2018 AGRO New Investigator Award Finalist – Leslie Rault

Leslie Rault obtained her PhD in Entomology in 2017 from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln (UNL) under the supervision of Nicholas Miller, Blair Siegfried, and Gary Brewer. Her main research focused on the molecular mechanisms of the resistance to Cry3Bb1 toxin in the Western corn rootworm Diabrotica virgifera virgifera. She also received an MS in Systematics, Evolution and Paleobiodiversity from the University Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris, France, and a BS in Life and Health Sciences from the University of Nice – Sophia Antipolis in Nice, France. Leslie is a postdoctoral research associate and outreach coordinator in the Department of Entomology, UNL.

Leslie’s current research is divided into two main projects supervised by Georgina Bingham (Vestergaard) and Troy Anderson (UNL). The first project revolves around food security issues caused by stored-product pest insects and innovative management methods for these pests involving insecticide-incorporated materials and biorational repellents, while focusing on elucidating the expression patterns of detoxification genes due to factors such as age, sex, and insecticide resistance status, influencing the response to insecticide exposure in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. This project is part of a larger study to identify new management tools for mosquito populations. Leslie also assists with the undergraduate/graduate level course Insect Physiology, as a guest presenter and is a member of the safety committee of the Department of Entomology.