Integrative biology aims to solve the complex issues we are facing in the 21st century by
conducting studies that bridge across disciplines, biological organization, and diverse taxa over
time (comparative investigations).
We use the honey bee as a model organism, as well as molecular and analytical chemistry tools
investigate biomedical and evolutionarily rooted questions across different levels of biological
organization. For example, we may be interested in a behavioral outcome at the individual level,
which are controlled by hormones at a cellular level and neuronal circuits at the tissue level. We
are investigating how animals maintain energetic homeostasis, how metabolic pathways can
facilitate the evolution of social behavior, and how honey bee health is declining. My faculty
webpage for more details.
Systems biology is used to understand the emergent properties of a system from the numerous
variables that make up the system. This approach relies on large datasets and powerful
bioinformatic tools to conduct analyses that focus on interactions as opposed to the biological
With this approach we are interested in improving honey bee health and to pinpoint the exact
factors responsible for bee health decline. To accomplish this, we are integrating omic with other
health screening factors. Primarily, we focus on using exposomics and transcriptomics, which are
at the interface of gene-environment interactions and may be useful for understanding the
physiological mechanisms that affect bee health and developing biomarkers that can predict bee
health declines. My faculty webpage for more details.