Alina Avanesyan
Among the redwoods -- Muir Woods

Research Areas


Novel plant-insect associations: molecular, morphological, and behavioral perspectives

In my current postdoctoral work at the University of Maryland (Department of Entomology; Dr. Bill Lamp’s lab) I’m interested in ecology and evolution of plant-insect interactions, and primarily novel interactions between native and introduced species. This is a continuation of my previous postdoctoral work at Wisconsin and doctoral research at Cincinnati. I’m curious what mechanisms drive such novel interactions, and how introduced species become invasive in natural and managed systems. Currently, I’m working on a variety of projects that involve DNA barcoding, microscopy, morphometric.. exit_to_appgo to project page


Interactions between native and exotic grasses and generalist insect herbivores

In my Ph.D. dissertation at the University of Cincinnati I explored the interactions between insect herbivores and their host plants within the context of invasion ecology. Specifically, I was interested in the potential impact of generalist insects on the successful spread of exotic plants. Using a grasses-grasshoppers model, I combined behavioral and molecular approaches to explore (1) tolerant and resistant responses of native and exotic grasses to herbivory by grasshoppers, and (2) grasshopper feeding preferences on these plants. I conducted laboratory and field experiments at two research centers.. exit_to_appgo to project page


Host-parasite interactions: cellular immune responses of pulmonate snails to infection by trematodes

The focus of my Candidate of Science dissertation was cellular immune response of Biomphalaria snails to infection by Echinostoma trematodes. Biomphalaria snails are freshwater pulmonate snails, native to Caribbean and South America. In my research, I used two species, B. glabrata and B. pfeifferi. Biomphalaria glabrata has been a primary model species for investigating snail defense mechanisms because it is an intermediate host for the human blood fluke, Schistosoma mansoni, a dangerous parasite that infects millions of people worldwide and causes the disease that .. exit_to_appgo to project page