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David Rivers, Ph.D.

Department Chair, Professor of Forensic Science
David Rivers

Fax: 410-617-5682

Office: Newman Towers West 152L
Loyola University Maryland
4501 North Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21210-2699


My research laboratory is directed toward two areas of interest: 1) the evolution of host-parasite relationships, and 2) biology and physiological interactions between necrophagous flies and parasitic wasps important to criminal investigations (Forensic Entomology).   My primary research interests are in the interactions that occur between parasitic insects and their hosts.  Specifically, I study the behavioral and biochemical adaptations that result from parasitic invasions of holometabolous insects.  Over the last several years, my attention has been focused toward 5 areas: 1) parasite regulation of host developmental and nutritional program in relation to the reproductive strategy (gregarious versus solitary) employed by ectoparasitic wasps, 2) acquisition of cold tolerance in ectoparasitic wasps, particularly in relation to the influence of host species, 3) immunological responses of filth flies to parasitism by ectoparasitoids, 4) modes of action of parasitic wasp venoms, and 5) molecular cloning of venom genes from parasitic wasps.

A new direction for my research laboratory has been investigations of physiological interactions occurring between flies that develop on a corpse.  Presently, I am examining the physiology of maggot masses, which are large feeding aggregations of fly larvae that form on an animal carcass during decomposition.  My lab is attempting to decipher the source of heat generation that occurs in these masses, as well as characterizing the proteotoxic or thermal stress responses and adaptations of flies developing in maggot masses with elevated temperatures, and determine the costs and benefits to the life history strategies of necrophagous flies.


  • Rivers, D.B. and A. McGregor.* 2018. Morphological features of regurgitate and defecatory stains deposited by five species of necrophagous flies are influenced by adult diets and body size. Journal of Forensic Sciences 63(1): 154-161.
  • Rivers D.B., G. Acca,* M. Fink,* R. Brogan, D. Chen,* A. Schoeffield. 2018. Distinction of fly artifacts from human blood using immunodetection. Journal of Forensic Sciences 63(6) 1704-1711.
  • Thompson C., J. Sanchez, M. Smith, J. Costello, A. Madabushi, N. Schuh-Nuhfer, R. Miranda, B. Gaines, K. Kennedy, M. Tangrea, D. Rivers. 2018. Improving Undergraduate Life Science Education for the Biosciences Workforce: Overcoming the Disconnect between Educators and Industry. CBE—Life Sciences Education 17(3):es12.
  • Rivers, D.B. 2017. Insects: Evolutionary Success, Unrivaled Diversity and World Domination. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD.
  • Rivers, D.B. and T. Geiman. 2017. Insect Artifacts Are More Than Just Altered Bloodstains, featured article, special issue of Insects: Advances in Forensic Entomology, 2017, 8(2), 37; doi:10.3390/insects8020037.
  • Rivers, D.B., G. Cavanagh, V. Greisman, A. McGregor,* R. Brogan, and A. Schoeffield. Immunoassay detection of fly artifacts produced by several species of necrophagous flies following feeding on human blood. Forensic Science International-Synergy, In press.

Area of Specialization

  • Entomology and Forensic Entomology