University of Toronto
Cell and Systems Biology
The focus of our research in Dr. Tobe's lab is arthropod endocrinology.
The Arthropod phylum contains more than three-quarters of all the different kinds of animals on Earth, with insects representing most of these. The bodies of arthropods, as well as their legs, are made up of sections joined together. The word arthropod means "jointed feet" in Greek. The phylum Arthropoda contains four classes: insects, crustaceans, arachnids, and chilopods (centipedes).
Endocrinology is the study of hormones. Insect endocrinology is one of the oldest and most active branches of insect physiology. Arthropod hormones are involved in the control of molting, metamorphosis, reproduction, caste determination in social insects, diapause, migration, carbohydrate and lipid metabolism, diuresis, and behavior.
A great deal of our research is focused on one particular hormone system. In most insect species, the juvenile hormones are important contributors to metamorphosis and reproduction. We study the systems that control the production of juvenile hormone; in particular, the inhibition of juvenile hormone biosynthesis by neuropeptides called allatostatins.