Title

Saving the Honeybees: A Synthetic Biology Approach

Presenter Information

April Pumill

Department

Biological Sciences

Major

Chemical Engineering

Research Advisor

Westenberg, David J.

Advisor's Department

Biological Sciences

Funding Source

The International Genetically Engineered Machines Team (iGEM), American Beekeeping Federation, Missouri State Beekeepers Association, United States Department of Agriculture, Almond Board of California, National Science Foundation, Monsanto, Bayer

Abstract

Since 2006-2007, beekeepers in the US have seen dramatic losses in honeybees, which could potentially cost billions of dollars in agriculture. The phenomenon has been termed Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), and is characterized by rapid losses of adult honeybees that do not return to the hive to die. Even more puzzling is that damaging levels of normal bee parasites are not present at the time of collapse. Researchers have yet to determine a specific cause of the disorder, although most agree that CCD is caused by multiple factors that either work individually or in combination. A newly suspected cause of CCD is the fungus-virus combination of Nosema and invertebrate iridescent virus. This research project will focus on solving this possible cause of CCD using a synthetic biology approach. The use of genetically engineered microorganisms to test the theory could be an important step in solving the mystery of CCD.

Biography

April grew up in Columbia, Missouri. She is currently a sophomore at Missouri S&T studying Chemical Engineering with a minor in Spanish. She is interested in pursuing a career performing biomedical research and engineering. April is the Public Relations officer for iGEM and a DJ in KMNR. She enjoys swimming and biking in her free time.

Research Category

Research Proposals

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Document Type

Poster

Award

Research proposal poster session, First place

Location

Upper Atrium/Hallway

Presentation Date

06 Apr 2011, 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Comments

Joint project with Amanda Foster

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Apr 6th, 1:00 PM Apr 6th, 3:00 PM

Saving the Honeybees: A Synthetic Biology Approach

Upper Atrium/Hallway

Since 2006-2007, beekeepers in the US have seen dramatic losses in honeybees, which could potentially cost billions of dollars in agriculture. The phenomenon has been termed Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), and is characterized by rapid losses of adult honeybees that do not return to the hive to die. Even more puzzling is that damaging levels of normal bee parasites are not present at the time of collapse. Researchers have yet to determine a specific cause of the disorder, although most agree that CCD is caused by multiple factors that either work individually or in combination. A newly suspected cause of CCD is the fungus-virus combination of Nosema and invertebrate iridescent virus. This research project will focus on solving this possible cause of CCD using a synthetic biology approach. The use of genetically engineered microorganisms to test the theory could be an important step in solving the mystery of CCD.