For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

Dean's Seminar: STEM Serendipity: How a Diet Sweetener Became an Insecticide

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

3:30 PM-5:00 PM

Sean O’Donnell, PhD, professor in the Department of Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science, and Dan Marenda, PhD, associate professor of biology


Insects may be small, but they have outsized effects on human wellbeing as structural pests, crop destroyers and disease vectors. Chemical control is critical but costly, and many current pesticides bring undesirable effects such as toxicity to humans and wildlife. The labs of Dan Marenda, PhD, and Sean O’Donnell, PhD, found evidence that a non-nutritive sweetener, erythritol, is toxic when eaten by insects and has potential for development as a human- and mammal-safe insecticide.

In this seminar, Marenda and O’Donnell will discuss their ongoing research on this exciting discovery, and their progress moving toward real-life applications and commercialization. Since the initial serendipitous discovery that erythritol is toxic to insects, the work has been highly collaborative, spanning two Drexel departments, partnerships with labs at other universities, work with berry farmers in two states, the USDA and a venture capital firm.

The College of Arts and Sciences' Dean's Seminars are free and open to the Drexel community. Light refreshments will be served.

Remind me about this event. Notify me if this event changes. Add this event to my personal calendar.


MacAlister Hall Sky View, 6th Floor, 3250 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104


  • Everyone

Special Features

  • Free Food