Majid
Ghaninia

Bio:

After obtaining his B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Plant Protection and Agricultural Entomology Majid moved to Sweden to complete his Ph.D. His interest in vectors of medical and veterinary importance led him to focus his studies on the chemical ecology and sensory (olfactory) physiology of mosquitoes under Professor Bill Hansson’s supervision. While there, he taught insect chemical ecology and sensory physiology. Majid then joined Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology (Germany) as a postdoctoral researcher where he conducted and completed projects on the chemical ecology of insect-plant and mosquito-human interactions. While there, he also mentored a number of undergraduate and graduate students and on multiple occasions lectured on insect chemical ecology. After that, Majid served as an assistant professor and faculty member at the GUASNR. There, he led a research team to investigate the olfactory responses of a key pest of rice fields, the striped rice stem borer, to different varieties of rice plants. There he taught entomology and pest management, insect physiology, insect morphology, and methods of research, gave lectures on olfaction (sense of smell) in insects, for B.Sc. and M.Sc. students.

Currently, as an assistant research professor (non-tenure) at ASU, Majid is investigating sensory physiology and behavior using social insects (ants, honey bees, and bumble bees) and fruit flies as model systems. In addition, he teaches introductory, general, and advanced biology.

Majid Ghaninia

Research Interests:

As neurobiologist and chemical ecologist Majid is interested in knowing the vital role olfaction and olfactory cues play in maintaining the integrity of social organisms, from humans to insects. The simplicity of the olfactory system in insects allowed him to work extensively on insect-plant, insect-human, and insect-insect interactions. For his PhD project he investigated the sensory physiology and chemical ecology of disease-carrying mosquitoes, Anopheles gambiae species complex and Aedes aegypti, and mechanisms involved in locating their hosts, mates, and oviposition sites. Furthermore, isolation and identification of the biologically active novel compounds to which mosquitoes are attracted was another topic that he examined. During his postdoc career at Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology he worked to unravel the insect-plant interactions of the Manduca sexta (moth) and Apis mellifera (honeybee) model systems, as well as those of Chilo suppressalis, a key pest of rice plants. At ASU, Majid worked extensively on unraveling insect-insect interactions using termites and ants as model systems. He is currently working on cracking the olfactory coding of bees and fruit flies using natural odor stimuli. Majid plans on employing molecular, cellular, and behavioral tools to further delve into the chemical senses of organisms in the future.

Key Terms:

  • biology
  • chemical ecology
  • chemical senses
  • entomology
  • neuroanatomy
  • neuroethology
  • olfaction
  • odorant receptor protein characterization
  • sensory physiology
  • social organisms