Leo Alves

Associate Professor


  • After 39 years of service (1978-2017) on the faculty of the Biology Department, I will officially retire from Manhattan College at the conclusion of the 2016-17 AY. I have been designated an Associate Professor of Biology, Emeritus as of 1 September 2017. I will no longer have a campus office or campus phone/voicemail account. However, I will continue to maintain my Manhattan College e-mail account, through which I can be contacted (leo.alves@manhattan.edu).
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  • I have a long-standing involvement in secondary school science curriculum development, especially the Advanced Placement Biology program.
  • For 20 years, I 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.
  • From 1987-2014, I planned and led AP Biology workshops at College Board-sponsored AP Summer Institutes (APSIs) at Manhattan College,  LaSalle University, and Mahopac High School. Over 1,000 AP Biology teachers were trained at these APSIs.
  • I served as a consultant to the College Board for AP Biology from 1987-2016.
  • 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. In response to infection by the late-blight fungus Phytophthora infestans, potato tubers (Solanum tuberosum) produce SSMs such as phytuberin, lubimin, and rishitin. 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 (findings published in the journal Plant Physiology). Additionally, heretofore unidentified SSMs also increase in concentration in response to E/O2. I exploited this amplified physiological response to isolate and identify a previously uncharacterized SSM, viz., acetyldehydrorishitinol (findings published in the journal Phytochemistry).


  • PHD, University of Chicago
  • BS, St. Norbert College

Courses Taught

  • BIOL-103: Introduction to Biology
  • BIOL-111: General Biology I
  • BIOL-112: General Biology II
  • EDAP-630: Teaching the Redesigned AP Biology Course
  • Professional Experience and Memberships


    • American Phytopathological Society (emeritus member)
    • American Society of Plant Biologists (emeritus member)
    • Japanese Society of Plant Physiologists (lifetime member)
    • Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society (at-large member)
  • Other
    • Bonus et Fidelis Medal, Manhattan College, 2003