Redouan Adam Anaia


Research focus


Plants have to cope with multiple herbivores on different spatial and temporal scales. To do so, plants have evolved a diverse range of secondary metabolites. Solanum dulcamara, also known as the bittersweet or woody nightshade, is accompanied by a diverse herbivore community including insect specialist such as potato flea beetles (Psylliodes affinis), but also gastropod generalists such as the grey garden slug (Deroceras reticulatum). Furthermore, S. dulcamara is taxonomically related to many important Solanaceous crop species and produces a wide range of steroidal glycoalkaloids (SGAs) as defense mechanism. SGA chemodiversity is present at three levels: configuration (stereochemistry of the spirocarbon at the fusion of the E and F ring), saturation (presence or absence of double bond between C5-C6) and conjugation (glycosylation of the hydroxyl group with different sugar moieties or glucuronic acid) of the steroidal aglycone. Given the above, S. dulcamara is an important model species for plant-herbivore interactions and chemodiversity studies.

Previously, it was shown that gastropods and insects prefer different S. dulcamara accessions that are contrasting in leaf SGA chemotype and that there exists a genetic basis for SGA chemodiversity. In my project I will apply a multi-disciplinary approach to

  1. assess SGA chemodiversity and other defenses over different plant organs, considering contrasting S. dulcamara chemotypes.
  2. synthesize a set of compounds representative for the three levels of observed SGA chemodiversity and assessment of SGA type frequency and diversity on herbivore preference.
  3. perform a field-experiment in which the ecological costs and benefits of different S. dulcamara SGA chemotypes will be assessed.



Solanaceae, plant-herbivore interactions, metabolomics, chemodiversity, secondary metabolites, steroidal glycoalkaloids,

Short CV


August 2020 - present

Doctoral researcher in Molecular Interaction Ecology at the German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany. Supervised by Prof. Dr. Nicole van Dam and Dr. Fredd Vergara.

Project title: “Molecular mechanisms and ecological consequences of chemodiversity in Solanum dulcamara

December 2019 – July 2019

Master thesis II: ‘Volatile organic compounds to the rescue: characterization of volatile metabolomes of pepper accessions contrasting in resistance against cell-content feeding herbivores during ontogeny.’

Conducted at Plant-Insect Interaction group, Laboratory of Plant Physiology, Wageningen University and Research. Supervised by dr. Iris F. Kappers

February 2019 – November 2019

Master thesis I: ‘Exploring the developments of medicinal cannabis use in the Netherlands – Professional stakeholders’ insights and stakeholder analysis.’

Conducted at Research group Medicinal Cannabis, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Utrecht University. Supervised by dr. Stephen A.M. Snelders and dr. Lilian Beijer.

November 2017 – August 2018

Master internship: ‘Segregation of steroidal glycoalkaloid chemotypes are associated with gastropod feeding preference in Solanum dulcamara.

Conducted at Molecular Interaction Ecology group, Institute for Water and Wetland Research, Radboud University. Supervised dr. Onno W. Calf and dr. Janny L. Peters.

November 2016 – February 2017

Bachelor thesis: ‘Structural and functional annotation of transcripts from quantitative trait loci associated with cannabinoid synthesis in fiber-type hemp leaves.’

Conducted at Bio-Based Economy group, Laboratory of Plant Breeding, Wageningen University and Research. Supervised by dr. E.M.J. Salentijn and prof. dr. ir. LM Trindade



Eckert, Silvia, Eilers, Elisabeth J., Jakobs, Ruth, Anaia, Redouan Adam, Aragam, Kruthika Sen, Bloss, Tanja, Popp, Moritz, Sasidharan, Rohit, Schnitzler, Jörg-Peter, Stein, Florian, Steppuhn, Anke, Unsicker, Sybille B., van Dam, Nicole M., Yepes, Sol, Ziaja, Dominik, Müller, Caroline

(2023): Inter-laboratory comparison of plant volatile analyses in the light of intra-specific chemodiversity. Metabolomics

Chiocchio, I., Andrés, N. P., Anaia, R. A., van Dam, N. M., Vergara, F.

(2023): Steroidal glycoside profile differences among primary roots system and adventitious roots in Solanum dulcamara. Planta
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Puschstraße 4
04103 Leipzig

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Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

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