The Al Downe Lecture
The Al Downe Lecture is funded from the Al Downe Memorial Fund which was initially established in 2007 via a generous donation from a former student in order to provide an opportunity for Queen’s students to experience the inspiration and knowledge of a high profile Lecturer. Subsequently the Fund has attracted donations from other students, colleagues, friends and family.
Aylward E.R. Downe
Al Downe, BSc (Alberta), MSc and PhD (Queen’s) was Fellow of the Entomological Society of Canada and of the New York Academy of Sciences. He taught at Kansas State and University of Saskatchewan, Regina before coming to Queen’s as an Associate Professor in 1967. He served as Head of the Department of Biology (1975-1980) and retired in 1993, but continued his association with the department until his death in 2002. Al Downe inspired generations of Queen’s Biology students in the classroom and also in the laboratory. His research on the biochemical and reproductive physiology of blood feeding insects was of the highest quality, and his great depth and breadth of knowledge was passed on to research students and undergraduates with rigor, energy, passion and much humor. Al was a gifted speaker, who shared his great enthusiasm for science in ways that stirred and motivated others. In recognition of this Al was awarded the 1992/93 Biology Department Student Council Award for Excellence in Teaching. It is thus fitting that he is remembered by bringing a high profile lecturer to speak to the Queen’s community on biology related topics.
2016 Al Downe Lecturer
Aylward E.R. Downe Memorial Lecture
The inside-view of reproductive interactions between males, females, & their molecules in Drosophila
Friday, April 1, 12:30 pm, School of Medicine Room 032A, Queen’s University
Physiological and behavioral changes in female animals during & after mating are induced by seminal fluid components, in conjunction with female-derived molecules. In insects, these physiological changes include increased egg production & ovulation, & regulated storage of sperm. These post-mating changes improve the reproductive capacity of the mated pair. Using a model insect like Drosophila, we can dissect how the changes occur. Using micro-CT scanning, we can see post-mating movements by reproductive organs; these movements regulate efficient gamete transit. Parallel molecular and genetic studies let us identify the seminal proteins that cause the post-mating changes, & the mechanisms through which they act. These findings provide a basic understanding of insect reproduction. They are also relevant to designing methods for control of insect-vectored diseases, & to evolutionary questions such as the basis for the rapid evolution of reproductive molecules.
Previous Al Downe Lecturers:
2014. Steve Whyard is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Manitoba.
Biotech vs Bugs - Exploring RNAi as a Strategy for Controlling Pests
2012. Angela E. Douglas is the Daljit S. and Elaine Sarkaria Professor of Insect Physiology and Toxicology at Cornell University.
Friends Within: Interactions Between Insects and Their Resident Microbiota.
2011. Anthony A. James – Distinguished Professor, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, University of California (Irvine).
Development of anti-pathogen effector genes for control of vector-borne diseases.
2010. Marla B. Sokolowski – Professor of Biology and Canada Research Chair in Genetics and Behavioural Neurology, University of Toronto (Mississauga).
The foraging gene: will that be to stay or to go?
2008. Peter F. Billingsley – Senior Director, Entomology and Quality Systems, Sanaria Inc., Rockville, MD.
Exploiting the immune interface between vectors and their hosts.