Majid Ghaninia Tabarestani

Assistant Research Professor


Dr. Ghaninia is a chemical ecologist interested in unraveling insect-plant, insect-human, and insect-insect interactions. More specifically, he has worked on sensory physiology and neuroanatomy of disease-carrying mosquitoes, Anopheles gambiae species complex and Aedes aegypti, and mechanisms involved in locating their hosts, mates, and oviposition sites, and isolated and identified a number of biologically active novel compounds to which mosquitoes respond both electrophysiologically and behaviorally. By employing single sensillum recording (SSR) technique and olfactometric bioassay he unraveled insect-plant interactions using Manduca sexta as a model, and Chilo suppressalis as a key pest of rice plant. Using extensive SSR technique he worked on unraveling cuticular hydrocarbon (CHC) detection by ants and termites. Currently, Dr. Ghaninia is using natural odor stimuli to crack the olfactory code of honeybees, bumble bees, and fruit flies.


  • Ph.D.: Entomology (Insect Chemical Ecology) Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

  • MS: Agricultural Entomology Isfahan University of Technology

  • BS: Plant Protection Gorgan University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources 

Google Scholar

Research Interests

Behavioral experiments:

-Swarming activity of mosquitoes
-Olfactometric bioassays (wind tunnel, two and four arm olfactometer)


-Single Sensillum Recordings (SSR)
-Gas chromatography coupled with Single Sensillum Recordings (GC-SSR)

-Gas chromatography- Mass spectrometry (GC-MS)
-Gas chromatography-electroantennographic detection (GC-EAD)

Confocal laser scanning microscopy:

Morphological studies; dissection of brain, staining of neuron (Anterograde
neurobiotin backfill, Golgi impregnation,TUNEL staining), immunohistochemistry, fluorescence microscopy, Microtome sectioning, Cryosectioning,

Odor collection methods:

-Solvent extraction
-SPME and volatile collection

AMIRA, AVIZO (software):

3D data visualization, processing, analysis, and reconstruction. 


Ghaninia M., Majeed S., Hill S., Dekker T., and Ignell R. 2018. Hold your breath– differential behavioral and sensory acuity of mosquitoes to acetone and carbon dioxide. Journal of Experimental Biology (conditional acceptance).​

Ghaninia M., Berger S., Reinberg D., Zwiebel LJ., Ray., A. and Liebig J. 2018. Antennal olfactory physiology and behavior in males of the ponerine ant Harpegnathos saltator.Journal of Chemical Ecology (DOI: 10.1007/s10886-018-1013-6).

Ghaninia M., Haight K, Berger S., Reinberg D., Ray., A. Zwiebel LJ., and Liebig J. 2017. Chemosensory sensitivity reflects reproductive status in the ant Harpegnathos saltator. Scientific Reports 7, 3732-3741.

Yan H., Opachaloemphan C., Mancini G., Yang H., Gallitto M., Mlejnek J., Haight K., Ghaninia M., et al. 2017. An engineered orco mutation produces aberrant social behavior and defective neural development in ants. Cell 170, 736–747.

Seada MA. and Ghaninia M., 2016. Deep-tissue confocal imaging of the central projections of ovipositor sensory afferents in the Egyptian cotton leafworm, Spodoptera littoralis. Micron 82, 52-62.

Ghaninia M. and Tabari, MA., 2015. Olfactory cues explain differential attraction of the stripped rice stem borer to different varieties of rice plant. Journal of Applied Entomology 140, 376-385.

Ghaninia M., Olsson SB, and Hansson BS. 2014. Physiological organization and topographic mapping of the antennal olfactory sensory neurons in female hawkmoths, Manduca sexta. Chemical Senses 39(8), 655-671.

Ghaninia M., Larsson M., Hansson BS. and Ignell R., 2008. Natural Odor Ligands for Olfactory Receptor Neurons of Female Mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti: Use of Gas Chromatography-Single Sensillum Recordings. Journal of Experimental Biology 211, 3020 -3027.

Ghaninia M., Ignell R. and Hansson BS., 2007. Functional classification and central nervous projections of olfactory receptor neurons housed in antennal trichoid sensilla of female yellow fever mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti. European Journal of Neuroscience 26, 1116-1123.

Ghaninia, M., Hansson, BS. and Ignell, R., 2007. The glomerular organization of the antennal lobe of the African malaria mosquito, Anopheles gambiae – innervation and three-dimensional reconstruction. Arthropods Structure and Development. 36, 23- 39.

Ignell, R., Dekker, T., Ghaninia, M. and Hansson, BS., 2005. The Neuronal Architecture of the Mosquito Deutocerebrum. J. Comparative Neurology. 493, 207- 240.

Ghaninia, M. and R. Ebadi., 2004. Effect of plant feeding with the aim of improving the mass rearing method of Andrallus spinidens(F.)(Hem.: Pentatomidae: Asopinae) fed with the Rice Semilooper as prey. J. Agric. Sci. Natur. Resour., (Iran) Vol 11(2), 191-200.

Ebadi, R. and Ghaninia, M., 2003. A study of mass rearing feasibility and egg storage of a predatory bug, Andrallus spinidens(F.)(Hem.: Pentatomidae) under laboratory conditions. J. Agricultural Sciences of Iran. Vol 38(1), 43-51.

Ghaninia, M., R., Ebadi and H. Saeb., 2002. A study of the host effect on biology of a predatory bug, Andrallus spinidens(F.)(Hem.: Pentatomidae) under laboratory conditions. J.Agric. Sci. Natur. Resour., (Iran) Vol 9(1), 39-49. 



  • Entomology and Pest Management (ENT425) (for B.Sc. students)

  • Advanced Insect Morphology (ENT615) (for M.Sc. students)

  • Advanced Insect Physiology (ENT462) (for M.Sc. students)

  • Methods of research in Entomology (for M.Sc. students) 

  • Introductory Biology for Allied Health (BIO 156) 

  • General Biology (Majors) II (BIO182)