Topic status: In progress


Resistance to insecticides is potentially a huge problem for the Australian grain industry. A model of the genetic inheritance of the genes the confer resistance has been produced and needs to be extended to incorporate more realistic features of insect development, in particular adding life-stage compartments (egg, adult, larvae and pupae) to the model to analyse the effects of different degrees of resistance in different life-stages. There are some unresolved questions on how to best incorporate the life stages with the existing models to ensure realistic behaviour. Another issue is that the existing model tends to underestimate the insect deaths for the most strongly resistant insects using the existing model and there is at least one way forward to try and resolve this that would make a suitable summer research project.

This project would also involve an opportunity to develop scientific collaboration skills by interacting with pest entomologists, ecologists and geneticists.

Research activities

Reading research papers, MATLAB programming, mathematical model development.

Expected outcomes

The expected outcomes are: 

  • a report (preferably written in LaTEX) that might form the basis of a future journal publication
  • computer programs written in MATLAB or similar provided as a CD or other electronic form.

Duration of project

The duration of the project is 6 - 8 weeks in January/February 2012. A total of 120 hours will be spent on the project.

Study level
Vacation research experience scholarship
Organisational unit

Science and Engineering Faculty

Research areas
Please contact supervisor for enquiries.