Dr Alexander Weinhold


Research focus


In my research I am interested in how plant metabolites are shaping plant-herbivore interaction but as well the interactions in plant communities. In my current project I am studying belowground interactions that are mediated by root exudates and root volatiles. The aim is to establish a platform that will allow us to untangle the sophisticated interactions in the soil with state of the art analytical instrumentation (LC-qToF, GC-QqQ, LC-QqQ). Starting with plants of Brassica and Solanum as model systems I would like to identify major chemical markers by means of a metabolomics/ chemometrics approach. Deciphering the role of belowground plant metabolites will help to gain a better understanding how plant biodiversity is emerging and how it is maintained.




Metabolomics, chemometrics, secondary metabolites, plant volatiles, root exudates, root volatiles, plant-herbivore interactions

Short CV


December 2014 – Now

PostDoc at the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) in the group of Nicole van Dam.

April 2013 – December 2014

PostDoc at the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, Institute for Reference
Materials and Measurements in Geel, Belgium, working on the authentication of olive oils and wines by means of HPLC-MS and GC-MS combined with metabolomics.

June 2012 – March 2013

PostDoc in the Group of Phyllis Coley and Thomas Kursar at the Biology Department of the University of Utah, working on deciphering the chemical diversity of the tropical tree genus Inga by means of UPLC-qToFMS.

2008 - 2012

PhD student/ Dissertation at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in the group of Prof. Dr. Ian T. Baldwin on the topic “Understanding the role of trichomes in plant-herbivore interactions”. 

2007 - 2008

Diploma/Master thesis at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in the group of Prof. Dr. Ian T. Baldwin on "Multivariate analysis of volatile emissions from wild tobacco Nicotiana attenuata using GCxGC-ToFMS" co-supervised by Professors Dr. Ian T. Baldwin and Dr. Georg Pohnert (Institute of Analytical Chemistry, Friedrich Schiller University Jena).

Selected Publications


Endara, M.-J., Weinhold, A., Cox, J. E., Wiggins, N. L., Coley, P. D., Kursar, T. A. (2015), Divergent evolution in antiherbivore defences within species complexes at a single Amazonian site. Journal of Ecology, 103: 1107–1118. doi: 10.1111/1365-2745.12431

Weinhold, A.; Baldwin, I. T. (2011). Trichome-derived O-acyl sugars are a first meal for caterpillars that tags them for predation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108(19), 7855-7859. doi:10.1073/pnas.1101306108

Stork, W. F. J.; Weinhold, A.; Baldwin, I.T.  (2011). Trichomes as dangerous lollipops: do lizards also use caterpillar body and frass odor to optimize their foraging? Plant Signaling & Behavior, Volume 6 Issue 12 1893-1896 doi:10.4161/psb.6.12.18028

Weinhold, A.; Shaker, K.; Wenzler, M.; Schneider, B.; Baldwin, I.T. (2011). Phaseoloidin, a homogentisic acid glucoside from Nicotiana attenuata trichomes, contributes to the plant’s resistance against Lepidopteran herbivores. Journal of Chemical Ecology, Volume 37 1091-1098 doi:10.1007/s10886-011-0012-7

Gaquerel, E.; Weinhold, A.; Baldwin, I. T. (2009). Molecular interactions between the specialist herbivore Manduca sexta (Lepidoptera, Sphigidae) and its natural host Nicotiana attenuata. VIII. An unbiased GCxGC-ToFMS analysis of the plant´s elicited volatile emissions. Plant Physiology, 149(3), 1408-1423. doi:10.1104/pp.108.130799

iDiv publications


Calf, O. W., Huber, H., Peters, J. L., Weinhold, A., Poeschl, Y., van Dam, N. M.

Gastropods and Insects Prefer Different Solanum dulcamara ChemotypesJournal of Chemical Ecology45(2), 146-61

Huang, J., Hammerbacher, A., Weinhold, A., Reichelt, M., Gleixner, G., Behrendt, T., van Dam, N. M., Sala, A., Gershenzon, J., Trumbore, S., Hartmann, H.

Eyes on the future – evidence for trade-offs between growth, storage and defense in Norway spruceNew Phytologist222(1), 144-58

Ristok, C., Poeschl, Y., Dudenhöffer, J.-H., Ebeling, A., Eisenhauer, N., Vergara, F., Wagg, C., van Dam, N. M., Weinhold, A.

Plant species richness elicits changes in the metabolome of grassland species via soil biotic legacyJournal of Ecology(in press),

Calf, O. W., Huber, H., Peters, J. L., Weinhold, A., van Dam, N. M.

Glycoalkaloid composition explains variation in slug resistance in Solanum dulcamaraOecologia187(2), 495-506

Huang, J., Hartmann, H., Hellén, H., Wisthaler, A., Perreca, E., Weinhold, A., Rücker, A., van Dam, N. M., Gershenzon, J., Trumbore, S. E., Behrendt, T.

New perspectives on CO2, temperature and light effects on BVOC emissions using online measurements by PTR-MS and cavity ring-down spectroscopyEnvironmental Science & Technology52(23), 13811-23

Pappas, M. L., Liapoura, M., Papantoniou, D., Avramidou, M., Kavroulakis, N., Weinhold, A., Broufas, G. D., Papadopoulou, K. K.

The Beneficial Endophytic Fungus Fusarium solani Strain K Alters Tomato Responses Against Spider Mites to the Benefit of the PlantFrontiers in Plant Science9, 1603

Peters, K., Worrich, A., Weinhold, A., Alka, O., Balcke, G., Birkemeyer, C., Bruelheide, H., Calf, O. W., Dietz, S., Duhrkop, K., Gaquerel, E., Heinig, U., Kucklich, M., Macel, M., Muller, C., Poeschl, Y., Pohnert, G., Ristok, C., Rodriguez, V. M., Ruttkies, C., Schuman, M., Schweiger, R., Shahaf, N., Steinbeck, C., Tortosa, M., Treutler, H., Ueberschaar, N., Velasco, P., Weiss, B. M., Widdig, A., Neumann, S., van Dam, N. M.

Current Challenges in Plant Eco-MetabolomicsInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences19(5),

Luu, V. T., Weinhold, A., Ullah, C., Dressel, S., Schoettner, M., Gase, K., Gaquerel, E., Xu, S., Baldwin, I. T.

O-acyl sugars protect a wild tobacco from both native fungal pathogens and a specialist herbivorePlant Physiology174(1), 370-86

Bixenmann, R. J., Coley, P. D., Weinhold, A., Kursar, T. A.

High herbivore pressure favors constitutive over induced defenseEcology and Evolution6(17), 6037-49

van Dam, N. M., Weinhold, A., Garbeva, P.

Calling in the Dark: The Role of Volatiles for Communication in the Rhizosphere In: Blande, D. J., Glinwood, R. (Eds.) Deciphering Chemical Language of Plant Communication Springer International Publishing, Cham, p. 175-210
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Deutscher Platz 5e
04103 Leipzig, Germany

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+49 341 9733163
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Friedrich Schiller University Jena

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