Jorge Mena-Ali Assistant Dean of Faculty Diversity Initiatives and House Don for Roschel College; Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology

Evolution; Ecology; Plant Reproduction


B.S. Universidad de Costa Rica
M.S. Universidad de Costa Rica
Ph.D. The Pennsylvania State University


Plant Reproductive Ecology and Evolution
Evolutionary Disease Biology & Plant-pathogen interactions
Population Genetics, Molecular Ecology
Biology of Invasive Species, Conservation Biology , Tropical Biology

Grants & Awards

Directorate of Environmental Biology, National Science Foundation. Research Initiation Grant: Disease as a driver of diversification in life history, pathogenicity and reproductive strategies. August 2009-July 2014

Directorate for Biological Sciences, National Science Foundation. Post-Doctoral Minority Fellowship, Phylogenetic, ecological and life-history determinants of a globally distributed disease complex. July 2007-June 2009.


Most Recent Publications: 

Veterano ST*, Coffua LS*, Mena-Ali JI, Blair JE. 2018. Pythium yorkensis sp. nov., a potential soybean pathogen from southeastern Pennsylvania, USA. Plant Pathology 67(3): 619-625.

Coffua LS*, Veterano ST*, Clipman SJ*, Mena-Ali JI, Blair JE. 2016. Characterization of Pythium sp. associated with asymptomatic soybeans in southeastern Pennsylvania. Plant Disease 100(9): 1870-1879.

Mora, JM, Mena-Ali JI, Mora-Di Mare, A. 2014. El uso de Isertia laevis como percha por Centurio senex (Chiroptera: Phyllostomidae) en el suroeste de Costa Rica. Mammalogy Notes 1(2): 21.

Gibson* AK, E Petit, JI Mena-Ali, B Oxelman and ME Hood. 2013. Life-history strategy defends against disease and may select against physiological resistance. Ecology and Evolution 3: 1741–50.

Kariyat RR, JI Mena-Ali, B Forry*, MC Mescher, CM DeMoraes and AG Stephenson. 2012.  Inbreeding, herbivory, and the transcriptome of Solanum carolinense. Entomologia Experimentalis Applicata 144: 134–44.

Gibson* AK, JI Mena-Ali and ME Hood. 2010. Loss of pathogens and disease resistance in threatened plant species. Oikos 119: 1919–1928.

Hood ME, JI Mena-Ali, AK Gibson*, B Oxelman, T Giraud, R Yockyeng, M Arroyo, F Conti, A Pedersen, P Gladieux and J Antonovics. 2010. The worldwide occurrence of the anther-smut fungus Microbotryum violaceum on species of the Caryophyllaceae. New Phytologist 187:217-229.

Mena-Ali JI, L Kessler* and AG Stephenson. 2009. Evidence for sheltered load around the S-locus in Solanum carolinense. Sexual Plant Reproduction 22:63-71.

Good-Avila S, JI Mena-Ali and AG Stephenson. 2008. Chapter 2: Genetic and Environmental Causes and Evolutionary Consequences of Variations in Self-Fertility in Self Incompatible Species, pages 33-51. In: Self-incompatibility in Flowering Plants – Evolution, Diversity, and Mechanisms, edited by Noni Franklin-Tong (Springer-Verlag).

Mena-Ali JI, L Kessler* and AG Stephenson. 2008. Inbreeding depression in Solanum carolinense, a species with a plastic self-incompatibility response.  BMC Evolutionary Biology 8:10 (DOI:10.1186/1471-2148-8-10).

Mena-Ali JI and AG Stephenson. 2007. Segregation analyses of partial self-incompatibility in self and cross progeny of Solanum carolinense reveal a leaky S-allele. Genetics 177: 501-510.

Mena-Ali JI and OJ Rocha. 2005. Selective seed abortion affects the vigor of the offspring in Bauhinia ungulata L. (Fabaceae). Annals of Botany 95: 1017-1023.

Mena-Alí JI and OJ Rocha. 2005. Effect of ovule position within the pod on the patterns of seed production in Bauhinia ungulata L. (Fabaceae). Annals of Botany 95: 449–455.

Travers SE, JI Mena-Alí and AG Stephenson. 2004. Plasticity in the self-incompatibility of Solanum carolinense. Plant Species Biology 19:127-135.

Stephenson AG, SE Travers, JI Mena-Alí and JA Winsor. 2003. Pollen performance before and during the autotrophic-heterotrophic transition of pollen tube growth. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B 358: 1009-1018.