Juan Luis Jurat-Fuentes, Ph.D.

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Associate Professor
  Entomology and Plant Pathology
  The Center for Renewable Carbon

Office: 328 Plant Biotech
Phone: (865) 974-5931
Email: jurat@utk.edu

Focus: Insect physiology and molecular pathology

  • Bacillus thuringiensis insecticidal toxins
  • Insect resistance to Bt pesticides and transgenic crops
  • Insect midgut physiology
  • Midgut cell culturing
  • Insect digestive enzymes
  • Insect cellulases
Educational & Research Programs
  • Mechanisms of resistance to diverse Cry toxins
  • Identification of insect cellulases for improved lignocellulosic ethanol production
  • Identification of Cry toxin receptors in Lepidoptera and Coleoptera
  • Insect midgut response to Cry toxins

  • EPP561-Insect Physiology

Biographical sketch

Dr. Jurat-Fuentes is originally from Valencia (Spain), where he obtained his MS in Genetics from the University of Valencia, and came to UTIA from the University of Georgia, where he obtained his PhD in Entomology. He is currently an Associate Professor in the area of Insect Physiology and Molecular Pathology in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology. His research interests are focused on the insect digestive system as a target for novel bioinsecticides and as a prospecting resource for new enzymes of industrial interest, specifically enzymes to digest plant biomass during ethanol biofuel production. His expertise is on the mode of action and resistance mechanisms against insecticidal proteins from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). These Bt proteins are considered the most important bioinsecticide worldwide and are also produced by transgenic crops. The goal of Dr. Jurat-Fuentes’ research is to under-stand and improve Bt proteins to develop more efficacious and sustainable insecticidal technologies. Dr. Jurat-Fuentes serves as Editor for PLoS ONE and in the Editorial Board of Applied and Environmental Microbiology. He has received diverse research awards, most notably the Dupont Young Professors Award. His research has been funded by USDA-NIFA, NSF, SunGrant, and private industry part-ners. In his spare time Dr. Jurat-Fuentes likes to play soccer and dance social Argentine tango. He is Faculty advisor to the Vol Tango student club at UT.

Recent Publications


M.S. Genetics, University of Valencia, Spain
Ph.D. Entomology, University of Georgia


Real Life Solutions: Taking on the Fall Army Worm
Bt crops produce an insecticidal protein that kills harmful pest. However, the fall army worm has developed a resistance to this protein, causing widespread crop loss.