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Max Scott

Professor of Entomology

Genetic Pest Management

1542B Thomas Hall


My interests are the control of gene expression and application of this knowledge to develop engineered strains for genetic control programs. Recent projects include developing male-only strains of the livestock pests, Lucilia cuprina (the Australian sheep blowfly) and Cochliomyia hominivorax (the New World screwworm) and also for spotted wing Drosophila, an invasive pest of soft- skinned fruit. We are also working on developing gene drive systems for suppression of these pests and for replacement of Aedes aegypti populations with mosquitoes that cannot transmit disease. A new project for 2018 is on engineering insects that vector viruses that infect maize.


Our main interest is in developing transgenic “male-only” strains of insect pests for genetic control programs.  For example, we have developed strains of flies that are pests of livestock (e.g. New World screwworm), which carry genetic systems that cause female lethality unless tetracycline is added to the diet.  We are also interested in developing genetic systems for replacing mosquito populations with strains that have a reduced capacity to transmit diseases such as dengue fever.  Our applied work is underpinned by fundamental research on the regulation of gene expression in the model insect Drosophila melanogaster.  For example, we have investigated how the MSL chromatin-modifying complex regulates X-linked gene expression and the importance of histone modifying enzymes in long-term memory.

Visit my Lab –


ENT 506/591/791, GN 895, GES 506: “Genetic Pest Management”
GN810: Genetics colloquium on “Epigenetics”

Selected Publications:

  • Li, F., Vensko II, S.P., Belikoff, E.J. and Scott, M.J. (2013) Conservation and sex-specific splicing of the transformer gene in the calliphorids Cochliomyia hominivoraxCochliomyia macellaria and Lucilia sericataPLOS ONE, 8(2):e56303.
  • Concha, C., Belikoff, E.J., Carey, B., Li, F., Schiemann, A.H., and Scott, M.J. (2011) Efficient germ-line transformation of the economically important pest species Lucilia cuprina and Lucilia sericata (Diptera, Calliphoridae). Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology41: 70-75.
  • Fitzsimons, H.L. and Scott, M.J. (2011) Genetic modulation of Rpd3 expression impairs long-term courtship memory in DrosophilaPLoS ONE6(12): e29171.
  • Li, F., Schiemann, A.H. and Scott, M.J. (2008) Incorporation of the non-coding roX RNAs alters the chromatin binding specificity of the DrosophilaMSL1/MSL2 complex. Mol. Cell. Biol. 28: 1252-1264.
  • Heinrich, J.C. and Scott, M.J. (2000) A repressible female-specific lethal genetic system for making transgenic insect strains suitable for a sterile-release program. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA97: 8229-8232.


Ph.D, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston
Postdoctoral, University of North Carolina at Chapel kill and Heralion, Greece