Alissa A. Packer, Ph.D.

Department: Biology

Associate Professor of Biology

  • Education
  • PHD, Indiana University
  • BS, Dickinson College

Packer is a plant ecologist interested in how plants use direct and indirect defenses to protect themselves against natural enemies. She and her students examine the role extrafloral nectaries and hydrogen cyanide play in plant defense against herbivores. They are interested in whether these defenses are increased in plants when they experience damage. Recent publications include "Simulated Herbivory Induces Extrafloral Nectary Production in Prunus avium", coauthored by Christine Pulice '08 and published in Functional Ecology, and "Service Learning in a Non-majors Biology Course Promotes Changes in Students‚ Attitudes and Values About the Environment," published in The International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.

She teaches the introductory course Ecology and Evolutionary Biology along with upper-level courses in General Ecology, Plant Physiology, and Plant-Animal Interactions, as well as a Science and Society course for non-majors. She is director of the Common Reading Program and a member of the Committee on Teaching and Learning. Packer is a member of the Ecological Society of America and the National Science Teachers Association.

Courses taught:

  • BIOL-010 Ecology and Evolution
  • BIOL-010 Issues in Biology
  • BIOL-101 Ecology and Evolution
  • BIOL-101L Ecology and Evolution Lab
  • BIOL-205 Organismal Biology
  • BIOL-250 STEM First-Year Seminar
  • BIOL-350 Investigative Problems in Biology
  • BIOL-450 Advanced STEM Seminar
  • BIOL-510 Student Research I
  • BIOL-511 Student Research II
  • BIOL-560 Sustainable Food Systems
  • ECOL-501 Plant-Soil Microbe Interaction
  • ECOL-510 Student Research I
  • ECOL-560 Sustainable Food Systems
  • PRDV-104 Perspectives