Academic Year 2020-2021
Institution University of Aberdeen


School: School of Biological Sciences

Project: Functional parasite epigenomics and transcriptomics for improving honey-bee health in a global pollination crisis

Supervisors: Dr Marius Wenzel and Dr Caroline Meharg

Undergraduate Education: MSci Biological Sciences (Bioinformatics), University of Dundee

Postgraduate Education: N/A

Research: Pollination is very important for the ecosystem and is indispensable for meeting the demands on agriculture. Honey-bees are one of the most important pollinators in the world and are responsible for pollinating 80% of the world’s plants. However, honey-bee colonies have faced a considerable decline in recent decades. The Varroa destructor parasitic mite are found in nearly all bee colonies and are one of the main causes of honey-bee decline as they transmit viruses, such as deformed-wing virus, which can cause deadly diseases.

My research will focus upon the parasitic mite Varroa destructor which critically affect the health of honey-bees by a three-way symbiosis with a range of viruses, the most prominent being the deformed-wing virus. As It is currently poorly understood how functional molecular processes may affect the behaviour of Varroa mites and their viral transmission, my research aims to develop a mechanistic understanding of the functional epigenomic and transcriptomic processes involved in the interaction between the Varroa mite and the deformed-wing virus.