wanner pic final

Kevin Wanner

Associate Professor, Ph.D. 2004,
University of British Columbia

Office: Marsh Labs Room 8
Lab: Marsh Labs Room 10 or Plant BioScience Room 333

Office phone:406-994-5663
Lab Phone: 406-994-7267 or 994-5146

Fax: 406-994-7600
Email: kwanner@montana.edu


My basic research focuses on the genomics and functional characterization of the insect chemical senses, in relation to insect chemical ecology, including sex pheromone communication. The last decade has witnessed tremendous progress in our understanding of the molecular and neurological mechanisms of olfaction, including the identification of chemoreceptors, a large family of novel ligand-gated ion channels expressed in sensory neurons that detect chemical stimuli in the environment. My lab utilizes whole genome sequencing, RNAseq, gene annotation, gene phylogeny and real-time PCR to study olfactory related insect genes. Odorant and gustatory receptor (Ors and Grs) genes are expressed in Xenopus oocytes to characterize their activation by chemical stimuli. My applied field research focuses on developing Integrated Pest Management (IPM tools) for insect pests damaging agricultural crops. Wireworms, the soil inhabiting larval stage of click beetles, are severe pests of small grain crops and represent a current focus. Molecular methods are incorporated with applied entomology research.

Area of Responsibility

Primary responsibility is to conduct basic and applied research of insect pests damaging agronomic crops in the region. Secondary responsibility is to provide off campus education for the management of insect pests damaging crops in Montana, as the Extension Specialist for cropland entomology.


  • Ph.D., 2004, University of British Columbia, Department of Plant Science, Vancouver, B.C.
  • Master of Pest Management, 1994, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, B.C.
  • B.Sc. (Honors Biology), 1990, University of Victoria, Victoria, B.C.

Memberships in Professional Associations

  • Association for Chemoreception Sciences
  • Entomological Society of Canada
  • Entomological Society of America

Recent Professional Activities

Member of the MSU Molecular Biosciences Program

Member of the U of Montana Center for Structural and Functional Neuroscience

Co-Convener for a section on Molecular Basis of Insect Learning and Behavior, International Congress of Entomology (ICE) 2016, Orlando, Florida, USA.

Publications to Present

Refereed Journals

Etzler, F.E., Wanner, K.W., Morales-Rodriquez, A. and Ivie, M.A.  2014. DNA barcoding to improve the species level management of wireworms. J. Economic Entomology, 107(4):1476-85.

Morales-Rodriguez, A. and Wanner, K.W. 2014. Efficacy of thiamethoxam and fipronil, applied alone and in combination, to control Limonius californicus and Hypnoidus bicolor. Pest Management Science. doi: 10.1002/ps.3877. [Epub ahead of print]

Morales-Rodriguez, A., O’Neill, R.P. and Wanner, K.W. 2014. A Survey of Wireworm (Coleoptera: Elateridae) Species Infesting Cereal Crops in Montana. Pan-Pacific Entomologist. 90(3): 116–125.

Gress, J.C., Robertson, H.M., Weaver, D,K., Dlakić, M. and Wanner, K.W. 2013. Odorant Receptors of a Primitive Hymenopteran Pest, the Wheat Stem Sawfly. Insect Molecular Biology, 22(6):659-67.

Leary, G.P., Allen, J.E., Bunger, P.L., Luginbill, J.B., Linn, C.E. Jr, Macallister, I.E., Kavanaugh, M.P., Wanner1, K.W. 2012. Single mutation to a sex pheromone receptor provides adaptive specificity between closely related moth species. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U S A. 109(35):14081-6. 1 Wanner, communicating author.

Landolt, P.J., Brumley, J.A., Guedot, C., Wanner, K.W. and Morales, A. 2011. Male Fishia yosemitae (Grote) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) captured in traps baited with Z-7-dodecenyl acetate and Z-9-tetradecenyl acetate. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society. 84:184-189.

Coates, B.S., Bayles, D.O., Wanner, K.W., Robertson, H.M., Hellmich, R.L. and Sappington T.W. 2011. The application and performance of single nucleotide polymorphism markers for population genetic analyses of Lepidoptera. Frontiers in Genetics. 2:38.

Lassance, J.M., Bogdanowicz, S.M., Wanner, K.W., Löfstedt, C. and Harrison, R.G. 2011. Gene genealogies reveal differentiation at sex pheromone olfactory receptor loci in pheromone strains of the European corn borer, Ostrinia nubilalis. Evolution. 65:1583-1593.

Garczynski, S.F., Wanner, K.W. and Unruh, T.R. 2011. Identification and initial characterization of the 3’ end of gene transcripts encoding putative members of the pheromone receptor subfamily in Lepidoptera. Insect Science. 19:64-74.

Allen, J.E. and Wanner, K.W. 2011. Asian corn borer pheromone binding protein 3, a candidate for evolving specificity to the 12-tetradecenyl acetate sex pheromone. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 41:141-149.

Bromenshenk, J.J., Henderson, C.B., Wick, C.H., Stanford, M.F., Zulich, A.W., Jabbour, R.E., Deshpande, S.V., McCubbin, P.E., Seccomb, R.A., Williams, T. Firth, D.R., Skowronski, E., Lehmann, M.M., Bilimoria, S.L., Gress, J., Wanner, K.W. and Cramer Jr., R.A. 2010. Iridovirus and Microsporidian Linked to Honey Bee Colony Decline. PLoS One. 5(10):e13181.

Ramsdell, K.M.M., Lyons-Sobaski, S.A., Robertson, H.M., Walden, K.K.O, Feder, J.L., Wanner, K. and Berlocher, S.H. 2010. Expressed sequence tags from cephalic chemosensory organs of the northern walnut husk fly, Rhagoletis suavis, including a putative canonical odorant receptor.
Journal of Insect Science. 10:51.

Robertson, H.M., Gadau, J., Wanner, K.W. 2010. The insect chemoreceptor superfamily of the parasitoid jewel wasp Nasonia vitripennis. Insect Molecular Biology. 2010 Feb;19 Suppl 1:121-36.

Nasonia Genome Working Group.* 2010. Functional and evolutionary insights from the genomes of three parasitoid Nasonia species. Science. 2010 Jan 15;327(5963):343-8.
* Werren J.H., Richards S., Desjardins C.A., Niehuis O., Gadau J., Colbourne J.K. et al. (including Wanner, K.W.).

Wanner, K.W., Nichols, A.S., Allen, J.E., Bunger, P.L., Garczynski, S.F., Linn, C.E., Robertson, H.M. and Luetje, C.W. 2010. Sex Pheromone Receptor Specificity in the European Corn Borer Moth, Ostrinia nubilalis. PLoS ONE. Jan 13;5(1):e8685.

Mooney, A.C., Robertson H.M. and Wanner K.W. 2009. Neonate silkworm (Bombyx mori) larvae are attracted to mulberry (Morus alba) leaves with conspecific feeding damage. Journal of Chemical Ecology. 35:552-559.

Anderson, A.R., Wanner, K.W., Trowell, S.C., Warr, C.G., Jaquin-Joly, E., Zagatti, P., Robertson, H., Newcomb, R.D. 2009. Molecular basis of female-specific odorant responses in Bombyx mori. Insect Biochem. Mol. Biol. 39:189-97.

Wanner, K.W. and Robertson H.M. 2008. The gustatory receptor family in the silkworm moth Bombyx mori is characterized by a large expansion of a single lineage of putative bitter receptors. Insect Molecular Biology 17:621-9.

Wanner, K.W., Nichols, A.S., Walden, K.K.O., Brockmann, A., Luetje, C.W. and Robertson, H.M. 2007. A honeybee odorant receptor for the queen substance, 9-oxo-2-decenoic acid. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U.S.A. Sep 4; 104(36):14383-8.

  • Reviewed in “This Week In PNAS, In This Issue”, Sep 4; 104(36):14175-6.
  • Reviewed in “Spotlight” ACS Chemical Biology 2 (10), 642–645 (www.acschemicalbiology.org).
  • Reviewed by the faculty of 1000 (http://www.facultyof1000.com/).

Wanner, K.W., Anderson, A.R., Trowell, S.C., Theilmann, D.A., Robertson, H.M. and Newcomb, R.D. 2007. Female-biased expression of odorant receptor genes in the adult antennae of the silkworm, Bombyx mori. Insect Molecular Biology. 16:107-19.

Forêt, S., Wanner, K.W. and Maleszka, R. 2007. Chemosensory proteins in the honey bee: insights from the annotated genome, comparative analyses and expressional profiling.  Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. 37:19-28.

Robertson, H.M. and Wanner, K.W. 2006. The chemoreceptor superfamily in the honey bee Apis mellifera: expansions of the odorant, but not gustatory, receptor families. Genome Research. 16(11):1395-403.

  • Reviewed by the faculty of 1000 (http://www.facultyof1000.com/).

Wanner, K.W., Isman, M.B., Feng, Q. Plettner, E. and Theilmann, D.A. 2005. Developmental expression patterns of four chemosensory protein genes from the Eastern spruce budworm, Choristoneura fumiferana. Insect Molecular Biology. 14:289-300.

Wanner, K.W., Willis, L.G., Theilmann, D.A., Isman, M.B., Feng, Q. and Plettner, E.
2004. Analysis of the insect os-d-like [chemosensory protein] gene family. Journal of Chemical Ecology 30:883-905.

Wanner, K.W., Helson, B.V. and Harris, B.J. 2002. Laboratory evaluation of two novel strategies to control first-instar gypsy moth larvae with spinosad applied to tree trunks. Pest Management Science 58:817-824.

Helson, B.V. , Lyons, B.D., Wanner, K.W. and Scarr, TA. 2001. Development and validation of a pressurized tree injection device for systemic application of neem-based bioinsecticides to large conifer trees for control of foliage-feeding insects. Canadian Entomologist 133:729-744.

Wanner, K.W., Helson, B.V. and Harris, B.J. 2000. Laboratory and field evaluation of spinosad against the gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar. Pesticide Science 56:855-860.

Wanner, K.W., Kostyk, B.C. and Helson, B.V. 1999. Recommendations for control of cone and seed insect pests of black spruce, Picea mariana (Mill.) B.S.P., with insecticides. Forestry Chronicle 75:685-691.

Wanner, K.W., Helson, B.V. and Kostyk, B.C. 1997. Foliar and systemic applications of neem seed extract for control of spruce budworm, Choristoneura fumiferana (Clem.) (Lepidoptera:Tortricidae), infesting black and white spruce seed orchards. Canadian Entomologist 129:645-655.

Kostyk, B.C. and Wanner, K.W. 1997. Control of insect damage to black spruce seed cones with neem. Northern Journal of Applied Forestry 14(1):40-43.

Wanner, K.W. and Kostyk, B.C. 1995. Evaluation of a neem seed extract against spruce budworm, Choristoneura fumiferana (Clem.), in white spruce, Picea glauca (Moench) Voss., seed orchards. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Ontario 126:91-93.

Books and Book Chapters

Wanner, K.W. and Robertson, H.M. 2008. Odorant and gustatory receptor gene families in the Lepidoptera. In: Molecular biology and genetics of Lepidoptera. Editors, Marian R. Goldsmith and Frantisek Marec. CRC Press, to be published in 2008.