of Pest Science DOI: 10.1007/s10340-020-01230-w.
Insect Work Conference
At the Southern Forest Insect Work Conference in Savanna, GA July 2019

2018

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:

  • Pampolini, FB, TB Rodrigues, RS Leelesh, T Kawashima, LK Rieske. 2020. Confocal microscopy provides visual evidence and confirms the feasibility of dsRNA delivery to emerald ash borer through plant tissues. Journal of Pest Science DOI: 10.1007/s10340-020-01230-w.
  • 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.
  • Rodrigues TB, JJ Duan, SR Palli, LK Rieske. 2018. Identification of highly effective target genes for RNAi-mediated control of emerald ash borer, A. planipennis.  Scientific 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 Conf., July 2017.
  • First Place, Oral presentation, MS division, Ohio Valley Entomological Association, October 2017.
  • Publication Submission Scholarship, UK Dept 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, LH Townsend, E Roemmele, LK Rieske. 2020. Another look at systemic neonicotinoid applications for emerald ash borer suppression. Arboriculture and Urban Forestry, September issue.
Southern Forest Insect Work Conference
At the Southern Forest Insect Work Conference in San Antonio, July 2018

2017

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

Ignazio’s publications:

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:

  • 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

Confocal microscopy shows fluorescing dsRNA in EAB tissues

Confocal microscopy shows fluorescing dsRNA in EAB tissues

Fungal symbionts may play a role in utilizing gene silencing technologies

Fungal symbionts may play a role in utilizing gene silencing technologies

Loblolly pine seedlings are used to evaluate in planta delivery of dsRNA

Loblolly pine seedlings are used to evaluate in planta delivery of dsRNA

Ash canopy thinning

Ash canopy thinning

Neonate EAB larvae are used in lab bioassays

Neonate EAB larvae are used in lab bioassays

Lady beetle ingests dsRNA to evaluate non-target effects

Lady beetle ingests dsRNA to evaluate non-target effects

Destructive sampling to assess EAB populations

Destructive sampling to assess EAB populations