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Department of Zoology


I am a Lecturer in Biological Sciences at the University of Hull, UK, and a Visiting Researcher in the Department of Zoology with Prof. Berthold Hedwig.


I previously undertook postdoctoral research here in the Department of Zoology (2011-14), working on locust behaviour and biomechanics with Dr. Swidi Ott (now at Leicester), Dr. Steve Rogers and Prof. Malcolm Burrows. In 2014 I moved to KU Leuven, Belgium, to continue my work on locusts with Prof. Jozef Vanden Broeck. I held a Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Research Foundation, Flanders (FWO) between 2015 and 2018. I then returned to Cambridge to work with Dr. Jimena Berni to investigate the role of Hox genes during neuronal development in Drosophila (2018-19), before moving to the University of Lincoln to work on katydid hearing with Prof. Fernando Montealegre-Z, remaining in Cambridge as a Visitor with Prof. Berthold Hedwig. In May 2023 I started as a Lecturer in Biological Sciences at the University of Hull, and will move my lab there in late 2023.


I use molecular biology to investigate insect behaviour, biomechanics and physiology. I have mostly worked with locusts, but have also published on crickets and bush crickets (katydids), mantids and butterflies.

As of 2021 I am co-convenor of the Royal Entomological Society's annual Orthoptera meeting. If you would like to come along, and even present your work, then please do get in touch - students and enthusiasts are particularly welcome!


Key publications: 

Cullen DA, Sword GA, Rosenthal GG, Simpson SJ, Dekempeneer E, Hertog MLATM, Nicolaï BM, Caes R, Mannaerts L, Vanden Broeck J (2022). Sexual repurposing of juvenile aposematism in locusts. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 119 (34), e2200759119.

Cullen DA, Cease A, Latchininsky AV, Ayali A, Berry K, Buhl J, De Keyser R, Foquet B, Hadrich JC, Matheson T, Ott SR, Poot-Pech MA, Robinson BE, Smith JM, Song H, Sword GA, Vanden Broeck J, Verdonck R, Verlinden H, Rogers SM (2017). From molecules to management: mechanisms and consequences of locust phase polyphenism. Advances in Insect Physiology 53, 167-285.

Rose J, Cullen DA, Simpson SJ, Stevenson PA (2017). Born to win or bred to lose: aggressive and submissive traits in crickets. Animal Behaviour 123, 441-450.

Burrows M, Cullen DA, Dorosenko M, Sutton GP (2015). Mantises exchange angular momentum between three rotating body parts to jump precisely to targets. Current Biology 25, 786-789. This paper received considerable attention in the popular press, e.g.

Rogers SM, Cullen DA, Anstey ML, Burrows M, Despland E, Dodgson T, Matheson T, Ott SR, Stettin K, Sword GA, Simpson SJ (2014). Rapid behavioural gregarization in the desert locust, Schistocerca gregaria entails synchronous changes in both activity and attraction to conspecifics. Journal of Insect Physiology 65, 9-26.

Cullen DA, Sword GA, Simpson SJ (2012). Optimizing multivariate behavioural syndrome models in locusts using automated video tracking. Animal Behaviour 84, 771-784.

Cullen DA (2012). RNAi unravels the biology of the hemimetabolous and ametabolous insects. Advances in Insect Physiology 42, 37-72.

Cullen DA, Sword GA, Dodgson T, Simpson SJ (2010). Behavioural phase change in the Australian plague locust, Chortoicetes terminifera, is triggered by tactile stimulation of the antennae. Journal of Insect Physiology 56, 937-942.