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 Joseph
Joseph "Dick" Dickens
Visiting Research Scholar
Profile

The aim of research in my lab is to understand the neural bases of behavior of arthropods, especially disease vectors including ticks and mosquitoes.  Sensory neurons involved in host selection are characterized using electrophysiological recordings and their role in behavior is determined through behavioral experiments to multimodal stimuli.  An understanding of the neural pathways involved in detection of chemical and physical stimuli provides the framework for discovery of novel behavioral antagonists and candidate compounds aimed at protection of animals, including humans, and plant crops.

Students

Mentored 9 post-doctoral research associates, 6 Ph.D. students (University of Missouri, Mississippi State University, University of Maine, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (2), and Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brasil), 6 M.S. degree students [University of Georgia, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (2), and Towson University (3)], and 17 high school students (senior science projects completed during school year in incumbent’s lab).  Guidance and counseling of graduate students and post-docs resulted in their production of 37 referred publications, four book chapters and one patent while in his laboratory.

Grants and Fellowships

Funded grants: Total = $2,624,308

Awards

Distinguished Graduate Student Award, (For outstanding Ph. D. student in College of Agriculture and Life Sciences), by Former Students Association, Texas A&M University, 1977

Outstanding Alumnus of the Department of Entomology 2016, by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, 2016

Community Service

Editorial Boards

Member of the founding editorial board of “Agricultural and Forest Entomology,” an international journal of the Royal Entomological Society published by Blackwell Science, London. 

A Founding Editor of “Arthropod-Plant Interactions”, an international journal devoted to studies of insects, mites, and other arthropods with plants published by Springer Verlag, Germany. 

Academic Editor for “PLoS One”.

Selected Publications
Articles

Páez-Rondón, O., E. Aldana, J. Dickens and F. Otalora-luna. (2018) Ethological description of a fixed action pattern in a kissing bug (Triatominae): vision, gustation, proboscis extension and drinking of water and guavaJournal of Ethology 36: 107.
Sparks, J.T., G. Botsko, D.R. Swale, L.M. Boland, S.S. Patel, J.C. Dickens. (2018) Proteins mediating reception and transduction in chemosensory neurons in mosquitoes.  Frontiers in Physiology 9:1309.

Sablon, L., Dickens, J. C., Haubruge, E. and Verheggen, F. J. (2013) Chemical ecology of the Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata Say (Coleoptera : Chrysomelidae), and potential for alternative control methods.  Insects 2013 4 (1):31-54; doi:10.3390/insects4010031. 

Otalora-Luna, F., Lapointe, S. L. and Dickens, J. C. (2013) Olfactory cues are subordinate to visual stimuli in a neotropical generalist weevil.  PLoS ONE 8(1): e53120.  doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0053120. 

Sanford, J. L., Shields, V. D. C. and Dickens, J. C. (2013) Gustatory receptor neuron responds to DEET and other insect repellents in the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti.  Naturwiss. 100 (3):269-273.  

Bohbot, J. D., Durand, N. F., Vinyard, B. T. and Dickens, J. C. (2013) Functional development of the octenol response in Aedes aegypti.  Frontiers Invert. Physiol. 4:Article 39. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2013.00039. 

Dickens, J. C. and Bohbot, J. D. (2013) Mini review:  Mode of action of mosquito repellents.  Pestic. Biochem. Physiol. (2013), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pestbp.2013.02.006. 

Sparks, J. T., Vinyard, B. T. and Dickens, J. C. (2014) Gustatory receptor expression in the labella and tarsi of Aedes aegypti.  Insect Biochem. Molec. Biol. 43 (12):1161-1171. 

Sparks, J. T., Bohbot, J. D. and Dickens, J. C. (2014) The genetics of chemoreception in the labella and tarsi of Aedes aegypti.  Insect Biochem. Molec. Biol. 48 (2014):8-16. 

Bohbot, J. D., Sparks, J. T. and Dickens, J. C. (2014) The maxillary palp of Aedes aegypti, a model of multisensory integration.  Insect Biochem. Molec. Biol. 48 (2014):29-39. 

Dickens, J. C., Bohbot, J. D. and Sparks, J. T. (2014) Multiple chemosensory targets for discovery of novel chemicals for disruption of mosquito behavior.  Antenna 39:89-90. 

Sanford, J. L., Barski, S. A., Seen, C. M., Dickens, J. C. and Shields, V. D. C. (2014) Neurophysiological and behavioral responses of gypsy moth larvae to insect repellents:  DEET, IR3535, and Picaridin.  PLoS ONE 9(6): e99924. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0099924. 

Sparks, J. T. and Dickens, J. C.  2014.  Physiological recordings and RNA sequencing of the gustatory appendages of the yellow-fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti.  J. Vis. Exp. 94:e52088, doi:10.3791/52088. 

Lapointe, S. L., Khrimian, A., Dickens, J. C., Teal, P. E. A. and Kaplan, F. (2014) U.S. Patent Number  US8663621 B2.  Identification and synthesis of a male-produced pheromone for the neotropical root weevil Diaprepes abbreviatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae).  

Sparks, J. T. and Dickens, J. C. (2016) Electrophysiological responses of gustatory receptor neurons on the labella of the common malaria mosquito, Anopheles quadrimaculatus Say (Diptera: Culicidae).  J. Med. Entomol.  53: 1148-1155.  

Sparks, J. T. and Dickens, J. C. (2016) Bitter-sensitive gustatory receptor neuron responds to chemically diverse insect repellents in the common malaria mosquito Anopheles quadrimaculatus.  The Science of Nature (formerly Naturwissenschaften) 103: 39. DOI 10.1007/s00114-016-1367-y  

Sparks, J. T. and Dickens, J. C. (2017) Chemosensory responses to the repellent Nepeta essential oil and its major component nepetalactone by the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti, a vector of Zika virus.  J. Med. Entomol.  54: 957-963. 

Sparks, J. T. and Dickens, J. C. (2017) Mini Review: Gustatory reception of chemicals affecting feeding in aedine mosquitoes.  Pestic. Biochem. 142: 15-20. 

Paez-Rondon, O., Aldana, E., Dickens, J. and Otalora-Luna, F. (2018) Ethological description of a fixed action pattern in a kissing bug (Triatominae):  vision, gustation, proboscis extension and drinking of water and guava.  J. Ethol. 36: 107-116.

Chapters

Dickens, J. C., Bohbot, J. D. and Grant, A. J. (2013) Analysis of odorant receptor protein function in the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti, 11 pp.  In, Basic Methods in Protein Purification and Analysis.  iConcept Press.  ISBN: 978-14775550-5-7.  

Dickens, J. C. and Bohbot, J. D. (2015) Neuromolecular basis of repellent action, pp. 31-42.  In Debboun, M., Francis, S. P. and Strickman, D. (eds.)  Insect Repellents Handbook.  Second Edition.  CRC Press Taylor & Frances Group, Boca Raton, FL.  

Sparks, J. T., Bohbot, J. D. and Dickens, J. C. (2015) Olfactory disruption: Toward controlling important insect vectors of disease, pp. 81-108.  In Glatz, R. (ed.) Progress in Molecular Biology Translational Science, Vol. 130 (Molecular Basis of Olfaction).  Academic Press, Burlington.  

Additional Publications

Patents

Lapointe, S. L., Khrimian, A., Dickens, J. C. and Teal, P. E. A. (2013) Identification and synthesis of a male-produced pheromone for the neotropical root weevil Diapres abbreviatus.  U.S. Patent Application #20130189222.

Education
Ph.D., Texas A&M 1977
M.S., Virginia Tech 1972
B.A., University of Richmond 1969
Contact Information
B-316 Gottwald Center for the Sciences
(804) 289-8871
(804) 289-8233 (Fax)
Areas of Expertise
Neural bases of behavior
Chemoreception in insects
Sensory physiology of arthropod vectors of disease