Dr. Todd Schlenke

Associate Professor
Positions and Education: 

Associate Professor, Entomology, University of Arizona, 2016-present

Visiting Associate Professor, Biology, Reed College, 2013-2016

Assistant Professor, Biology, Emory University, 2006-2013

Postdoc, Molecular Biology and Genetics, Cornell University, 2002-2005

Postdoc, Population Biology, UC Davis, 2001-2002

PhD, Zoology, UT Austin, 1996-2001

BS, Integrative Biology, UC Berkeley, 1991-1995

Research Interests: 

My research interests are rooted in evolutionary biology but span multiple disciplines in biology. At the heart of my research program is the use of fruit flies in the genus Drosophila to understand the evolutionary genetics of host-parasite interactions. For example, we have developed several species of endoparasitoid wasps, which are readily observed infecting Drosophila in nature and can be very specialized to particular host species, as model parasites. These wasps lay single eggs in Drosophila larvae and, once hatched, consume flies from the inside out. Flies mount cellular and behavioral defense responses against wasps, but wasps have adaptations for finding host fly larvae, suppressing host cellular immunity, and manipulating host behavior. I use a variety of "omics" tools to understand the molecular genetics of fly cellular immunity and wasp virulence, as well as patterns of host immunity and pathogen virulence coevolution across fly and wasp phylogenies. I am also making inroads into the evolution, genetics, and neurobiology of behaviors that flies use to avoid being infected by the wasps and to cure themselves once they are infected, including various self-medication behaviors.

Selected Publications: 

Fruit flies diversify their offspring in response to parasite infection

Singh ND, Criscoe DR, Skolfield S, Kohl KP, Keebaugh ES, Schlenke TA

Science 349, 747-750 (2015)


A role for nematocytes in the cellular immune response of the Drosophilid Zaprionus indianus

Kacsoh BZ, Bozler J, Schlenke TA

Parasitology 141, 697-715 (2014)


Insights from natural host-parasite interactions: The Drosophila model

Keebaugh ES, Schlenke TA

Developmental and Comparative Immunology 42, 111-123 (2013)


Parasitoid wasp venom SERCA regulates Drosophila calcium levels and inhibits cellular immunity

Mortimer NT, Goecks J, Kacsoh BZ, Mobley JA, Bowersock GJ, Taylor J, Schlenke TA

PNAS 110, 9427-9432 (2013)


Integrative approach reveals composition of endoparasitoid wasp venoms

Goecks J, Mortimer NT, Mobley JA, Bowersock GJ, Taylor J, Schlenke TA

PLoS One 8, e64125 (2013)


Fruit flies medicate offspring after seeing parasites

Kacsoh BZ, Lynch ZR, Mortimer NT, Schlenke TA

Science, 339, 947-950 (2013)


Mgat1-dependent N-glycosylation of membrane components primes Drosophila melanogaster blood cells for the cellular encapsulation response

Mortimer NT, Kacsoh BZ, Keebaugh ES, Schlenke TA

PLoS Pathogens, 8, e1002819 (2012)


High hemocyte load is associated with increased resistance against parasitoids in Drosophila suzukii, a relative of D. melanogaster

Kacsoh BZ, Schlenke TA

PLoS One 7, e34721 (2012)


Alcohol consumption as self-medication against blood-borne parasites in the fruit fly

Milan N, Kacsoh BZ, Schlenke TA

Current Biology 22, 488-493 (2012)


Defence strategies against a parasitoid wasp in Drosophila: fight or flight?

Lefevre T, de Roode JC, Kacsoh BZ, Schlenke TA

Biology Letters 8, 230-233 (2012)


Adaptive evolution of a novel Drosophila lectin induced by parasitic wasp attack

Keebaugh ES, Schlenke TA

Molecular Biology and Evolution, 29, 565-577 (2012)


Contrasting infection strategies in generalist and specialist wasp parasitoids of Drosophila melanogaster

Schlenke TA, Morales J, Govind S, Clark AG

PLoS Pathogens 3, 1-16 (2007)


Linkage disequilibrium and recent selection in three potential pattern recognition receptor loci in Drosophila simulans

Schlenke TA, Begun DJ

Genetics 169, 2013-2022 (2005)


Strong selective sweep associated with a transposon insertion in Drosophila simulans

Schlenke TA, Begun DJ

PNAS 101, 1626-1631 (2004)


Natural selection drives Drosophila immune system evolution

Schlenke TA, Begun DJ

Genetics 164, 1471-1490 (2003)

Contact Information

Lab Phone: 
(520) 621-3777
Office Phone: 
(520) 621-7167
Office Location: 
Lab Location: