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Georg Jander
 &emdash;  Professor

Georg Jander
Office/Lab: 127/116
  • Adjunct Professor, Section of Plant Biology
  • School of Integrative Plant Science
  • Cornell University
Graduate Fields: Plant Biology; Entomology


  • The rice tyrosine aminomutase TAM1 is required for beta-tyrosine biosynthesis. Plant Cell, 27, 1265-1278 2015

    Yan J., Aboshi T., Teraishi M., Strickler S.R., Spindel J.E., Tung C.W., Takata R., Matsumoto F., Maesaka Y., McCouch S.R., Okumoto Y., Mori N., and Jander G.
    Plant Cell 27,  1265-1278
    Full text...
  • Genetic mapping shows intraspecific variation and transgressive segregation for caterpillar-induced aphid resistance in maize. Molecular Ecology 10.1111/mec.13418 2015

    Tzin, V., Lindsay, P. L., Christensen, S. A., Meihls, L. N., Blue, L. B., Jander, G.
    Molecular Ecology 10.1111/mec.13418
    Full text...
  • Dynamic Maize Responses to Aphid Feeding Are Revealed by a Time Series of Transcriptomic and Metabolomic Assays. Plant Physiology 10.1104/pp.15.01039 2015

    Tzin, V., Fernandez-Pozo, N., Richter, A., Schmelz, E. A., Schoettner, M., Schafer, M., Ahern, K. R., Meihls, L. N., Kaur, H., Huffaker, A., Mori, N., Degenhardt, J., Mueller, L. A., Jander, G.
    Plant Physiology 10.1104,  pp.15.01039
    Full text...
  • The NIa-Pro protein of Turnip mosaic virus improves growth and reproduction of the aphid vector, Myzus persicae (green peach aphid) 2014

    Casteel, C. L., Yang, C. L., Nanduri, A. C., De Jong, H. N., Whitham, S. A., Jander, G.
    Plant Journal 10.1111,  tpj.12417
    Full text...
  • Natural variation in maize aphid resistance is associated with 2,4-dihydroxy-7-methoxy-1,4-benzoxazin-3-one glucoside methyltransferase activity 2013

    Meihls, L.N., Handrick, V., Glauser, G., Barbier, H., Kaur, H., Haribal, M.M., Lipka, A.E., Gershenzon, J., Buckler, E.S., Erb, M., Kollner, T.G., and Jander, G.
    Plant Cell 25,  2341-2355
    Full text...
  • Suppression of Plant Defenses by a Myzus persicae (Green Peach Aphid) Salivary Effector Protein 2014

    Elzinga, D. A., De Vos, M., Jander, G.
    Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions 10.1094,  MPMI-01-14-0018-R
    Full text...
  • Accumulation of 5-hydroxynorvaline in maize (Zea mays) leaves is induced by insect feeding and abiotic stress 2015

    Yan, J., Lipka, A. E., Schmelz, E. A., Buckler, E. S., Jander, G.
    Journal of Experimental Botany 10.1093/jxb/eru385
    Full text...
  • Additive effects of two quantitative trait loci that confer Rhopalosiphum maidis (corn leaf aphid) resistance in maize inbred line Mo17 2015

    Betsiashvili, M., Ahern, K. R., Jander, G.
    Journal of Experimental Botany 10.1093/jxb/eru379
    Full text...
  • The raison d’etre of chemical ecology 2015

    Raguso, R. A., Agrawal, A. A., Douglas, A. E., Jander, G., Kessler, A., Poveda, K., Thaler, J. S.
    Ecology 10.1890,  14-1474.1
    Full text...
  • Adaptation to nicotine in the facultative tobacco-feeding hemipteran Bemisia tabaci 2014

    Kliot, A., Kontsedalov, S., Ramsey, J. S., Jander, G., Ghanim, A.
    Pest Management Science 10.1002,  ps.3739
    Full text...
  • Matching the supply of bacterial nutrients to the nutritional demand of the animal host 2014

    Russell, C.W., Poliakov, A., Haribal, M., Jander, G., van Wijk, K. J., Douglas, A. E.
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences 10.1098,  rspb.2014.1163
    Full text...
  • The catabolic enzyme methionine gamma-lyase limits methionine accumulation in potato tubers 2014

    Huang, T. F., Joshi, V., Jander, G.
    Plant Biotechnology Journal 10.1111,  pbi.12191
    Full text...
  • Adaptation to Nicotine Feeding in Myzus persicae 2014

    Ramsey, J. S., Elzinga, D. A., Sarkar, P., Xin, Y. R., Ghanim, M., Jander, G.
    J. Chem. Ecol. 40,  869-877
    Full text...
  • The NIa-Pro protein of turnip mosaic virus Improves growth and reproduction of the aphid vector, Myzus persicae (green peach aphid) 2014

    Casteel, C.L., Yang, C., Nanduri, A.C., De Jong, H.N., Whitham, S.A., and Jander, G.
    Plant Journal 10.1111,  tpj.12417
    Full text...
  • Alteration of Plant Primary Metabolism in Response to Insect Herbivory 2015

    Zhou S.Q., Lou, Y.R., Tzin, V., Jander, G.
    Plant Physiology 10.1104,  pp.15.01405
    Full text...
  • Disrupting Buchnera aphidicola, the endosymbiotic bacteria of Myzus persicae, delays host plant acceptance 2015

    Machado-Assefh, C. R., Lopez-Isasmendi, G., Tjallingii, W.F., Jander, G., Alvarez, A. E.
    Arthropod-Plant Interactions 0.1007/s11829-015-9394-8
    Full text...
  • Maize death acids, 9-lipoxygenase-derived cyclopente(a)nones, display activity as cytotoxic phytoalexins and transcriptional mediators 2015

    Christensen, S. A., Huffaker, A., Kaplan, F., Sims, J., Ziemann, S., Doehlemann, G., Ji, L. X., Schmitz, R. J., Kolomiets, M. V., Alborn, H. T., Mori, N, Jander, G., Ni, X. Z., Sartor, R. C., Byers, S., Abdo, Z., Schmelz E.A.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 10.1073,  pnas.1511131112
    Full text...
  • Disruption of Ethylene Responses by Turnip mosaic virus Mediates Suppression of Plant Defense against the Green Peach Aphid Vector 2015

    Casteel C.L., De Alwis, M., Bak, A., Dong, H. L., Witham, S.A., Jander, G.
    Plant Physiology 10.1104/pp.15.00332 Plant Physiology 10.1104/pp.15.00332,  Plant Physiology 10.1104/pp.15.00332
    Full text...
  • RNA interference against gut osmoregulatory genes in phloem-feeding insects 2015

    Tzin, V., Yang, X. V., Jing, X.F., Zhang, K., Jander, G., Douglas, A. E.
    Journal of Insect Physiology 10.1016,  j.jinsphys.2015.06.006
    Full text...
  • The glucosinolate breakdown product indole-3-carbinol acts as an auxin antagonist in roots of Arabidopsis thaliana 2015

    Katz, E., Nisani, S., Yadav, B. S., Woldemariam, M. G., Shai, B., Obolski, U., Ehrlich, M., Shani, E., Jander, G., Chamovitz, B. A.
    Plant Journal /tpj.12824,  tpj.12824
    Full text...
  • Abscisic acid deficiency increases defence responses against Myzus persicae in Arabidopsis 2016

    Hillwig, M.S., Chiozza, M., Casteel, C.L., Lau, S.T.,Hohenstein, J., Hernandez, E., Jander, G., MacIntosh, G.C.
    Molecular Plant Pathology 10.1111,  mpp.12274
    Full text...
  • Stable isotope studies reveal pathways for the incorporation of non-essential amino acids in Acyrthosiphon pisum (pea aphids) 2015

    Haribal, M., Jander, G.
    Journal Of Experimental Biology 10.1242,  jeb.129189
    Full text...
  • New synthesis: investigating mutualisms in virus-vector interactions 2013

    Casteel, C.L., and Jander, G.
    Journal of Chemical Ecology 39,  809
    Full text...
  • Introducing the USA Plant, Algae and Microbial Metabolomics Research Coordination Network (PAMM-NET) 2015

    Sumner, L.W., Styczynski, M., McLean, J., Fiehn, O., Jander, G., Liao, J., Sumner, S., Britz-McKibbin, P., Welti, R., Jones, A.D., Dorrestein, P.C., Bearden, D., and Kaddurah-Daouk, R.
    Metabolomics 11,  3–5
    Full text...
  • Additive effects of two quantitative trait loci that confer Rhopalosiphum maidis (corn leaf aphid) resistance in maize inbred line Mo17 2014

    Betsiashvili, M., Ahern, K.R., and Jander, G.
    J. Exp. Bot., 66(2),  571-578
    Full text...
  • Revisiting plant-herbivore co-evolution in the molecular biology era 2014

    Jander, G.
    Annual Plant Reviews 47,  361-384
    Full text...
  • Adaptation to nicotine feeding in Myzus persicae. Journal of Chemical Ecology 2014

    Ramsey, J.S., Elzinga, D.A., Xin, Y.-R., Sarkar, P., and Jander, G.
    in press
    Full text...
  • Suppression of plant defenses by a Myzus persicae (green peach aphid) salivary effector protein 2014

    Elzinga, D.A., De Vos, M., and Jander, G.
    Mol. Plant Microbe In. 27,  747–756
    Full text...
  • The catabolic enzyme methionine gamma-lyase limits methionine accumulation in potato tubers 2014

    Huang, T., Joshi, V., and Jander, G.
    Plant Biotechnology Journal 12(7),  883–893
    Full text...
  • Adaptation to nicotine in the facultative tobacco-feeding hemipteran Bemisia tabaci 2014

    Kliot, A., Kontsedalov, S., Ramsey, J.S., Jander, G., and Ghanim, M.
    Pest Manag. Sci. 70,  1595-1603
    Full text...
  • The role of protein effectors in plant-aphid interactions 2013

    Elzinga, D.A., and Jander, G.
    Curr. Opin. Plant Biol. 16,  451-456
    Full text...
  • Comparative analysis of genome sequences from four strains of the Buchnera aphidicola Mp endosymbion of the green peach aphid, Myzus persicae 2013

    Jiang, Z.J., Jones, D.H., Khuri, S., Tsinoremas, N.F., Wyss, T., Jander, G., and Wilson, A.C.C.
    BMC Genomics 14,  917
    Full text...
  • Near-isogenic lines for measuring phenotypic effects of DIMBOA-Glc methyltransferase activity in maize 2013

    Mijares, V., Meihls, L., Jander, G., and Tzin, V.
    Plant Signaling & Behavior 8,  e26779
    Full text...
  • Interdependence of threonine, methionine and isoleucine metabolism in plants: accumulation and transcriptional regulation under abiotic stress 2010

    Joshi, V., Joung, J.G., Fei, Z. and Jander, G.
    Amino Acids 39,  933-947
    Full text...
  • Transgenerational defense induction and epigenetic inheritance in plants 2012

    Holeski, L.M., Jander, G., and Agrawal, A.A.
    Trends in Ecology & Evolution 27,  618-626
    Full text...
  • meta-Tyrosine in Festuca rubra ssp. commutata (Chewings fescue) is synthesized by hydroxylation of phenylalanine 2012

    Huang, T., Rehak, L., and Jander, G.
    Phytochemistry 75,  60-66
    Full text...
  • Timely plant defenses protect against caterpillar herbivory 2012

    Jander, G.
    P. Natl. Acad. Sci. U S A 109,  4343-4344
    Full text...
  • Natural variation in maize defense against insect herbivores 2012

    Meihls, L.N., Kaur, H., and Jander, G.
    Cold Spring Harb. Symp. Quant. Biol. 77,  269-283
    Full text...
  • Engineering of benzylglucosinolate in tobacco provides proof-of-concept for dead-end trap crops genetically modified to attract Plutella xylostella (diamondback moth) 2012

    Moldrup, M.E., Geu-Flores, F., de Vos, M., Olsen, C.E., Sun, J., Jander, G., and Halkier, B.A.
    Plant Biotechnology Journal 10,  435-442
    Full text...
  • Herbivory in the previous generation primes plants for enhanced insect resistance 2012

    Rasmann, S., De Vos, M., Casteel, C.L., Tian, D.L., Halitschke, R., Sun, J.Y., Agrawal, A.A., Felton, G.W., and Jander, G.
    Plant Physiology 158,  854-863
    Full text...
  • Insecticide resistance mechanisms in the green peach aphid Myzus persicae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) I: a transcriptomic survey 2012

    Silva, A.X., Jander, G., Samaniego, H., Ramsey, J.S., and Figueroa, C.C.
    PLoS ONE 7,  e36366
    Full text...
  • Non-protein amino acids in plant defense against insect herbivores: representative cases and opportunities for further functional analysis 2011

    Huang, T., Jander, G., and de Vos, M.
    Phytochemistry 72,  1531-1537
    Full text...
  • New synthesis–plant defense signaling: new opportunities for studying chemical diversity 2011

    Jander, G., and Clay, N.
    J. Chem. Ecol. 37,  429
    Full text...
  • Biosynthesis and defensive function of Ndelta-acetylornithine, a jasmonate-induced Arabidopsis metabolite 2011

    Adio, A.M., Casteel, C.L., De Vos, M., Kim, J.H., Joshi, V., Li, B., Juery, C., Daron, J., Kliebenstein, D.J., and Jander, G.
    Plant Cell 23,  3303-3318
    Full text...
  • Differential effects of indole and aliphatic glucosinolates on lepidopteran herbivores 2010

    Muller, R., de Vos, M., Sun, J.Y., Sonderby, I.E., Halkier, B.A., Wittstock, U., and Jander, G.
    Journal of Chemical Ecology 36,  905-913
    Full text...
  • Antibiosis against the green peach aphid requires the Arabidopsis thaliana MYZUS PERSICAE-INDUCED LIPASE1 gene 2010

    Louis, J., Lorenc-Kukula, K., Singh, V., Reese, J., Jander, G., and Shah, J.
    Plant Journal 64,  800-811
    Full text...
  • Pleiotropic physiological consequences of feedback-insensitive phenylalanine biosynthesis in Arabidopsis thaliana. 2010

    Huang, T., Tohge, T., Lytovchenko, A., Fernie, A.R., and Jander, G.
    Plant J. 63,  823-835
    Full text...
  • Recent progress in deciphering the biosynthesis of aspartate-derived amino acids in plants 2010

    Jander, G., and Joshi, V.
    Mol. Plant 3,  54-65
    Full text...
  • Volatile communication in plant-aphid interactions 2010

    de Vos, M., and Jander, G.
    Curr. Opin. Plant Biol. 13,  366-371
    Full text...
  • Alarm pheromone habituation in Myzus persicae has fitness consequences and causes extensive gene expression changes 2010

    de Vos, M., Cheng, W.Y., Summers, H.E., Raguso, R.A., and Jander, G.
    P. Natl. Acad. Sci. U S A 107,  14673-14678
    Full text...
  • Genomic evidence for complementary purine metabolism in the pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum, and its symbiotic bacterium Buchnera aphidicola 2010

    Ramsey, J.S., MacDonald, S.J., Jander, G., Nakabachi, A., Thomas, G.H., and Douglas, A.E.
    Insect Mol. Biol. 19, Suppl 2,  241-248
    Full text...
  • Comparative analysis of detoxification enzymes in Acyrthosiphon pisum and Myzus persicae 2010

    Ramsey, J.S., Rider, D.S., Walsh, T.K., De Vos, M., Gordon, K.H., Ponnala, L., Macmil, S.L., Roe, B.A., and Jander, G.
    Insect Mol. Biol. 19, Suppl 2,  155-164
    Full text...
  • Non-volatile intact indole glucosinolates are host recognition cues for ovipositing Plutella xylostella 2010

    Sun, J.Y., Sonderby, I.E., Halkier, B.A., Jander, G., and de Vos, M.
    J. Chem. Ecol. 35(12),  1427-1436
    Full text...
  • Genome-enabled research on the ecology of plant-insect interactions 2010

    Whiteman, N.K., and Jander, G.
    Plant Physiology 154,  475-478
    Full text...
  • Genomic insight into the amino acid relations of the pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum, with its symbiotic bacterium Buchnera aphidicola 2010

    Wilson, A.C.C., Ashton, P.D., Calevro, F., Charles, H., Colella, S., Febvay, G., Jander, G., Kushlan, P.F., Macdonald, S.J., Schwartz, J.F., Thomas, G.H., and Douglas, A.E.
    Insect Mol. Biol. 19,  249-258
    Full text...
  • Glucosinolate metabolites required for an Arabidopsis innate immune response 2009

    Clay, N.K., Adio, A.M., Denoux, C., Jander, G., and Ausubel, F.M.
    Science 323,  95-101
    Full text...
  • Arabidopsis methionine gamma-lyase is regulated according to isoleucine biosynthesis needs but plays a subordinate role to threonine deaminase 2009

    Joshi, V., and Jander, G.
    Physiology 151,  367-378
    Full text...
  • Myzus persicae (green peach aphid) salivary components induce defence responses in Arabidopsis thaliana 2009

    de Vos, M., and Jander, G.
    , 32, 1548-1560 32,  1548-1560
    Full text...
  • Indole glucosinolate breakdown and its biological effects 2009

    Agerbirk, N., de Vos, M., Kim, J.H., and Jander, G.
    Phytochem. Rev. 8,  101-120
    Full text...
  • Reduced activity of Arabidopsis thaliana HMT2, a methionine biosynthetic enzyme, increases seed methionine content 2008

    Lee, M.S., Huang, T.F., Toro-Ramos, T., Fraga, M., Last, R.L., and Jander, G.
    Plant Journal 54,  310-320
    Full text...
  • Plant immunity to insect herbivores 2008

    Howe, G.A., and Jander, G.
    Annual Review of Plant Biology 59,  41-66
    Full text...
  • Choice and no-choice assays for testing the resistance of A. thaliana to chewing insects. 2008

    de Vos, M., and Jander, G.
    JoVE 15
    Full text...
  • Genomic resources for Myzus persicae: EST sequencing, SNP identification, and microarray design 2007

    Ramsey, J.S., Wilson, A.C.C., de Vos, M., Sun, Q., Tamborindeguy, C., Winfield, A., Malloch, G., Smith, D.M., Fenton, B., Gray, S.M., and Jander, G.
    BMC Genomics 8,  423
    Full text...
  • Indole-3-acetonitrile production from indole glucosinolates deters oviposition by Pieris rapae. 2008

    de Vos, M., Kriksunov, K.L., and Jander, G.
    Plant Physiology 146,  916-926
    Full text...
  • Biochemistry and molecular biology of Arabidopsis-aphid interactions 2007

    de Vos, M., Kim, J.H., and Jander, G.
    BioEssay 29,  871-883
    Full text...
  • Tandem gene arrays: a challenge for functional genomics 2007

    Jander, G., and Barth, C.
    Trends in Plant Science 12,  203-210
    Full text...
  • Arabidopsis Myrosinases TGG1 and TGG2 have Redundant Function in Glucosinolate Breakdown and Insect Defense 2006

    Barth, C., Jander, G.
    Plant J. 46,  549-562
    Full text...
  • Gene Identification and Cloning by Molecular Marker Mapping 2006

    Jander, G.
    Methods in Molecular Biology 323,  115-126
    Full text...
  • Prevention and control of pests and diseases 2006

    Bush, J., Jander, G., Ausubel, F.M.
    Methods Mol. Biol. 323,  13-25
    Full text...
  • The TASTY locus on chromosome 1 of Arabidopsis affects feeding of the insect herbivore Trichoplusia ni 2001

    Jander, G., Cui, J., Nhan, B., Pierce, N.E., and Ausubel F.M.
    Plant Physiology 126,  890-898
    Full text...
  • Ecological role of transgenerational resistance against biotic threats 2012

    Rasmann, S., De Vos, M., and Jander, G.
    Plant Signaling & Behavior 7,  447-449
    Full text...
  • Grass roots chemistry: meta-tyrosine, an herbicidal non-protein amino acid 2007

    C. Bertin, L. A. Weston, T. Huang, G. Jander, T. Owens, J. Meinwald, and F. C. Schroeder.
    P. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 43,  16964-16969
    Full text...

Intern Projects

Genetic and biochemical mechanisms of plant defense against insects.

Plants in nature are subject to attack by wide variety of caterpillars, beetles, aphids, and other insect herbivores. Although there are a million or more species of herbivorous insects, any individual plant species is resistant to the vast majority of these. Insect feeding is inhibited by an array of chemical defenses that exhibits great variability both within and among different plant species. However, although it is known that any plant leaf contains several thousand different metabolites, most of these remain unidentified. In the Jander lab we are investigating natural variation in the herbivore resistance of maize, tomato, and potato to elucidate the molecular basis of plant defense traits. Through a combination of genetic crosses, gene expression assays, metabolite profiling, and insect growth experiments, we are able to identify specific plant genes, biosynthetic pathways, and metabolites that are required to mount an effective anti-herbivore defense.

Intern Faculty |  Internship Program | Apply for an Internship



    • Technology Area: Enabling Technology
    • Title: Methods of screening compounds useful for prevention of infection or pathogenicity
    • US Patent/Application(s): 7,166,270

Collaborations and Consulting

In the News

Research Overview


Plants in nature are faced with attack by potentially several hundred thousand species of herbivorous insects. Nevertheless, the world is still green, and any given plant species is resistant to attack by most insects. To a large extent, resistance to herbivory is mediated by a wide array of toxic and deterrent plant metabolites. Between- and within-species variation in the production of defensive chemicals often determines which plants a particular insect species is able to feed from. Some economically important plant toxins, e.g. nicotine in tobacco, have been studied extensively. However, the great majority of the defensive metabolites found in plants remain completely unknown. A typical leaf contains a few thousand different small molecules that can be detected by mass spectrometry, but only a few hundred of these have identified structures. It is likely that many of the as yet completely unknown plant metabolites function in defense against herbivores and/or pathogens.

The Jander lab studies the genetic and biochemical mechanisms that mediate plant interactions with insect herbivores. This includes not only the identification of novel defense-related plant metabolites, but also characterization of the genes and enzymes that are involved in their biosynthesis. Plant species that are currently being investigated include maize, Arabidopsis, and potato. Genetic mapping of natural variation in insect resistance, mass spectrometry-based screens to identify previously unknown plant defensive metabolites and characterization of biosynthetic enzymes through knockout mutations and in vitro enzyme assays have led to the discovery of novel plant defense mechanisms. On the insect side of the interaction, a major research focus is the investigation of strategies that herbivores use to avoid plant defenses or suppress them in a targeted manner.

The long-term goal of research on the chemical ecology of plant-insect interactions is to use the discoveries that are made in the laboratory to increase the natural resistance of crop plants to herbivore attack. Plants that are bred to have enhanced herbivore resistance would require fewer applications of potentially harmful pesticides, thereby providing benefits to the environment and reducing the input costs for farmers.

Examples of current research projects in the Jander lab are:

Maize-insect interactions

Aphids on Maize

Thirteen corn leaf aphids (Rhopalosiphum maidis) and one green peach aphid (Myzus persicae) on the stem of a maize plant.

The Jander lab is collaborating with groups at the University of Bern, the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology and Tel Aviv University to study the biosynthesis and function of benzoxazinoids. These indole-derived metabolites have a prominent role in the herbivore defenses of maize, wheat, rye and other grasses. Recent findings have included the discovery of previously unknown genes involved in maize benzoxazinoid biosynthesis, isolation of mutations that affect defense-induced benzoxazinoid production and evidence that there are defensive trade-offs in the production of different types of benzoxazinoids.

Although other insect herbivores are also being studied, maize-aphid interactions are a particular research emphasis of the Jander lab. Cultivated maize shows wide variation in its resistance to feeding by corn leaf aphids (Rhopalosiphum maidis). Whereas these aphids produce several progeny per day on some maize varieties, others are almost completely resistant to aphid attack. Genetic mapping of aphid progeny production on different maize inbred lines identified specific regions of the maize genome that influence this trait. In some cases, this genetic mapping approach has led to the discovery of specific maize genes and metabolites that provide aphid resistance.

Arabidopsis-aphid interactions

Green Peach Aphid

A fourth-instar green peach aphid (Myzus persicae) on an Arabidopsis leaf.

The green peach aphid (Myzus persicae) is a focus of ongoing research in the Jander lab. As broad generalist herbivores, green peach aphids are exposed to a wide variety of defensive metabolites in the plant species from which they feed. Similar to the corn leaf aphid, the utilization of different host plants by the green peach aphid is often determined by the abundance of specific plant defensive metabolites. Analysis of aphid salivary proteins, which are injected into the plant as the insects are feeding, has demonstrated that some of these proteins are involved in suppressing plant defenses, whereas others are recognized by plants as signals to mount defense responses.

Plant-mediated RNA interference (RNAi), whereby double-stranded RNA targeting insect genes is produced in the plant, has potential applications as an aphid control method. Research conducted in collaboration with Angela Douglas’ lab at Cornell University showed that growth and reproduction of green peach aphids is reduced on Arabidopsis plants transformed with RNAi constructs that limited the expression of aphid osmoregulatory genes. Current research efforts are directed at identifying aphid-specific genes that can be used for RNAi-mediated control of green peach aphids, without affecting the growth and survival of beneficial insect species that might consume these aphids.

Potato metabolic changes induced by tuber moth feeding

When certain potato varieties are subjected to low-level infestation with the Guatemalan tuber moth (Tecia solanivora), there is a two-fold increase in the marketable yield of uninfested tubers on the same plants. Tuber growth changes are associated with increased dry mass of uninfested tubers on infested plants, rather than merely higher water content. Current research, in collaboration with Katja Poveda’s lab at Cornell University is focused on identifying alterations in potato photosynthesis, sugar transport and other aspects of primary metabolism that lead to increased starch deposition in the tubers of potato plants infested with the Guatemalan tuber moth.