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Department of Entomology

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Prabhakar, Sheila

Prabhakar, Sheila Ph.D. 2006 sprabhakar@seuniversity.edu Southeastern UniversityDegree Being Pursued: Ph.D.

Bio Brief

"Molecular characterization of digestive proteinases of the yellow mealworm, Tenebrio molitor L."

I am a graduate student in the department currently in my 4th year of study at K-state. My educational background was in biology and zoology and am now an entomologist specializing in the field of molecular biology. My research interests include medical entomology and vector biology and insect physiology. I enjoy teaching and presenting my research to a wide range of audiences. My research has helped me collaborate with different people from different countries and cultures and this has taught me important principles of teamwork and unity. Graduate school has taught me perseverance, patience, humility, endurance, assertiveness and made me an independant person.
I love singing, cooking, writing poetry, playing the guitar and piano and interacting with people.


B.S. Botany, Zoology and Chemistry, Osmania University College for Women, Osmania Universi, 1999
M.S. Zoology, University College of Science, Osmania University, Hyd, 2001


Teaching Assistant (TA) to James R. Nechols for Insect Biocontrol (ENTOM 820) Course in Spring 2005 at Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS


The insect gut is an important target for pest control, and plant inhibitors of insect digestion are potential biopesticides for use in insect pest management. However, the deleterious impact of inhibitors has been reduced due to genetic factors in insects that enable them to tolerate these natural plant compounds. We have chosen Tenebrio molitor, a stored grain pest, as a model system to study the response of insects to proteinase inhibitors. By studying the response of the gut to dietary PIs, we purpose to understand these regulatory mechanisms. Successful completion of this project will provide necessary information to improve the efficacy of proteinase inhibitors as insect control agents. These studies will have a wider impact on the development of transgenic plants that are being developed as effective genetic tools against target insect pests.


Prabhakar, S., M-S. Chen, E.N. Elpidina, K.S. Vinokurov, C. M. Smith, J. L. Marshall, and B. Oppert. Sequence analysis and molecular characterization of larval midgut cDNA transcripts encoding peptidases from the yellow mealworm, Tenebrio molitor L. Insect Molecular Biology, 16: 455-468