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. 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).


  • 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