Bonning, a native of Derbyshire, UK, received her B.S. in zoology from the University of Durham, UK with specialization in entomology and neurobiology in 1985. She was then funded by Sumitomo Corporation to work on insecticide resistance in mosquitoes with Janet Hemingway at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London for her Ph.D. (1989), which included fieldwork conducted in Italy and work with the Anti-Malaria Campaign in Sri Lanka. She then moved to Oxford to work as a Higher Scientific Officer at the Natural Environment Research Council Institute of Virology with Robert Possee (1989 to 1990), followed by a postdoctoral position with Bruce Hammock, University of California, Davis (1990 to 1994), with a research focus for both positions on recombinant baculovirus insecticides.
She joined the faculty of ISU in 1994. She oversees fundamental and applied research on insect physiology and insect pathology with the goal of developing novel, environmentally benign alternatives to chemical insecticides for insect pest management. Her research has included the study of insect hormones and enzymes and insecticidal toxins derived from Bacillus thuringiensis, insect small RNA, the genetic optimization of insect viruses for pest management, insect virus discovery, and the use of viral proteins for development of insect resistant transgenic plants. Recent research has included modification of Bt toxins to target hemipteran pests which typically have low susceptibility to native Bt toxins, and the use of the coat protein of an aphid-vectored plant virus for delivery of insect specific neurotoxins to their target site within the aphid hemocoel.
She has served as mentor for more than 30 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers and teaches insect pathology and molecular entomology at the graduate level. Over the course of her caree
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Entomological Society of America