About Us

Dykstra Laboratories, Inc. is a research and development laboratory formed in 1997 and located in Gainesville, Florida, USA. Generally, our laboratory is interested in the field of bioelectromagnetics. This includes the effects of both exogenous electromagnetic fields (outside the organism) and endogenous electromagnetic (EM) fields (inside the organism). Exogenous fields emanate from the environment and may include natural and man-made EM fields. Endogenous fields are naturally produced by organisms that influence how a given organism detects an exogenous field while simultaneously regulating biological functions.

Although all aspects of bioelectromagnetics are investigated and reviewed, most of our active research deals with insects. Our test animals include the Indianmeal moth, Plodia interpunctella, and the Webbing Clothes Moth, Tineola bisselliellae. Other test insects included the Raisin Moth, Cadra figulilella (formerly Ephestia figulilella), the Mediterranean Flour Moth, Ephestia kuehniella, the almond moth, Cadra cautella, and the Rice Moth, Corcyra cephalonica.

Insect olfaction is the science of insect smell. Much is known about it, but much is still undiscovered. As of this writing, we still do not know all of the mechanisms of how insects smell. Do insects smell with their antennae? If so, how do they do it? The predominant theory suggests this is accomplished by a “lock and key” mechanism which is largely dependent on the diffusion of odorant molecules. Intensive review of this theory has unfortunately revealed this to be physically impossible which lays the groundwork for an alternative theory, if one exists.

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Evidence does exist of a theory that relies more on electromagnetics than on chemical diffusion. This electromagnetic message is derived from odorant molecules and enjoys the popular term of the “Vibrational Theory of Odor.” The first written accounts of this theory come from G.M. Dyson in 1937 and 1938. Robert Wright expanded this theory with his scientific writings and researched both insects and humans. Robert Wright attempted to unify his theory of smell for both insects and humans, but was unable to. Philip Callahan offered a mechanism by which the insects could detect these frequencies and this was an important starting point. The newest evidence reveals the two mechanisms must differ due to the morphological, biochemical, and physiological differences that exist between the olfactory epithelium of man and the sensillae of insects.  This laboratory is devoted to furthering research begun by these two scientists and developing these novel ideas so as to produce an insect trap based on electromagnetic theory.

Who We Are

Thomas M Dykstra, Ph.D.

Thomas M Dykstra, Ph.D.

Thomas M. Dykstra, Ph.D.

Our laboratory director, Thomas M. Dykstra (click for C.V.) received his B.S. in entomology from Cornell University in 1990. He traveled down to the University of Florida and received his M.S. in entomology (1994) while studying the neurophysiology of pheromone production in moths. Continuing at the University of Florida, he received a Ph.D. under Dr. Philip S. Callahan (1997) while studying bioelectromagnetics (the study of how life is influenced by both exogenous and endogenous electromagnetic fields). Dr. Dykstra started his own laboratory (Dykstra Laboratories, Inc.) in 1997 which more broadly investigates bioelectromagnetics ranging from bacteria to humans. Predominantly, he studies insect olfaction (how insects smell) from the standpoint of bioelectromagnetics and is developing a new theory based on the fusion of biophysics and neurophysiology. Dr. Dykstra has traveled all over the United States as well as Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom giving scientific presentations and/or attending scientific conferences. He also gives presentations to local schools and has been the honorary speaker at three science museums.

Drew Swaggerty

Drew came to us after graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2009. In addition to having a strong background in marketing and business management, he is one of the leading experts in insect olfactory binding proteins and contributes meticulously to the research efforts of our laboratory. His organizational skills allow him to keep track of over 30 concurrent experiments while maintaining a spreadsheet documenting all of this data. Drew is a premier colony manager and rears the healthiest Indianmeal moths in the world while also having reared the Raisin Moth, the Rice Moth, and the Mediterranean Flour Moth.
Drew Swaggerty

Drew Swaggerty

Karen Dykstra

Karen Dykstra, Tom's wife, designed our website. She also serves as our Spanish-language interpreter and translator. She earned her B.A. in Spanish and English from Eastern Illinois University in 1997 and her M.A. in Linguistics from Indiana University-Bloomington in 1998. She has studied in Costa Rica, Spain and Ecuador. Karen Dykstra, la esposa de Thomas, diseñó nuestro sitio Web. Además, ella es nuestra traductora e intérprete. Recibió su título universitario de Eastern Illinois University con especialidades en español e inglés en 1997. Realizó su maestría en la lingüística de Indiana University-Bloomington en 1998. Ha estudiado en Costa Rica, España y Ecuadortra.
Karen Dykstra

Karen Dykstra

Past Employees

Emily Saarinen, Ph.D.

Emily worked as a Senior Laboratory Technician from 2000-2001. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Natural Sciences at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.
Emily Saarinen, Ph.D

Emily Saarinen, Ph.D

Bryon Gyllstrom, J.D.

Bryon worked for us as a student laboratory technician from 2002 through 2005. He went on to receive his J.D. from the Franklin Pierce Law Center in New Hampshire. After practicing law for 2 years, Bryon is now working as a patent examiner at the USPTO, where he examines “patents directed to illumination.”
Bryon Gyllstrom, J.D.

Bryon Gyllstrom, J.D.

James Van Scotter, Ph.D.

James worked for us as a student laboratory technician from 2002 through 2006. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Strategic Management in the Department of Marketing and International Business, College of Business, at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, CO.
James Van Scotter

James Van Scotter

Lyndall Brezina

Lyndall worked for us a senior laboratory technician from 2008-2009. She is currently an Entomologist and GIS/Extension Specialist at the University of Florida.
Lyndall Brezina

Lyndall Brezina

Casey Parker

Casey worked for us as a student laboratory technician during 2012. She is currently a graduate student in the Department of Entomology at the University of Florida in the area of Medical and Veterinary Entomology.
Casey Parker

Casey Parker

Christina Brady

Christina worked for us as a student laboratory technician from 2011-2013. She is currently the Patient Appointment Coordinator at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL.
Christina Brady

Christina Brady