Jackson T. Sparks, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Genetics at the Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Biology from Duke University in Durham, NC and Doctorate in Integrative Biology from the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC. After two years as postdoctoral research entomologist with the Agricultural Research Service at the United States Department of Agriculture in Beltsville, MD, Dr. Sparks discovered his life’s purpose teaching and mentoring undergraduates for one year as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Genetics at Drury University in Springfield, MO. Most recently, Dr. Sparks served as Assistant Professor of Genetics and Interim Chair of Biology at High Point University (HPU). He was Director of HPU’s Natural Sciences Fellows Program for over three years.
Dr. Sparks helps students reach their full academic and professional potential with innovative teaching strategies and personalized coaching outside of the classroom. In addition to general scientific knowledge, problem-solving and laboratory skills, he emphasizes writing, resource identification and public speaking as key components of career success.
The Sparks lab primarily investigates the molecular components of arthropod chemosensation and how this toolbox relates to behaviors affecting human health or agriculture. Dr. Sparks has characterized receptor gene expression in mosquito and vinegar fly sensory organs. Dr. Sparks and external collaborators are exploring anthocyanins as potentially informative cues for insects broadly. Future directions include augmenting the nutritional profile and development of Black Soldier Fly larvae.