Alina Avanesyan

December 25, 2021

Our paper on responses of Miscanthus sinensis cultivars to herbivory is published!

I’m happy to share that our paper entitled “Response of five Miscanthus sinensis cultivars to grasshopper herbivory: implications for monitoring of invasive grasses in protected Areas” is published in Plants, Special Issue “Invasive Alien Species in Protected Areas”. more

May 6, 2021

My nature drawings

I’m happy to share my little (so far!) collection of my nature drawings with a heavy focus on insect drawings, of course! more

April 3, 2021

Our systematic review on PCR approaches to insect gut content analysis is published!

I’m happy to share that our review paper entitled “Choosing an effective PCR-based approach for diet analysis of insect herbivores: A systematic review.” is published in Journal of Economic Entomology. more

February 5, 2021

Will serve on the University Senate!

I’m very grateful and I feel deeply honored to be elected as a PTK senator, to represent the needs, interests, and views of professional track faculty on the University Senate. more

January 1, 2021

Reviewer Board Member for Agriculture!

I was invited to serve on Reviewer Board Member for Agriculture. I really enjoy serving as a reviewer and find it very rewarding. more

November 4, 2020

Our paper on host plant DNA detection from the potato leafhopper gut contents is published!

I’m happy to share that our paper entitled “Detecting Ingested Host Plant DNA in Potato Leafhopper (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae): Potential Use of Molecular Markers for Gut Content Analysis” is published in Journal of Economic Entomology. more

July 27, 2020

Presented at Botany 2020 - Virtual!

This week I presented at the Botany-2020 virtual meeting, Annual Meeting of the Botanical Society of America. more

April 11, 2020

Developed an undergraduate course in Invasion Ecology

I’ve finished developing the main outline of my course in Invasion Ecology which I hope to teach some day. This is a semester-long course; I see it as an upper-division undergraduate course but I think it can be easily adapted for a low-division undergraduate course or an elective graduate course. more

April 1, 2020

Our paper on molecular gut content analysis of the invasive spotted lanternfly published in Insects!

So happy to see our paper on molecular gut content analysis of the invasive spotted lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula, published today in Insects special issue “Molecular Gut Content Analysis: Deciphering Trophic Interactions of Insects”! more

March 18, 2020

Joined the Reviewer Board for journal 'Insects'

I have accepted an invitation to join the Reviewer Board for journal “Insects”! I’ll be serving as a reviewer in the following subject areas: molecular gut content analysis, eDNA, DNA barcoding, invasion ecology, plant-insect interactions, insect morphology, and host plant usage. more

January 3, 2020

MAES grant proposal on using a NGS-approach for meta-barcoding the lanternfly gut contents has been funded!

I was very pleased to know that our grant proposal entitled “Identification of host plant use by the invasive spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) using next-gen DNA sequencing technology” has been funded by Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station Competitive Grant Program! more

December 26, 2019

Lanternfly paper published in PLOS ONE!

One year of work, four months in review, two months in revision, and here you go - a wonderful Christmas present from PLOS ONE! This paper summarizes the results of my morphological work on the spotted lanternfly, an aggressive invasive insect in the eastern US. In part, thanks to intensive training in scanning electron microscopy at the Laboratory for Biological Ultrastructure. more

September 26, 2019

Bryan continues studying Molecular Biology at the University of Maryland!

I was very pleased to learn that my former mentee, Bryan, a high school student, was admitted to the University of Maryland where he continues studying Molecular Biology. Bryan was working with us during last Spring semester, and I was really impressed by his incredible progress during those several months. more

September 16, 2019

Guest Editor for Insects, special issue on molecular gut content analysis!

I’m serving as a Guest Editor for journal Insects, Special Issue “Molecular Gut Content Analysis: Deciphering Trophic Interactions of Insects”. I’m co-editing this special issue with Dr. Bill Lamp. Our proposal for this special issue has been approved, and the special issue has just been announced more

September 15, 2019

Presented at the 2nd UMD Postdoctoral Research Symposium

Last Friday, I had a poster presentation at our 2nd UMD Postdoctoral Research Symposium. I presented ‘the morphological part’ of my lanternfly research – more

June 10, 2019

Successful amplification of COI partial gene from dragonfly prey

Molecular identification of prey in predator diet - this is a new challenge in my DNA barcoding work; I amplify DNA from dragonfly prey items (a new lab project I’m involved in). more

May 6, 2019

Guest lecture on invasive species tomorrow!

I’m very excited about my upcoming guest lecture tomorrow. This lecture is on invasive species for an undegraduate honors class on insect biodiversity. more

April 27, 2019

Maryland Day in pictures - 2

We had a great time on campus enjoying yet another Maryland Day! While I was busy in our “Discover a Swamp” room, the rest of my family enjoyed ice-cream, baloons, trucks, books, and of course, our bugs! more

April 26, 2019

Nina succesfully presented at her school research symposium

Last Friday, I enjoyed attending Eleanor Roosevelt High School Annual Research Symposium. Nina, one of my mentees, presented final results of her DNA barcoding work. more

April 15, 2019

Teaching summer course in Evolutionary Biology

I am super excited to teach a graduate course in Evolutionary Biology this summer as an instructor of record. This is a fully online course offered through the Master of Chemical and Life Sciences program more

March 13, 2019

Presented at the EB-ESA meeting in Blacksburg!

This week I presented at the Eastern Branch meeting of the Entomological Society of America in Blacksburg, VA. The meeting was very interesting, especially its special symposium on the spotted lanternfly. more

March 6, 2019

Scanning Electron Microscopy: Round 2

I’ve finished the 2nd round of scanning electron microscopy of the lanternfly mouthparts and tarsi which I conducted in The Laboratory for Biological Ultrastructure (my special thanks to Tim Maugel for his continuous help!!). We received beautiful SEM images, most of them are included now in my poster for the upcoming EB-ESA meeting. These images helped us to explore how more

February 23, 2019

Presented at the MOFFA meeting

Last Saturday I presented at the Annual Meeting of the Maryland Organic Food & Farming Association (Maryland Dept. of Agriculture, Annapolis, MD). more

January 5, 2019

The Sophonia paper published!

This paper is on interactions of exotic leafhopper, Sophonia orientalis, with its novel hosts in Hawaii. It took quite a bit to analyze two-year data, to write a manuscript, and to wait for all of the reviewers’ comments. more

November 30, 2018

My departmental seminar talk

I gave my first talk at our weekly departmental seminar: “Novel plant-insect associations: implication of the lack of coevolution”. It was very exciting and interesting experience, more

November 15, 2018

Busy 2018 ESA meeting in Vancouver!

This time the ESA meeting (2018 ESA, ESC, and ESBC Joint Annual Meeting) was especially busy for me. I served as a moderator in one session, a judge in two other sessions; more

October 11, 2018

Review paper published!

My systematic review and meta-analysis on feeding preferences of acridid grasshoppers on native vs. introduced plants has just been published in Plants, Special Issue “Plants Interacting with other Organisms: Insects”. more

September 8, 2018

Summer News!

Summer is over. It was a busy Summer - full of interesting work, trips, and a lot of writing. Looking back, I’m happy to share a few highlights. more

May 7, 2018

Maryland Day in pictures

We had a wonderful time on campus celebrating our annual Maryland Day! I was really impressed how well everything was organized and how many things there were to do with friends and family, and of course with little and not so little kids. more

April 20, 2018

My first adventures in the aquatic world

Being almost exclusively ‘terrestrial’ person in my research it has been quite an interesting experience for me to “get wet” with both Dr. Lamp’s lab and his Aquatic Entomology class. more

April 19, 2018

Exploring family-friendly places in Maryland

If not every weekend, but at least every other weekend we try to get out to a new place with our growing little one. more

January 20, 2018

Starting a postdoc at the University of Maryland

I’ve just started as a Postdoctoral Associate at the Department of Entomology at the University of Maryland! more

October 20, 2017

Week 5 of Planting Science program

It has been 5 weeks of Planting Science program and my online mentorship of high school students teams in their plant investigations. more

October 4, 2017

New (or old?) mode of transport for invasive species

Carlton et al. Science 29 Sep 2017: ”..We document 289 living Japanese coastal marine species from 16 phyla transported over 6 years on objects that traveled thousands of kilometers across the Pacific Ocean more

July 29, 2017

Yet another trip to Colorado

Last week I spent in Colorado Springs at the Digging Deeper Summer Professional Development workshop which is part of my Planting Science fellowship I received earlier this year. more

May 10, 2017

Our GenBank submission has just been approved!

Our GenBank submission has just been approved! Here it is: more

April 21, 2017

Three poster presentations of my students. Great job, guys!

Today my students presented their molecular biology term projects at 4th Annual Grand View Scholarship Symposium. Very exciting! more

March 10, 2017

Paper published in Insects!

My paper from my postdoctoral work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has been just published in Insects, in special issue “Invasive insect species more

December 16, 2016

My last dissertation chapter is published! Now I can retire...

It will be included in January issue of The Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society: more

August 28, 2016

Started working at Grand View University

I am very excited to join Department of Biology at Grand View University in Des Moines, IA as an adjunct Genetics Instructor! more

March 2, 2014

More Media Coverage

Another story about my research on plant DNA detection from grasshopper gut contents has been just published in India! more

February 8, 2014

Another paper published!

My protocol paper just came out in the February issue of Applications in Plant Sciences! more

December 28, 2013

Plant DNA detection from grasshopper gut contents... published!

My paper “Plant DNA detection from grasshopper gut contents: a step-by-step protocol, from tissues preparation to obtaining plant DNA sequences” has just been accepted for publication in Applications in Plant Sciences! more

November 28, 2013

First place at ESA meeting in Austin, TX

Last week I presented my research project on molecular confirmation of insect diet at the Annual Meeting of Entomological Society of America in Austin, TX (November, 2013) and won the first place in the Graduate Student Ten-Minute Paper Competition in the plant-insect interaction section! more

March 20, 2013

Second place at ESA Eastern Branch

Yesterday I presented at the Annual Meeting of the Eastern Branch of the Entomological Society of America and won second place in the PhD student oral competition! more

January 8, 2013

How to build a cage

Last summer I started my grasses/grasshoppers feeding experiments in the field. The main problem I had to solve was building the cages. more

January 7, 2013

The board is your friend! (part 2)

I liked the idea of writing a lab flow on the board so much, that soon I started to add “Next lab assignment” rubric as well. As I usually need all space on the board during the lab, more

December 17, 2012

The board is your friend!

I teach biology labs. Our typical lab usually includes a short lecture, a discussion about homework (so called pre-labs), a wet lab (i.e., an experiment), and exercises or answering questions. more

November 21, 2012

Student evaluations

At the end of each semester I receive students evaluations. It was a very difficult moment for me when I had just started teaching in the US. Mostly because there is no such thing as students evaluations in my native country. more

November 17, 2012

Would you be so kind...

In my very first evaluation that I received from my students here in the US I saw this comment: she is very straightforward. I wasn’t sure what that meant. more

October 29, 2012

Professor Sprout: How this blog started

At first this blog was anonymous. It lived at – an address which captured my attachment to biology and, yes, the Harry Potter books. Eventually I decided to move it to this new website that has a more formal name. But I’m keeping my first post unchanged – with all its Harry Potter references – for the sake of a little bit of magic. more