Lena Guisewite is a Veterinary Entomology Master's student with Dr. Wes Watson. Her project focuses on IPM of house and stable flies in livestock systems, but includes laboratory work on insect repellents, entomopathogenic fungi, and mechanical transmission of antibiotic resistant bacteria. She is originally from Southern California, and received her Bachelor's of Science in Biology from UNC Pembroke in 2008. The year following her graduation she interned at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciencesunder the supervision of Dr. Colin Brammer.
Lena is also the current secretary of the Entomology Graduate Student Association.
Currently Lena is investigating the efficacy of Geraniol a plant-based insect repellent, against house flies and stable flies both in the field and the lab. Within this project she is evaluating oviposition and feeding deterrence, conducting olfactometer and filter paper experiments, as well as field applications. Concentrations as low as 4% geraniol are able to significantly reduce oviposition in stable flies and house flies. Field applications within an open and bedded swine system indicate that higher concentrations may be necessary in order to reduce house fly populations below the economic threshold. As part of a larger IPM effort, she is also looking at the effects of Beauveria bassiana, an entomopathogenic fungus, against house flies and vinegar flies (Drosophila repleta). Preliminary data suggests that vinegar flies are susceptible to B. bassiana, but further research is required to establish mortality rates, as well as a standard infection period. She is also part of a collaborative project with Dr. Siddhartha Thakur of the College of Veterinary Medicine, which has generated information on the role of house flies in the mechanical transmission of antibiotic (AB) resistant bacteria within livestock systems. Surprisingly AB resistant bacteria were isolated from house flies present in an AB-free swine system. Bacterial profiles suggest that resistance genes may be coming from human wastewater systems and not the nearby beef cattle that receive antibiotics on the research farm, as was originally hypothesized.
And here is Lena leading a group of future scientsts at an Entomology meeting (and birthday party) learning about bioluminescence in fireflies (substituting glow sticks for real fireflies!).