Susan Paskewitz

Prof. Susan Paskewitz

Susan Paskewitz

Professor and Department Chair

739 Russell Laboratories
1630 Linden Drive
Madison, WI 53706

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Ph.D.  University of Georgia – Athens, 1987 (Entomology)
MA Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, 1982 (Zoology)
BS Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, 1979 (Zoology)

My research centers on management of arthropods involved in disease transmission, with a focus on mosquitoes and ticks.  A key question is the basis for compatibility versus incompatibility between various mosquito species and malaria parasite strains or species.  Compatibility can be mediated by the immune response of the host mosquito as well as evasion mechanisms of the parasite.  Our major contributions to this field include 1) identification of the role of important enzymes involved in regulating the melanization response through gene silencing studies, 2) a model Sephadex bead system for investigation of immune responses that is now widely used for molecular and ecological studies, and 3) discovery of a mosquito protein that binds to parasites and facilitates their development in this host.  Ongoing NIH-funded work focuses on the mosquito lysozyme gene family and the relationship of these proteins to adult and larval biology as well as their interaction with parasites.

To address the outbreak of West Nile virus (WNV) in the US and to gain expertise in methods of mosquito control, another line of research was initiated in 2005 on Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM) of local pests.  This Hatch-supported research focused on identification of major human biting species in southern Wisconsin and diagnosis of WNV in pooled samples from these collections. In addition, we 1) characterized aquatic sites that produce WNV vectors in Madison and identified superproducing sites (with Dr. Christine Arcari, Pop. Health, and John Hausbeck, Dane County Public Health), 2) investigated the co-occurrence of avian Plasmodium and WNV in Culex spp., (with Dr. Erik Hofmeister, USGS), and 3) successfully piloted the use of native fish species for control of the larval stages of Culex restuans/pipiens, work that has now been funded for an additional 4 year period as part of a multistate Hatch project.  Continuing projects will focus on development of local species of predatory microcrustaceans for biological control, on examining the impacts of WNV and nuisance mosquitoes on human behavior and quality of life (with RWJ Fellow Katie Dickinson), and on monitoring the effects of a newly introduced species (Aedes japonicus japonicus) on transmission of La Crosse virus and WNV (with local public health departments and the State Division of Health). Undergraduates were involved in mosquito research with projects that centered on tests of mosquito control methods that are marketed or promoted to our citizens, including CO2-generating backyard traps and ingestion of Vitamin B1 (with Prof. Tony Ives, Zoology) or bananas.

Tick-borne disease remains an important issue for Wisconsin with the incidence of Lyme disease increasing dramatically since 2002.  Over the past 10 years, projects focused on identification of risk levels in high-use urban forests and on identifying determinants of tick distribution in the state.  Currently, in collaboration with the State Division of Health, we are investigating the expansion of the range of Ixodes scapularis in eastern Wisconsin.  In collaboration with CDC and Prof. Ken Raffa’s group, we are also examining the ecology and effects of changes in forest structure on the dynamics of tick populations and Lyme disease infection rates.

Basic and Applied.

CALS 155: Interdisciplinary seminar for freshman (1 Cr)
Entom 371 Medical Entomology (3 Cr) spring semester alternate years
Entom 351 Medical/veterinary entomology module
Entom 375 Introduction to Global Health (3 Cr) spring semester

Vilas Associate Award, University of Wisconsin-Madison      2006-08
Pound Research Award, University of Wisconsin-Madison   1998

Professional Societies:

American Mosquito Control Association
American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Entomological Society of America
Society for Invertebrate Pathology


Since 2000

  • Kajla M.K., Andreeva O., Gilbreath T.M. and Paskewitz S.M.  Characterization of expression, activity and role in antibacterial immunity of Anopheles gambiae lysozyme c-1.  Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology. Part B.  2010.  155:201-209.
  • Hughes T., Irwin P., Hofmeister E., and Paskewitz S.M.  Occurrence of avian Plasmodium and West Nile virus in Culex spp. in Wisconsin.  Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association. 2010. 26:24-31.
  • Irwin P. and Paskewitz S.M.  Investigation of fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) as a biological control agent of Culex mosquitoes under laboratory and field conditions.  Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association. 25:301-309. 2009.
  • Hughes T.H., Irwin P.M.,  Kaufman A., Sage H., and Paskewitz S.M. First records of Aedes japonicus japonicus in Wisconsin.  Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association.  24:583-584. 2008.
  • Paskewitz S.M., and Andreev O.  Silencing the genes for dopa decarboxylase or dopachrome conversion enzyme reduces melanization of foreign targets in Anopheles gambiae.  Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology  Part B. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.  150:403-408. 2008.
  • Paskewitz S.M., Li B., and Kajla M.  Cloning and molecular characterization of two invertebrate type lysozymes fromAnopheles gambiae. Insect Molecular Biology.  17:217-225.  2008.
  • Irwin P., Arcari C., Hausbeck J., and Paskewitz S.M. The urban wet landscape as mosquito habitat in the upper Midwest.  Ecohealth.  5:49-57. 2008.
  • Patchara  Sriwichai, Yupha  Rongsriyam, Narissara Jariyapan, Chamnarn Apiwathnasorn, Jetsumon  Sattabongkot, and Susan Paskewitz.  Cloning of three serine protease genes from the South East Asian malaria vector, Anopheles dirus, and their expression in relation to blood feeding and parasite infection. Developmental and Comparative Immunology.  32:1011-1014. 2008.
  • Waterhouse R.M., Xi Z., Kriventseva E., Meister S., Alvarez K.S., Bartholomay L.C., Barillas-Mury C., Bian G., Blandin S., Christensen B.M., Dong Y., Jiang H., Kanost M., Koutsos A.C., Levashina E.A., Li J., Ligoxygakis P., MacCallum R., Mayhew G.F., Mendes A., Michel K., Osta M., Paskewitz S., Shin S.W., Vlachou D., Wang L., Wei W., Zheng L., Zou Z., Severson D.W., Raikhel A.S., Kafatos F.C., Dimopoulos G., Zdobnov E., and Christophides G.K.  Evolutionary dynamics of immune-related genes and pathways in disease vector mosquitoes.   Science 316: 1738-1743. 2007.
  • Dasgupta R., Zietlow S., Paskewitz S.M., Aksoy S., Shi L., and Christensen, B.M. Multiplication of Flock House virus in a wide range of medically important insects.  Journal of Medical Entomology.  44:102-120. 2007.
  • Li B and Paskewitz S.M. A role for lysozyme in melanization of Sephadex beads in Anopheles gambiae.   Journal of Insect Physiology.  52: 936-942. 2006.
  • Paskewitz S., Andreev O. and Shi L.  Gene silencing of serine proteases affects melanization of Sephadex beads in Anopheles gambiae.  Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.  36: 701-711. 2006.
  • Cardoz, Yasmin, Paskewitz, Susan and Raffa, Ken.  Travelling through time and space on wings of beetles: a tripartite insect-fungi-nematode association.  Symbiosis. 41: 71-80.  2006.
  • Shi L., Li B., and Paskewitz S.M. Cloning and characterization of a putative phenoloxidase inhibitor (POI) from Anopheles gambiae.  Insect Molecular Biology. 15:313-320. 2006.
  • Li B., Huang Y., and Paskewitz S.M.  Hen egg white lysozyme as an inhibitor of mushroom tyrosinase.  FEBS Letters 250:1877-1882. 2006.
  • Shi L and Paskewitz S.M.  Proteomics and insect immunity.  Invertebrate Survival Journal  3:4-17. 2006.
  • Li Bin, Calvo, E., Marinotti O., James A.A. and Paskewitz S.M.  Characterization of the c-type lysozyme gene family inAnopheles gambiae. Gene. 360:131-139. 2005.
  • Ives, A. R. and Paskewitz S.M.  Testing “Vitamin B” as a Home Remedy Against Mosquitoes.  Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association  21:213-217. 2005.
  • Paskewitz S.M. and Shi L.  Bypassing the midgut results in development of Plasmodium berghei oocysts in a refractory strain of Anopheles gambiae Giles (Diptera: Culicidae).  J. Medical Entomology. 42:712-715. 2005.
  • Paskewitz S.M. and Shi L.  The hemolymph proteome ofAnopheles gambiae.  Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology  35:815-824. 2005.
  • Shi, L. and Paskewitz S.M. Identification and molecular characterization of two immune-responsive chitinase-like proteins fromAnopheles gambiae.  Insect Molecular Biology  13:387-398. 2004.
  • Shukla S.,  Vandermause M.F., Belongia E.A., Reed K.D., Paskewitz S.M., and Kazmierczak J.  Primer Specificity and PCR Detection of Anaplasma phagocytophila among Ixodes scapularis Ticks from Wisconsin.  Journal of Clinical Microbiology  41:4006. 2003.
  • Christophides, G.K., Zdobnov E., Barillas C., Blandin S., Blass C., Brey P.T., Collins F.H., Danielli A., Dimopoulos G., Hetru C., Hoa N.T., Hoffmann J.A., Kanzok S.M., Letunic I., Levashina E., Loukeris T.G., Luna C., Lycett G., Meister S., Michel K., Moita L.F., Mueller H., Osta M., Paskewitz S.M., Reichhart J., Rzhetsky A., Troxler L., Vernick K.D., Vlachou D., Volz J., Mering C., Xu J., Zheng L., Bork P., Kafatos F.C.  Immunity related genes and gene families in Anopheles gambiae: A comparative genomic analysis.  Science  298: 159-165.  2002.
  • Guerra M.A., Stancil A., Walker, E.D., Jones C.J., Paskewitz S., Beck L., Bobo M. and Kitron U.  Habitat suitability for Ixodes scapularis ticks in the north-central U.S.: role of geology, vegetation and climate. Emerging Infectious Diseases  8:289-297. 2002.
  • Gorman M.J. and Paskewitz S.M.  Serine proteases as mediators of mosquito immune responses. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology  31:257-262.  2001.
  • Paskewitz, S.M., Vandermause M., Belongia E. A. and Kazmierczak J.J.  Ixodes scapularis (Acari: Ixodidae): abundance and rate of infection with Borrelia burgdorferi in four state parks in Wisconsin.  Journal of Medical Entomology 38:33-38.  2001.
  • Gorman M.J., Andreeva O.V. and Paskewitz S.M.  Sp22D: a multidomain serine protease with a putative role in insect immunity.  Gene  251:9-17.  2000.
  • Gorman M.J. and Paskewitz S. M. Persistence of infection in mosquitoes injected with bacteria.   Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 75:296-297. 2000.
  • Chun J., McMaster, J., Han Y.S., Schwartz A. and Paskewitz S.M. Two-dimensional gel analysis of hemolymph proteins from Plasmodium-melanizing and non-melanizing strains of Anopheles gambiae.  Insect Molecular Biology 9:39-45.  2000.
  • Gorman M.J., Andreeva O. and Paskewitz S.M. Molecular characterization of five serine protease genes cloned from Anopheles gambiae hemolymph. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.  30:35-46. 2000.

Program Info

Please visit the Paskewitz laboratory website for information about our research program:

Please visit the MCEVBD website for information about the CDC Midwest Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Disease: