October 2020 Meeting

Join us on October 8th at 7PM when our guest speaker will be Olav Rueppell.  Dr. Rueppel will present to us on “The Honey Bee Ovary: The obvious and the obscure”.  The honey bee ovary is essential for understanding honey bees. It serves not only for egg laying, but also as a coordinator of behavior and life history, and it is the hub for vertical virus transmission in the colony. I will present different studies from my group that all revolve around this central organ to elucidate its versatility and illuminate a bit of honey bee biology and health. 

Dr. Rueppell received his PhD in Germany for work on ants in 2000 before moving to California to work with honey bees from 2001-2003. Then, UNC-G hired him as an Assistant Professor of Biology, and he has since been promoted to Associate and Full Professor (in 2008 and 2013, respectively).  He moved in 2020 to the University of Alberta in Canada where he currently works as Professor of Honey Bee Biology and Health.  He has published over 90 scientific articles and his work has been funded by various institutions, including USDA, NSF, NIH, and DoD.  His scientific interests focus on causes and consequences of social evolution, and he uses honey bees as models to evaluate these scientific problems at the genetic, cellular, individual and societal level of biological organization. Accordingly, his research methods comprise bioinformatics, genetic analyses, studies of cells, behavioral and physiological observations and experiments, and demographic and ecological approaches. Social insects fascinate him because their societies add an interesting level of complexity; many social insect groups have experienced a broad ecological success and some species are very important to humans. Some specific current research projects include studies of honey bee reproductive traits, genetic characterizations of complex traits that are important in social organization, the investigation of honey bee intestinal stem cells, biodemographic studies of aging, and comparative genomics projects. Furthermore, he is interested in honey bee health and his group seeks to understand how viruses, parasitic mites, and stress contribute to the ongoing honey bee health crisis with the goal of identifying sustainable solutions.