Leo M Alves, PHD

Leo M Alves, PHD

Associate Professor

Department : Biology

Email : leo.alves@manhattan.edu

Phone : 718-862-3843

Office : LEO 413


PHD, University of Chicago
BS, St. Norbert College


  • I have a long-standing involvement in secondary school science curriculum development, especially the Advanced Placement Biology program.
  • Since 1986, I have served in various capacities as part of the AP Biology Reading. On two occasions, as a Question Leader, I had overall responsibility for setting the grading standards for one of the four free-response questions on that year's exam, and I had oversight responsibility for the scoring of that question. This extended to over 85,000 exams for each of those two years.
  • I have co-directed College Board-sponsored AP Biology Summer Institutes at Manhattan College,  LaSalle University, and Mahopac High School, from 1987 to the present. Over 1,000 AP Biology teachers have been trained at these Summer Institutes.
  • I have served as a consultant to the College Board for AP Biology since 1987.
  • I was the recipient of the Advanced Placement Recognition Award, which was conferred by the Middle States Regional Assembly of the College Board in 1996.
  • I have recently become involved in biodiversity assessment and habitat mapping in the Hudson Valley as part of a training program underwritten by the Hudson River Estuary Program (HREP) of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) (http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/4920.html).
  • I have studied the biosynthesis and the action of sesquiterpenoid stress metabolites (SSMs) in plants of the Solanaceae. Potato tubers (Solanum tuberosum) produce SSMs, such as phytuberin, lubimin, and rishitin, in response to infection by the late-blight fungus Phytophthora infestans. These SSMs possess anti-microbial activity; thus, they may function as phytoalexins. I discovered that controlled atmospheres containing ethylene and oxygen (E/O2) amplify the levels of these SSMs in infected potato tubers. Additionally, heretofore unidentified SSMs also increase in concentration in response to E/O2. I exploited this amplified physiological response to isolate and characterize a previously uncharacterized SSM, which was identified as acetyldehydrorishitinol (summary of most recent paper, published in the journal Phytochemistry).

Professional Memberships

American Phytopathological Society

American Society of Plant Biologists

Japanese Society of Plant Physiologists

Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society

Courses Taught/Teaching

BIOL-103: Introduction to Biology

BIOL-111: General Biology I

BIOL-112: General Biology II

EDAP-630: Teaching the Redesigned AP Biology Course