Angela Smilanich, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Angela Smilanich

Contact Information


  • Postdoctoral Research, Wesleyan University, 2008-2012
  • Ph.D., Tulane University, 2008

Research Interests

Causes and consequences of variation in the insect immune response.

My research focuses on the ecology and evolution of diet breadth via physiological studies of multitrophic interactions between plants, herbivores, and natural enemies. Specific avenues of study include: (1) evolutionary ecology of insect immunity (2) investigation of plant secondary chemistry as insect immunosuppressant, and (3) behavioral adaptations of herbivores to host plants.


  • Greeney H.F., Dyer L.A., and Smilanich A.M. 2012. Feeding by lepidopteran larvae is dangerous: A review of caterpillars' chemical, physiological, morphological, and behavioral defenses against natural enemies. Invertebrate Survival Journal 9:7-34.
  • Massad T.J., Fincher R.M., Smilanich  A.M.,  and Dyer L.A. 2011. A quantitative evaluation of major plant defense hypotheses,  nature versus nurture, and chemistry versus ants. Arthropod-Plant Interactions  5: 125-139.
  • Smilanich A.M., Vargas J., Dyer L.A., and  Bowers M.D. 2011. Effects of ingested secondary metabolites on the  immune  response of a polyphagous caterpillar (Grammia incorrupta). Journal of  Chemical Ecology 37:239-245.
  • Smilanich A.M., Mason P.A., Sprung L., Chase  T.R., and Singer M.S. 2011. Complex effects of parasitoids on pharmacophagy and  diet choice of a polyphagous caterpillar. Oecologia 165: 995-1005.
  • Richards L.A., Dyer, L.A., Smilanich  A.M. and  Dodson C.D. 2010. Synergistic effects of amides from two Piper species on  generalist and specialist herbivores. Journal of Chemical Ecology 36:1105-1113.
  • Smilanich A.M., Dyer L.A., Chambers J.Q. and  Bowers M.D. 2009. Immunological cost of chemical defence and the evolution of  herbivore diet breadth. Ecology Letters 12: 612-621.
  • Smilanich A.M., Dyer L.A., and  Gentry G.L.  2009. The insect immune response and other putative defenses as effective  predictors of parasitism. Ecology 90:1434-1440.
  • Dyer L.A., Dodson C.D., Stireman J.O., Tobler  M.A., Smilanich A.M., Fincher R.M., and Letourneau D.K. 2003. Synergistic  effects of three Piper amides on generalist and specialist  herbivores.  Journal of Chemical Ecology 29:2499-2514.