Dr. Olav Rueppell
Our office and lab space are located in the Eberhart Building
map how to get there.
Our research apiary and bee facility are located
5min to the west (see map).
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LAST UPDATED Sept. 2011
Honey Bee Health Related Research:
The honey bee, Apis mellifera (L), is our most important pollinator, vital to sustainable modern agriculture and ecosystem functioning. Over ¾ of agricultural crops are insect pollinated and the commercial value of honey bee pollination in the U.S. alone has been estimated to be approximately $15,000,000,000 annually. Honey bees are threatened by diseases, pesticides, and malnutrition and cultural trends contribute to the long-term decline of honey bee populations in the US. Over the last few years, dramatic losses of honey bees were reported in a new phenomenon, called “Colony Collapse Disorder”.
On the one hand, we are working to develop the intestinal stem cells as a relevant sensitive health indicator and potential screening tool for pathogen and pesticide related research. The midgut is particularly relevant because most pathogens and toxins are ingested and enter the bees through the intestinal epithelium.
Our second applied research focus (funded by USDA), targets the characterization of naturally-evolved Varroa mite resistance. Varroa ectoparasitic mites are a severe, global pathogen of Apis mellifera after its transfer from the native host Apis cerana. We are studying potential local host-pathogen co-evolution in this system in Thailand, we are trying to characterize the molecular interactions between bees and mites, and we are seeking to find molecular correlates of mite non-reproduction.