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Department of Biology

Department of Biology Mission Statement

The mission of the Department of Biology is to contribute to the comprehensive liberal arts curriculum by fostering in students an appreciation of the relevance of the biological sciences to their lives and the choices they will be faced with as members of a society experiencing rapid technological advances. To this end, students will develop knowledge and skills that will enable them to evaluate the impact of their decisions on local, regional and global issues concerning the economy, personal health and welfare, and the environment. Students completing the biology major will be prepared for entry-level careers in science or to pursue advanced training in graduate and professional schools. To fulfill the mission, the biology curriculum is designed to address seven goals:

  • To provide an understanding of the mechanics, application and limitations of the scientific process
  • Develop an appreciation and understanding of evolution and the diversity of life
  • Demonstrate the relationships between structure, function and energy in living systems
  • Culture an appreciation for the historical development of scientific knowledge
  • Instruct students in effective utilization of discipline-specific information resources
  • Develop technical and analytical skills appropriate to modern biological investigation
  • Enhance both written and oral communication skills appropriate to the discipline

Dr. James Ferrari

Professor

email: jferrari@csusb.edu

B.A., Queens College, City University of New York
M.S., University of California Riverside
Ph.D., University of California Riverside


Research Interests:

Population genetics.

Insecticide resistance is a serious obstacle to the effective control of insect vectors of disease. While resistance has long been recognized as an evolutionary phenomenon, we know relatively little about the genetic and population processes which influence the dynamics of genes for resistance in populations.

In the mosquito Culex quinquefasciatus, resistance to organophosphate insecticides is associated with a highly active esterase allozyme, designated EST-B1. The molecular basis of high esterase activity in resistant individuals is high esterase enzyme titer, due to amplification (increase in copy number) of the EST-B1 gene. Individuals from a highly resistant strain can carry 250 times the number of EST-B1 gene copies, and exhibit 120 times the esterase activity of susceptible individuals.

The overall objective of my current research is to understand the genetic processes and evolutionary forces influencing the dynamics of amplified EST-B1 genes in populations. Under funding from the National Institutes of Health we are investigating how genetic processes interact with insecticidal selection to produce individuals with high esterase activity, the stability properties of these high activity phenotypes, and how esterase activity phenotype affects reproductive fitness in the presence and absence of insecticide. The long-term goal of my work is to provide the information necessary to design vector control strategies which minimize the rate of evolution of resistance.

Representative Publications:

Ferrari, J. A. 2015. Genetic characterization of esterase activity variants associated with an esterase gene amplification in a strain of Culex pipiens from California. J. Am. Mosq. Contr Assoc. 31: 7-15

Wirth, M. C., J. A. Ferrari, and G. P. Georghiou 2001. Baseline susceptibility to bacterial insecticides in populations of Culex pipiens complex (Diptera:Culicidae) from California and from the Mediterranean Island of Cyprus. J. Econ. Entomol. 94: 920-928

Ferrari, J. A. 2001. Response of a low level gene amplification to organophosphate selection in Culex pipiens. Resistant Pest Management 11:37.

Ferrari, J. A. 1996. Chapter 30: Insecticide Resistance. In: Biology of Disease Vectors. B.J. Beaty and W.C. Marquardt (eds.), University of Colorado Press.

Ferrari, J. A., J. G. Morse, G. P. Georghiou, and Y. Sun. 1993. Elevated esterase activity and acetylcholinesterase insensitivity in citrus thirps (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) populations from the San Joaquin Valley of California. J. Econ. Entomol. 86: 1645-1650.

Ferrari, J. A. and G. P. Georghiou. 1991. Quantitative genetic variation of esterase activity associated with a gene amplification in Culex quinquefasciatus. Heredity 66: 265-272.

Ferrari, J. A. and G. P. Georghiou. 1990. Esterase activity variation within and among insecticide resistant, susceptible, and heterozygous strains of Culex quinquefasciatus. J. Econ. Entomol. 83: 1704-1710.

Ferrari, J. A. and K. S. Rai. 1989. Phenotypic correlates of C-value differences among strains of Aedes albopictus. Evolution 43: 895-899.

Ferrari, J. A. and G. P. Georghiou. 1988. Preliminary genetic studies of esterase activity variation associated with organophosphate resistance in Culex quinquefasciatus. Proc. Calif. Mosq. and Vector Control Assoc. 56: 204-207.

Black, W. C., IV, J. A. Ferrari, K. S. Rai and D. Sprenger. 1988. Breeding structure of a colonizing species: Aedes albopictus in the United States. Heredity 60: 173-181.

Ferrari, J. A. 1987. Components of genetic variation associated with second and third chromosome gene arrangements in Drosophila melanogaster. Genetics 116: 87-97.

Taylor, C. E., A. Pereda and J. A. Ferrari. 1987. On the correlation of mating success and offspring quality in Drosophila melanogaster. Am. Nat. 129: 721-729.

Ferrari, J. A. and G. P. Georghiou. 1981. Effects of insecticidal selection and treatment on the reproductive potential of resistant, susceptible, and heterozygous strains of the southern house mosquito. J. Econ. Entomol. 74: 323-327.

Ferrari, J. A. and C. E. Taylor. 1981. Hierarchical patterns of chromosome variation in Drosophila subobscura. Evolution 35: 391-394.


Courses

BIOL 321 - Evolution
BIOL 202 - Biology of Populations
BIOL 421/422 - Genetics & Genetics Lab

Department of Biology | CSUSB CNS https://www.googletagmanager.com/ns.html?id=GTM-NNF3VL8

Department of Biology

Department of Biology Mission Statement

The mission of the Department of Biology is to contribute to the comprehensive liberal arts curriculum by fostering in students an appreciation of the relevance of the biological sciences to their lives and the choices they will be faced with as members of a society experiencing rapid technological advances. To this end, students will develop knowledge and skills that will enable them to evaluate the impact of their decisions on local, regional and global issues concerning the economy, personal health and welfare, and the environment. Students completing the biology major will be prepared for entry-level careers in science or to pursue advanced training in graduate and professional schools. To fulfill the mission, the biology curriculum is designed to address seven goals:

  • To provide an understanding of the mechanics, application and limitations of the scientific process
  • Develop an appreciation and understanding of evolution and the diversity of life
  • Demonstrate the relationships between structure, function and energy in living systems
  • Culture an appreciation for the historical development of scientific knowledge
  • Instruct students in effective utilization of discipline-specific information resources
  • Develop technical and analytical skills appropriate to modern biological investigation
  • Enhance both written and oral communication skills appropriate to the discipline