Biography

I studied agricultural sciences, particularly plant protection, at Suez Canal University. During BSc, I have always been passionate about insects and their behaviour. My graduation project focused on the population ecology of anthocorid predators feed on Thrips. I joined the same department as a Teaching Assistant where I conduced my MSc studies on the factors affecting mass production of Anthocorid predators. During my pre-doctoral, I worked on applying several biological control techniques to control piercing and sucking pests in sweet paper greenhouses (SEKEM® group).

In 2009, I joined Neuchâtel University (Switzerland) as a PhD Student to undertake my doctoral work on enhancing corn attractiveness to three braconid parasitoids using two plant elicitors.

In 2012, I was appointed to a lectureship of entomology at Suez Canal University. Afterwards, I joined Rothamsted Research (UK) as a postdoctoral fellow, I investigated the basis of natural stress-related induction of defence in potato against aphid using the plant activator cis-Jasmone.

In 2013, I awarded a postdoctoral fellowship from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) where I joined the Institute of Plant Science and Resources (IPSR) at Okayama University working on the inducible defences of rice and sorghum against chewing lepidopteran herbivores.

In 2016, I was appointed as a postdoctoral fellow at KU Leuven (Belgium) to undertake studies on the potential role of nectar yeast in enhancing the aphid parasitoid (i.e.: Aphidius ervi) foraging to localize natural sugar sources.   

More recently, I joined Toby Bruce’s group (Insect Chemical Ecology Lab) at Keele University on BBSRC/SASSA project (BB/R020795/1) in which we aim to enhance crop diversity and ecosystem services to promote biological control of fall armyworm, one of the most devastating invasive pests in Africa, in smallholder cropping systems.

Research and scholarship

My main interests are in the field of entomology, chemical ecology, plant-insect interactions and biological control. I am particularly interested in the defensive functions of the volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are plant secondary metabolites emitted by plants after herbivory.

Combining analytical chemistry, behavioural ecology, molecular biology and multivariate statistics, I attempt to characterize the VOC profiles of various crop plants (e.g. maize, sorghum, rice, potato, cotton and cowpea) and the factors that affect or regulate the emission of these defence signals upon herbivory and thereby impact the attraction of natural enemies.

I aim to increase the plant attractiveness to natural enemies via manipulating the indirect plant defence (i.e. VOCs emission) with the use of certain chemical elicitors as a sustainable and environment-friendly tactic for crop protection.

In collaboration with icipe in Kenya, I am currently working on enhancing crop diversity and ecosystem services to promote biological control of fall armyworm in smallholder cropping systems. Using very advanced state-of-the-art facilities such as GC-MS and GC-EAG, I am performing the chemical and electrophysiological analysis of secondary metabolites (i.e. VOCs) collected from main crops such as maize, millet and sorghum varieties and candidate companion crops in Kenya to identify bioactive compounds.

Here are my Researchgate and ORCiD profiles for those interested. 

My full publication list is available via Google Scholar

Selected Publications

  • Goelen T, Sobhy IS, Vanderaa C, Waeckers F, Rediers H, Wenseleers T, Jacquemyn H, Lievens B. 2020. Bacterial phylogeny predicts volatile organic compound composition and olfactory response of an aphid parasitoid. OIKOS. link> doi> full text>
  • Meza FC, Roberts JM, Sobhy IS, Okumu FO, Tripet F, Bruce TJA. 2020. Behavioural and Electrophysiological Responses of Female Anopheles gambiae Mosquitoes to Volatiles from a Mango Bait. J Chem Ecol, vol. 46(4), 387-396. link> doi> full text>
  • Sobhy IS, Caulfield JC, Pickett JA, Birkett MA. 2020. Sensing the Danger Signals: cis-Jasmone Reduces Aphid Performance on Potato and Modulates the Magnitude of Released Volatiles. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, vol. 7. doi> link> full text>
  • Goelen T, Sobhy IS, Vanderaa C, de Boer JG, Delvigne F, Francis F, Wackers F, Rediers H, Verstrepen KJ, Wenseleers T, Jacquemyn H, Lievens B. 2020. Volatiles of bacteria associated with parasitoid habitats elicit distinct olfactory responses in an aphid parasitoid and its hyperparasitoid. FUNCTIONAL ECOLOGY, vol. 34(2), 507-520. link> doi> full text>
  • Sobhy IS, Goelen T, Herrera-Malaver B, Verstrepen KJ, Wackers F, Jacquemyn H, Lievens B. 2019. Associative learning and memory retention of nectar yeast volatiles in a generalist parasitoid. ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR, vol. 153, 137-146. link> doi> full text>

Full Publications List show

Journal Articles

  • Goelen T, Sobhy IS, Vanderaa C, Waeckers F, Rediers H, Wenseleers T, Jacquemyn H, Lievens B. 2020. Bacterial phylogeny predicts volatile organic compound composition and olfactory response of an aphid parasitoid. OIKOS. link> doi> full text>
  • Meza FC, Roberts JM, Sobhy IS, Okumu FO, Tripet F, Bruce TJA. 2020. Behavioural and Electrophysiological Responses of Female Anopheles gambiae Mosquitoes to Volatiles from a Mango Bait. J Chem Ecol, vol. 46(4), 387-396. link> doi> full text>
  • Sobhy IS, Caulfield JC, Pickett JA, Birkett MA. 2020. Sensing the Danger Signals: cis-Jasmone Reduces Aphid Performance on Potato and Modulates the Magnitude of Released Volatiles. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, vol. 7. doi> link> full text>
  • Goelen T, Sobhy IS, Vanderaa C, de Boer JG, Delvigne F, Francis F, Wackers F, Rediers H, Verstrepen KJ, Wenseleers T, Jacquemyn H, Lievens B. 2020. Volatiles of bacteria associated with parasitoid habitats elicit distinct olfactory responses in an aphid parasitoid and its hyperparasitoid. FUNCTIONAL ECOLOGY, vol. 34(2), 507-520. link> doi> full text>
  • Sobhy IS, Goelen T, Herrera-Malaver B, Verstrepen KJ, Wackers F, Jacquemyn H, Lievens B. 2019. Associative learning and memory retention of nectar yeast volatiles in a generalist parasitoid. ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR, vol. 153, 137-146. link> doi> full text>
  • Bosmans L, Pozo MI, Verreth C, Crauwels S, Wilberts L, Sobhy IS, Wackers F, Jacquemyn H, Lievens B. 2018. Habitat-specific variation in gut microbial communities and pathogen prevalence in bumblebee queens (Bombus terrestris). PLOS ONE, vol. 13(10), Article ARTN e0204612. link> doi> link> full text>
  • Sobhy IS, Baets D, Goelen T, Herrera-Malaver B, Bosmans L, Van den Ende W, Verstrepen KJ, Wackers F, Jacquemyn H, Lievens B. 2018. Sweet Scents: Nectar Specialist Yeasts Enhance Nectar Attraction of a Generalist Aphid Parasitoid Without Affecting Survival. FRONTIERS IN PLANT SCIENCE, vol. 9, Article ARTN 1009. link> doi> full text>
  • Sobhy IS, Bruce TJA, Turlings TCJ. 2018. Priming of cowpea volatile emissions with defense inducers enhances the plant’s attractiveness to parasitoids when attacked by caterpillars. Pest Management Science, n/a. doi> link> full text>
  • Sobhy IS, Miyake A, Shinya T, Galis I. 2017. Oral Secretions Affect HIPVs Induced by Generalist (Mythimna loreyi) and Specialist (Parnara guttata) Herbivores in Rice. JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL ECOLOGY, vol. 43(9), 929-943. link> doi> link>
  • Sobhy IS, Woodcock CM, Powers SJ, Caulfield JC, Pickett JA, Birkett MA. 2017. cis-Jasmone Elicits Aphid-Induced Stress Signalling in Potatoes. Journal of Chemical Ecology, vol. 43(1), 39-52. doi> full text>
  • Sobhy IS, Erb M, Turlings TCJ. 2015. Plant strengtheners enhance parasitoid attraction to herbivore-damaged cotton via qualitative and quantitative changes in induced volatiles. Pest Manag Sci, vol. 71(5), 686-693. link> doi>
  • Sobhy IS, Mandour NS, Sarhan AA. 2015. Tomato treatment with chemical inducers reduces the performance of Spodoptera littoralis (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). APPLIED ENTOMOLOGY AND ZOOLOGY, vol. 50(2), 175-182. link> doi>
  • Sobhy IS, Abdul-Hamid AM, Sarhan AA, Shoukry AA, Mandour NS, Reitz SR. 2014. Life history traits of Blaptostethus pallescens (Hemiptera: Anthocoridae), a candidate for use in augmentative biological control in Egypt. APPLIED ENTOMOLOGY AND ZOOLOGY, vol. 49(2), 315-324. link> doi>
  • Sobhy IS, Erb M, Lou Y, Turlings TCJ. 2014. The prospect of applying chemical elicitors and plant strengtheners to enhance the biological control of crop pests. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci, vol. 369(1639), 20120283. link> doi>
  • Christensen SA, Nemchenko A, Borrego E, Murray I, Sobhy IS, Bosak L, DeBlasio S, Erb M, Robert CAM, Vaughn KA, Herrfurth C, Tumlinson J, Feussner I, Jackson D, Turlings TCJ, Engelberth J, Nansen C, Meeley R, Kolomiets MV. 2013. The maize lipoxygenase, ZmLOX10, mediates green leaf volatile, jasmonate and herbivore-induced plant volatile production for defense against insect attack. Plant J, vol. 74(1), 59-73. link> doi>
  • Sobhy IS, Erb M, Sarhan AA, El-Husseini MM, Mandour NS, Turlings TCJ. 2012. Less is more: treatment with BTH and laminarin reduces herbivore-induced volatile emissions in maize but increases parasitoid attraction. J Chem Ecol, vol. 38(4), 348-360. link> doi>
  • Consales F, Schweizer F, Erb M, Gouhier-Darimont C, Bodenhausen N, Bruessow F, Sobhy I, Reymond P. 2011. Insect oral secretions suppress wound-induced responses in Arabidopsis. Journal of Experimental Botany, vol. 63(2), 727-737. link> doi> link> full text>
  • Erb M, Balmer D, De Lange ES, Von Merey G, Planchamp C, Robert CAM, Röder G, Sobhy I, Zwahlen C, Mauch-Mani B, Turlings TCJ. 2011. Synergies and trade-offs between insect and pathogen resistance in maize leaves and roots. Plant, Cell and Environment, vol. 34(7), 1088-1103. link> doi>
  • Sobhy IS, Sarhan AA, Shoukry AA, El-Kady GA, Mandour NS, Reitz SR. 2010. Development, consumption rates and reproductive biology of Orius albidipennis reared on various prey. BIOCONTROL, vol. 55(6), 753-765. link> doi>
  • Mujiono K, Tohi T, Sobhy IS, Hojo Y, Ho NT, Shinya T, Galis I. Ethylene functions as a suppressor of volatile production in rice. Journal of Experimental Botany. doi> link> full text>