Publish Date: 27.07.2011

Category: Job vacancies


Postdoctoral position

Chemical communication in the whitefly Bemisia tabacci


In insects, chemical (“pheromone”) communication is the most common mode of communication. Despite the boost of international research about various insect species, “pheromone” remains a field to explore in whiteflies. However, exploration of pheromone communication has been clearly mandatory since whiteflies and in particular the sweet potato whitefly Bemisia tabaci have become most serious insect pests spreading not only in China but also everywhere in different parts of the world. In front of the long list of problems related to the massive exploitation of biopesticides on the planet, we propose a more safe way to control insect pests and in particular whiteflies assuming we can open the research field of chemical communication in this species. 


Using GC and GC/MS, we will identify the chemical structure of volatiles that are released by males and females from various Bemisia tabaci biotypes. Specific bio-assay to analyze the behavioral activity of identified chemicals will be developed. We may discover whitefly behavioral traits related to sexual communication, repulsion, aggression, aggregation, behavioral maturation, and eventually bring to light the full-panoply of whitefly pheromones. China-Japan cooperation is underway to identify antennal neurons tuned to biotype-specific pheromone chemicals. In addition, the regulatory mechanisms underlying pheromone production will be investigated in whiteflies with particular attention being given to PBAN, PBAN-receptor, JH and mating peptides.

Identification of “biotype-specific molecules” will be explored to interfere with the reproductive/invasive system of whiteflies. Using molecule analogs it will be possible to disrupt communication channels of Bemisia by interfering with the regulation of pheromone production/perception in this insect. We may take on driving the whitefly physiological system. We will also check for quantitative variations under specific genetic traits, symbiotic interactions and/or different environmental conditions such as temperature, light, CO2 and food/ornamental crop.

Experience in Chemical Ecology and Insect Physiology
Gas Chromatography, GC/MS, HPLC, behavioral assay, hormone-peptide identification

3.Contacts: Prof. Dr. Picimbon Jean-François, ?? and Prof. Dr. Chu Dong
Institution: Shandong Academy of Agricultural Sciences
Type of organization: High Tech Research Center
Division: Functional Genomics & Proteomics of Chemical Ecology
Address: 11, Sang Yuan Road,
ZIP code: 250100, City: Jinan, country: P.R. China
Tel: 0086-531-83175350/Fax: 0086-531-83178156

Deadline for application (end of August) and procedure to apply for postdoctoral position can be found at