Research Areas

Sample projects available for summer 2018.

Jose Bruno-Barcena

  • Culturing known and novel Firmicutes from the honey bee gut
  • Characterizing the properties of beneficial Firmicutes associated with bees

Steve Frank

  • Examining native bee attraction to urban trees
  • Insecticide contamination of nectar and pollen in urban plants

Carlos Goller

  • Evaluating the microbial diversity found in DNA from beehives
  • High-throughput screening of samples from beehives to identify antimicrobials and potential pathogens

Amy Grunden

  • Isolating and screening bee microbiota to identify microbes producing enzymes relevant to biodecontamination or pest control

Becky Irwin

  • Exploring how floral traits influence bee parasite transmission
  • Investigating how the biology and sociality of bees affects parasite reproduction in individuals and colonies
  • Examining how the secondary chemistry of nectar and pollen influences bee disease dynamics

Marcé Lorenzen

  • Assessing the use of RNA interference as a pest control method for small hive beetles
  • Risk assessment of small hive beetle-specific double-stranded RNAs on honeybees

Eric Miller

  • Evaluating the diversity of microbes, bacteriophages and their genomic DNA from bee hives
  • Culturing and characterizing properties of Paenibacillus larvae, a honey bee pathogen
  • Examining the role of prophages in the genome P. larvae on survival and pathogenesis

David Tarpy

  • Discovering new yeasts from beehives for brewing beer
  • Elucidating the gut microbiome of honey bee queens

Ongoing Topical Areas

  • Isolating and screening bee microbiota for microbes producing antimicrobials
  • Isolating and screening bee microbiota for microbes producing enzymes relevant to biofuel production or biodecontamination
  • Metagenomic surveys of bees and hives to determine the diversity of bacteria and bacterial capsule genes
  • Presence and abundance of Delftia spp. in bees and hives
  • High-throughput screening of bee components (lysates) for specific anti-Deltftia effects and phage
  • Molecular microbiology studies on the mechanism of phage infection of Delftia acidovorans
  • Genomics and gene cloning of P. larvae genes

  • The effects of temperature – due to urbanization or climate change – on bee immune function
  • The effects of temperature and growing conditions on the nutritional value of native and exotic plants for bees and consequences for bee health
  • Internal and external microbial communities associated with feral and managed honey bees along urbanization gradients
  • Interactions between C.bombi, N. bombi, and secondary metabolites and their effect on bumble bee survival and performance
  • Effect of the nectar yeast M. reukaufii on the foraging behavior of Bombus impatiens and the mechanisms behind foraging responses

  • Elucidating the gut microbiome of honey bee queens
  • Testing the competitive displacement of Nosema species
  • Examining trade-offs between host genetic diversity and microbial virulence
  • Co-opting beneficial yeast species in “bee bread” (stored pollen) for brewing
  • Small hive beetle transcriptomics and use of RNA interference for control
  • Assessment of the internal and external microbiome of the small hive beetle
  • Elucidating the relationship between the small hive beetle and its associated yeast, K. ohmeri
  • Culture and genome editing of K. ohmeri with the goal of creating a new biopesticide

  • Isolation of P. larvae infecting phages and phage products from AFB-infected hives
  • Growth, metabolism, and infectivity of P. larvae isolates from infected hives
  • Collaborative projects with the Bayer Bee Care Center on hive microbial metagenomics studies
  • Production of probiotics using biofilms
  • Prebiotic synthesis by recombinant enzymes
  • Establishing the bee microbiome