Institute for Integrative Genome Biology


Peter AtkinsonPeter Atkinson

Professor of Entomology;
CNAS Divisional Dean, Life Sciences and Facilities

Mailing Address:

Genomics Building /2234A
University of California
Riverside, CA 92521

Phone: (951) 827-4782
Fax: (951) 827-3086
Email: peteratk@ucr.edu
UCR Living the Promise Profile (2010)


PhD 1986 University of Melbourne
BSc 1979 University of Melbourne

College/Division Affiliation:

College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences

Center/Inst Affiliation(s):

Center for Conservation Biology
Center for Disease Vector Research

Areas Of Expertise:

Structure and Function of Transposons; Mosquito Genomics with Emphasis on the Culex Genome Project; Gene Drive in Mosquitoes; Environmental Impacts of GMO Release with Respect to Insects; The Use of Transposons in Human Gene Therapy

Awards / Honors:

2006-2010  Member, NIAID panel on Vector Biology
2006-present  Director, UCR Center for Disease Vector Research
2004-2006  Member AD HOC NIH panel on Tropical Medicine and Parasitology
2004   Associate Director, UCR Institute for Integrative Genome Biology
2003   Interim Director, UCR Genomics Institute
2001-2003  Associate Director, UCR Genomics Institute
1999 to present  Editorial Board, Insect Molecular Biology
1999 to present  Editorial Board, Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Research Summary:

My research program focuses on understanding transposable element structure and function with particular regard as to how transposons interact with new host genomes,   These are important questions that address basic questions about transposon performance as well as applied questions concerning the ability of transposons to achieve high frequency stable genetic transformation of mosquitoes as well as acting as gene drivers of beneficial genes through mosquito populations.  The outcomes of these studies also have applications in human gene therapy in which transposons are now being developed as gene vectors in medicine. The desire to control both the rate of transposition and the site specificity of transposition invitably leads us to examine how transposons work and how they interact with their host genomes.  The outcomes of these studies will provide data which will enable sensible estimates of the level of risk associated with the use of transposons in mosquito-vectored disease control and in human medicine to be made.

Related Press Releases:

Selected Publications:

List of publications from PubMed

Lab Personnel: +

Arensburger, Peter
Research Scientist — Peter is the curator of the Culex pipiens genome project and has written algorithms that have enabled the identification of active hAT transposons from insects and other metazoans.
Arias, Margarita
Laboratory Assistant — Margarita maintains mosquito colonies and also introduces genes into Anophelines.
Russell, Stephanie
Staff Research Associate — Stephanie transforms flies and mosquitoes with transposon constructs and also generates, screens, isolates and chaarcterizes hyperactive transposases using a yeast-based genetic system.
Friedli, Lisa
Graduate Student — Lisa examines whether autonmous Hermes transposons can move through a Drosophila population and also investigates the role of methylation in controlling transposition in Drosophila and mosquitoes.
Kahlon, Amandeep
Graduare Student - Cell, Molecular and Developmental Biology Program — Amnadeep is characterizing the molecular properties of the active Herves transposase from the mosquito Anopheles gambiae and also investigates new approaches to Culex transformation..
Knapp, Joshua
Graduate Student - Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Program — Josh investigates the structure and function of AeBuster1 and TcBuster1 transposases and is also using REBA to examine the non-specific DNA binding of the Hermes transposase.
Perumalsamy, Alagamamal
Graduate Student Researcher — Ala uses a yeast one hybrid system to identify host factors that interact with the Hermes and Herves transposons and clones candidate genes. She then confirms specific interactions using DNA binding or in vitro activity assays.
Smith, Ryan
Graduate Student — Ryan has developed a male specific sexing system for mosquitoes and now examines whether this can be used to drive transposons through a mosquito population.
Wang, Xiao-hong
Graduate Student Researcher — Xiao-hong examines the RNAi response to viral infection in Drosophila.

More Information

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Career OpportunitiesUCR Libraries
Campus StatusDirections to UCR

Genomics Information

Institute of Integrative Genome Biology
2150 Batchelor Hall

Tel: (951) 827-7177
E-mail: Aurelia Espinoza, Managing Director