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About Don Cipollini

Work in my laboratory generally focuses on the chemical ecology of plant responses to the environment, with a focus on induced plant responses to herbivores and pathogens and the chemical ecology of invasive plants, insects, and microbes. One important theme is the influence of environmental and genetic factors on the expression, costs, and benefits of plant resistance traits, and on subsequent outcomes of the interaction of plants with their biotic and abiotic environment. Within this context, our interests range from highly mechanistic descriptions of constitutive and inducible plant defenses and their impacts on other species and plant fitness, to evolution of plant defenses, to community level impacts.  We have extended our understanding of plant resistance mechanisms to understand invasiveness and impacts of garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata), an important invasive mustard that has allelopathic effects on other plants, insects, and soil microbes, like mycorrhizae. Recent efforts have focused on the lethal effects of this plant on native herbivores, like West Virginia White (Pieris virginiensis) and Falcate Orangetip (Anthocharis midea) butterflies. Our interests have extended to the expression and role of plant defenses in woody plant ecology, including that of the invasive shrub, Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) and interactions between the invasive beetle, the Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis), and its susceptible and resistant ash (Fraxinus) tree hosts. In 2014, we identified white fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus) as a novel host of this beetle in North America, and are currently exploring the causes and consequences of this apparent host range expansion.  Other collaborative projects involve the chemical ecology of a midge galling system in goldenrod (Solidago) species, the chemical ecology of fungal and insect resistance in Austrian pine (Pinus nigra), and the conservation biology and genetics of the endangered wetland plant, Northeastern Bulrush (Scirpus ancistrochaetus). We have worked experimentally with bacteria, fungi, insects, and plants, and use a variety of techniques including basic experimental greenhouse and field ecology techniques, microscopy, molecular analyses, and analytical chemistry techniques such as HPLC.


2009 - Present Director of Environmental Studies, Wright State University Wright State University
2008 - Present Professor, Wright State University Biological Sciences

Curriculum Vitae


2016 - 2017 Host versus alternate host tree oviposition attractants for female emerald ash borers
Colleague(s): Jim Tumlinson
2015 - 2016 Evaluating the risk posed by emerald ash borer to fringetrees, Chionanthus spp.
2014 - 2015 Host tree oviposition attractants for female emerald ash borers
Colleague(s): Jim Tumlinson
2013 - 2015 MRI: Acquisition of Ion Torrent Personal Genome Machine to establish high-throughput sequencing capability for ecological and environmental biology
National Science Foundation
Colleague(s): Oleg Paliy, Scott Daird, John Stireman, and Jeff Peters
2013 - 2014 Ameliorating soil legacy effects of an exotic plant invader: implications for forestry and restoration in Ohio
Ohio Plant Biotechnology Consortium
Colleague(s): Ryan McEwan
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Professional Service and Affiliations

2015 - Present Associate Editor, Journal of Chemical Ecology
2014 - Present Board Chair, Pi Epsilon, the National Environmental Sciences Honor Society
2008 - Present Associate Editor, Environmental Entomology
Member, Ecological Society of America
Member, Entomological Society of America
Member, Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society
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Honors and Awards

  • 2016 Finalist for Distinguished Professor of Research, Wright State University
  • 2012 Finalist for Distinguished Professor of Research, Wright State University


1997 PhD, Pennsylvania State University - Main Campus ‐ Ecology
1993 M.S., Indiana University of Pennsylvania ‐ Biology
1990 B.S., Indiana University of Pennsylvania ‐ Biology

Contact Information

Biological Sciences Bldg 203
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy
Dayton, OH 45435-0001
(937) 775-3805


Articles (115)