Alex Torson

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I received my PhD from North Dakota State University in May 2017. My doctoral work focused on the effects of low temperature stress in the alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata, an important agricultural pollinator. I used both transcriptomic and physiological techniques to characterize and compare low temperature stress responses across life stages and understand how exposure to periodic fluctuations in temperature during stress can diminish the negative effects of low temperature exposure.  

In May 2017, I started a postdoc in the Sinclair lab at Western. Currently, I am collaborating with the Canadian Forestry Service (CFS) in Sault St. Marie, Ontario to assess the overwintering physiology of the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB), Anoplophora glabripennis. ALB are an invasive, wood-boring insect native to China and Korea that have taken a liking to native maple trees here in Canada. This project is a component of a larger Genome Canada-funded grant to provide new information to increase Canada’s ability to predict potential spread of new ALB populations and to assess how Canada’s cold winters could restrict the spread of this invasive species.

My primary interests for this project are to understand the molecular mechanisms that contribute to cold tolerance and diapause throughout ALB’s overwintering period using physiological techniques, various –omics approaches and eventually functional genomics.


Torson, A.S., Yocum, G.D., Nash, S.A., Kvidera, K.M., Bowsher, J.H. (2017). Physiological responses to fluctuating temperatures care characterized by distinct transcriptional regulation in a solitary bee. Journal of experimental biology. In press.

 McKenna, D.D., Scully E.D., Pauchet, Y., Hoover, K., Kirsch, R., Geib, S.M., Mitchell, R.F., Waterhouse, R.M.,...,Torson, A.S.,..., Gibbs, R.A., Richards, S. (2016). Genome of the Asian longhorned beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis), a globally significant invasive species, reveals key functional and evolutionary innovations at the beetle-plant interface. Genome Biology. 17. 227.

 Torson, A.S., Yocum, G.D., Rinehart J.P., Kemp, W.P., Bowsher, J.H. (2015). Transcriptional responses to fluctuating thermal regimes underpinning differences in survival in the solitary bee Megachile rotundata. Journal of Experimental Biology. 218(7). 1060-1068.

 Melicher, D.M., Torson, A.S., Dworkin, I., Bowsher, J.H. (2014). A pipeline for the de novo assembly of the Themira biloba (Sepsidae: Diptera) transcriptome using a multiple k-mer length approach. BMC Genomics. 15(1). 188.

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