← All People

Anjel Helms

Helms, Anjel
Anjel Helms
Assistant Professor - Chemical Ecology
103DA Entomology Research Laboratory

Office: 979-458-5749
Lab: 979-458-0323
Undergraduate Education
Pepperdine University - Biochemistry - B.A. - 2009
Pepperdine University - Biology - B.S. - 2009
Graduate Education
The Pennsylvania State University - Ph.D. - Ecology - 2015

Research interests

Chemical Ecology, Plant-insect interactions, tritrophic interactions, belowground chemical ecology, chemical communication, plant defense

The research in our lab focuses on understanding how chemical compounds mediate interactions among plants, insect herbivores, and herbivore natural enemies. More specifically, we are investigating how plants and insect herbivores use chemical information from their environment to assess their risk of attack and how herbivore natural enemies use such information to find potential prey.


Special Topics in Chemical Ecology (ENTO 689)
Insect Ecology (ENTO 424)

Peer-reviewed publications

Helms, A.M., Ray, S., Matulis, N.L.*, Kuzemchak, M.C.*, Grisales, W.*, Tooker, J.F., Ali, J.G. Chemical cues linked to risk: Cues from belowground natural enemies enhance plant defences and influence herbivore behaviour and performance. Functional Ecology. 33, 798-808 (2019). DOI: 10.1111/1365-2435.13297

Acevedo, F.E., Smith, P., Peiffer, M., Helms, A.M., Tooker, J.T., Felton, G.W. Phytohormones in fall armyworm saliva modulate defense responses in plants. Journal of Chemical Ecology. (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10886-019-01079-z

Yip, E.C., Sowers, R.P.*, Helms, A.M., Mescher, M.C., De Moraes, C.M., Tooker, J.F. Tradeoffs between defenses against herbivores in goldenrod (Solidago altissima). Arthropod-Plant Interactions. 13, 279-287 (2019). DOI: 10.1007/s11829-019-09674-3

Harth, J.M., Ferrari M., Helms, A.M., Tooker, J.F., and Stephenson, A. Zucchini Yellow Mosaic Virus Infection Limits Establishment and Severity of Powdery Mildew in Wild Populations of Cucurbita pepo. (2018). Frontiers in Plant Science https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2018.00792

Castano-Duque, L., Helms, A.M., Ali, J.G., and Luthe, D.S. Plant bio-wars: Maize protein networks reveal tissue-specific defense strategies in response to a root herbivore. Journal of Chemical Ecology. (2018). doi.org/10.1007/s10886-018-0972-y

Helms, A. M., De Moraes, C. M., Tröger, A., Alborn, H. T., Francke, W., Tooker, J. F., Mescher, M. C. Identification of an insect-produced olfactory cue that primes plant defenses. Nature Communications. 8,1-9 (2017). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-00335-8

Ray, S., Gaffor, I., Helms, A.M., Chuang, W., Tooker, J.F., Felton, G.W., and Luthe, D.S., Maize plants recognize herbivore-associated cues from caterpillar frass. Journal of Chemical Ecology. 41:781-792 (2015). DOI: 10.1007/s10886-015-0619-1

Helms, A. M., De Moraes, C. M., Mescher, M. C. and Tooker, J. F. The volatile emission of Eurosta solidaginis primes herbivore-induced volatile production in Solidago altissima and does not directly deter insect feeding. BMC Plant Biol. 14,1–9 (2014).

Tooker, J.F. and Helms, A.M. Phytohormone dynamics associated with gall insects, and their potential role in the evolution of the gall-inducing habit. Journal of Chemical Ecology. 40: 742-753 (2014).

Pratt, R.B., Jacobsen, A.L., Ramirez, A.R., Helms, A.M., Traugh, C.A., Tobin, M.F., Heffner, M.S., and Davis, S.D. Mortality of resprouting chaparral shrubs after a fire and during a record drought: physiological mechanisms and demographic consequences. Global Change Biology. 20: 893-907 (2014).

Helms, A. M., De Moraes, C. M., Tooker, J. F. and Mescher, M. C. Exposure of Solidago altissima plants to volatile emissions of an insect antagonist (Eurosta solidaginis) deters subsequent herbivory. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 110, 199–204 (2013).