I am interested in the study of evolutionary processes such as sexual selection or immune response on the molecular/protein scale. To do this I
use several social insects as model species and biochemical technologies such as proteomics.
Sociobiology, Evolutionary biology, Sexual selection, Proteomics
I am interested in improving the interaction between science and honeybee related industries.
My particular passion is in bee breeding and disease management.
As apiary manager I am responsible for maintenance and breeding of our honeybee colonies to support
the myriad experiments being undertaken by our team.
I am interested in social insect reproduction and immunity and responsible for running the CIBER honeybee lab.
I have also worked on the realisation of the movie "More than Honey" and I am currently running the
More than Honey Blog.
My research focuses on proteomics and the use of mass spectrometry to understand metabolic networks
in a range of species. In CIBER I provide the background and experimental design for honeybee proteomic
projects and work to increase our understanding of the molecular mechanisms that influence
reproductive success and disease resistance.
Proteomics, Mass spectrometry, Functional genomics
My research interests focus on the coevolution and ecology of host-parasite interactions. In particular,
I am interested to understand strategies of host defences and the dynamics of infectious diseases in social insects.
I am an economist interested in the economics of beekeeping and the role of bees in plant
pollination and food production. At CIBER I am supervising research projects that
focuses on the link between evolution by natural selection and economic growth.
My research focuses on how variation in reproductive success influences the evolution of behaviour,
morphology, and physiology. I am particularly interested in life-history trade-offs between male
fertility and immunity, and how female mating behaviour promotes fitness through mechanisms of sperm
competition and selective sperm use.
Epigenetic modifications can underpin the temporal and spatial interpretation of complex
genomes to produce different phenotypes. In the honeybee (Apis mellifera), fertilised
eggs develop into either workers or queens. Recent findings suggest that DNA methylation
may play a role in the selection between worker and
queen developmental trajectories. I am using next generation sequencing (NGS)
to examine changes in the epigenome that occur throughout honeybee development
and caste selection.
Molecular Biology, Epigenetics, Next generation sequencing
I analyse protein samples of honeybees and other social insects on protein gels and by using
a variety of different mass spectrometers. I specialize in quantitative proteomics and
mass spectrometry, and apply this to identify immunopeptides in the haemolymph and
seminal fluid of honeybees.
Proteomics, Mass Spectrometry, Peptidomics, SDS PAGE gel, DIGE
I am interested to understand how the honeybee immune system operates on the molecular level.
To do this I use proteomics as well as field-based experiments. I am specifically interested to
understand how differences in immune proteins between individuals or colonies translates into
differences in parasite resistance.
I am interested in the development of disease treatments for honeybees based on nano-sized
drug formulations. Several drug candidates are being investigated as treatment for
Nosema apis to test the potency of the drugs as well as the benefits
Nanotechnology, Drug formulation, Drug nano-sizing and characterisation, Drug development
I study how external stressors such as pesticides or different parasites affect the health of honeybee colonies
and whether they could eventually lead to colony collapse. To do this, I expose honeybees to different stressors and
measure their effects on colony health and performance. I am also interested to see how colonies
respond when they are confronted with multiple stressors at the same time.
I use the honeybee Apis mellifera as a model system to search for the cellular mechanisms that must underlie
magnetorecpetion in bees, basically a type of biological GPS that allows bees to navigate short or long distances. To do this
I use the latest available microscopic technologies available at the Centre for Microscopy, Characterisation and Analysis
I am interested in sexual selection and social insect mating biology and focus mainly on post-copulatory processes such as sperm competition and cryptic female choice, using honeybees and leafcutter ants as model species. Currently, I use techniques such as artificial insemination, fluorescence microscopy and proteomics to examine the interactions between male and female reproductive fluids and sperm.
Evolutionary biology, Sexual selection, Sperm competition, Cryptic female choice,
Social insect biology
In spite of their similar social structure, the termites have evolved
very different dynamics between male and female reproductives compared
to the ants and bees. I will be utilizing techniques developed at
CIBER to study reproductive characteristics of termite queens and
kings over their lifetimes, which will result in a broader
understanding of the evolution of mating systems and societies.
I investigate whether there are any microorganisms transmitted from the male to the female as
part of the ejaculate. I want to use proteomics to identify these potential sexually transmitted diseases and to
perform field experiments afterwards to test whether a vertical transmission transfer really occurs in the bees.
I am interested whether Darwinian evolutionary dynamics in human populations played a role in the
emergence of today's economic systems. To do this I use modelling approaches in combination with
data available on human income, assets and fertility around the onset of industrialisation, when
several human populations left the Malthusian trap.
Economics, Modelling, Mathusian trap, Population biology
I am interested to unravel the molecular basis that underpins an evolutionary dynamics such as
host-parasite interactions. I use honeybees and one of their most widespread diseases, the fungal pathogen Nosema,
to unravel, how the functioning of genes and proteins can result in diseases tolerance.
I am interested in the identification and characterisation of an iron based magnetoreceptors in
higher animals in an effort to understand homing behaviour. Using the honeybee as a model system,
I will use a low to high resolution approach, using techniques such as ICP-AES iron analysis,
SQUID magnetometry, magnetic resonance imaging, light microscopy, confocal microscopy and electron
microscopy in order to locate cells potentially responsible for the detection of the Earth’s
magnetic field. My work is done in collaboration with
Biomineralisation, Magnetoreception, Electron microscopy, Cryo preparation
I am interested in the identification of cellulose-degrading bacteria in termite guts. There is a great
interest in this field currently due to its potential application in the production of cleaner,
renewable sources of energy, such as biofuels.To do this, I culture the gut bacteria of two local
termite species and use metagenomics to sequence the microbial population in the gut, in the hopes of finding
novel cellulase genes.
I am interested to find novel and innovative ways to control honeybee diseases. To do this I
investigate whether the use of nano-sized thymol for the treatment of the gut pathogen
Nosema apis is more effective compared to untreated regular thymol. I will
feed Nosema spores to bees, and then provide different treatments and measure how efficiently
tehy can control bee health.
I study the molecular basis of sexual selection in honeybees and leaf cutter ants. To do this
I test how the activity of different molecules detected in the seminal fluid impact the function of
sperm. To do this I also develop a technique that allows me to observe and measure sperm swimming speed
in ants and bees.
Proteomics, CASA, Sperm viability, Postcopulatory sexual selection
I investigate the question whether agricultural pesticides honeybees are exposed to while
foraging have a sublethal effect on their immune system and whether such they impact the workers
ability to fight off diseases.
Host Parasit Interactions, Field work, Flow cytometry
I investigate the potential of bee venom as an anti-cancer agent. To do this, I extract venom
from honey bee workers and then use purified samples to quantify their effect on breast cancer
cell lines. The cellular response is measured in terms of venom potency and specificity.
This project is conducted in collaboration with Pilar Blancafort and Killugudi Swaminatha Iyer.
Anatomy, Human Biology, Physiology
I am interested to find out whether microsatellites can be used to differentiate between different termite
colonies, which is difficult in the field as termites can have multiple mounts
that can sometimes be hundreds of meters apart. Furthermore, I also develop and use behavioural agression tests
to see whether low relatedness between individuals increases the aggressiveness against each other.
Behavioural Ecology, Zoology, Ethology
I investigate how agricultural pesticides affect drone health and fertility when they have to
deal with additional stressors such as disease at the same time. To test this I feed male bees
pesticide contaminated pollen and also expose some of them to the fungal disease Nosema apis.
Behavioural Ecology, Zoology, Ethology
I am interested to study whether we can define "Happy Bees" in scientific terms. To do this, I use different hive designs
used by beekeepers such as for example Langstroth or Warre and compare how
colonies develop and perform in them over a year. Furthermore, I study whether ecological stresses such as parasites differentially
affect bees, depending on the type of hives they are kept in
Bee health and resilience, Hive management and handling, Honey production,
I am interested to unravel what molecules and biochemical pathways are involved to make a sperm more
or less competitive during the sperm storage process inside the honeybee queens sexual tract.
To do this, I provide sperm with key metabolites that activate biochemical pathways that were
identified in sperm and seminal fluid by earlier studies at CIBER.
Sperm viability, Sperm competition, Sperm storage success, Sexual selection
My research investigates how pesticides and parasites affect honeybee health solely or in combination and how may lead to colony collapse.
To do this I investigate sublethal effects of pesticides on honeybee immunity and behaviour. Furthermore, I
investigate whether pesticide induced stress result in epigenetic changes, using genomoic and proteomics approaches
in field and lab based experiments.
Conservation Biology, Zoology, Pesticides, Field Work
My work is focused on public engagement with honeybees. I am also interested in alternative hive
architecture and the aesthetics of urban beekeeping. As part of my work I design logos,
posters and labels for the CIBER group. To see some of my work
click here. My projects are run in collaboration with
Graphic Design, information design, illustration, photography, honeybee fieldwork
I coordinate the Western Australian Bee-breeding Program known as
Better Bees that aims to maintain high quality bees
for the Western Australian beekeeping industry. In an annual breeding program on Rottnest Island we
ensure the successful continuation of our 24 lines of honey bees.
Honeybees from these lineages are used for scientific experiments running at CIBER.
I am a commercial apiarist operating 800 honeybee colonies. I have 35 years of experience in bee
breeding, industry knowledge and involvement
Research Officer, Department of Agriculture and Food
I am performing research to understand honeybee nutrition in order to improve beekeeping. I maintain
close links to the Australian bee industry and I am involved in collaborative research between CIBER
and the Department of Agriculture and Food on honeybee disease
I directed a documentary about honeybees with the title "More than Honey"
The movie provides fascinating visual insights into the life of a honeybee colony. The movie is currently
shown in movie theatres and at movie festivals around the world.
Screenplay, Dramaturgy, High speed and macro filming, Digital postproduction
I am interested in combining the different perspectives of art and science. To do this, I explore
interactions between humans and both native bees as well as feral honeybees, and study the ecological
importance of that relationship as well as the places where such interactions occur.
Ecological art, Cross cultural and interspecies relationships