Alina Avanesyan
Among the redwoods -- Muir Woods

Research Areas


Ecology and evolution of species interactions: 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 species interactions. Using arthropods and plant-insect study systems I’m curious what mechanisms (behavioral, molecular, physiological, etc.) drive species interactions, and especially interactions between native and introduced species. I’m working on a variety of projects that involve primarily molecular biology techniques, microscopy, and morphometric analysis, .. exit_to_appgo to project page


Novel plant-insect interactions; native vs. exotic grasses and their responses to 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 molecular and behavioral 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