New Director of the School of Biology and Ecology: Dr. Andrei Alyokhin

Andrei Alyokhin PhotoThe School of Biology and Ecology is pleased to welcome our new Director, Dr. Andrei Alyokhin.  Alyokhin, Professor of Applied Entomology, assumed his position at the beginning of this spring semester.

Alyokhin received his Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1999, and has been a valued and committed member of the department since 2001.  During his time at UMass Amherst, he performed research on the Colorado potato beetle before spending two years as a post-doctoral researcher in Hawaii studying invasive insects and biological control.  While in Hawaii, a job at UMaine became available.  The position was seeking a potato entomologist who had experience working with aphid vectors.  In January 2001 he was offered the position, where to this day he continues his research on potatoes.  His current research, in collaboration with cooperative extension as well as other universities across the United States, is looking at potato viruses transmitted by aphids.  Along with this research, he is researching the evolution of insecticide resistance in the Colorado potato beetle.

His research laboratory is split between the UMaine campus, and the Aroostook Research Farm located in Presque Isle, Maine. This farm is the center for agricultural research and development for Maine’s potato industry.  The research and outreach programs provide research-based information essential for Maine’s potato industry.

Alyokhin is excited to begin his new position, but explains that he has big shoes to fill.  He will be assuming the position from Dr. Eleanor Groden, who held the role of of the SBE director for eight years.

“I think the department has been run very well under Dr. Groden’s leadership, so I hope to continue running it well,” said Alyokhin.   “We have an excellent research program, it is extremely diverse…from studying reasons for muscle degeneration to looking at blueberry diseases.  We have many opportunities for growth…I’m excited to continue the tradition of excellence.”