bees 4


Broadly, we are interested in understanding a range of symbiotic interactions, from pathogens to beneficial gut microbes. We integrate approaches from microbiology, epidemiology, functional genomics, and behavior in social insect model systems to study these dynamic interactions. Social insects live in large societies, much like human society, in which thousands of highly genetically related individuals interact in close proximity, putting them at high risk for disease outbreaks. Consequently, honey bees and most ants have evolved different mechanisms of disease resistance such as: individual innate immune responses; collective colony-level immune response known as social immunity; and immune response generated by beneficial symbionts (e.g., mutualistic microbes) found in/on individuals. In particular, we are interested in co-evolution and interactions of mutualistic bacteria and pathogenic fungi in honey bee larvae, and the effect they have on larval immunity and behavior. We are also using social insect contact networks to study pathogen spread and regulation within the ant Temnothorax curvispinosus colony.

Student Research
                              Day 2022    Student Research Day 2022 @ Rowan University 

Sarah 2021     Sarah Antaki culturing microbes 
Julianna 2021     Julianna Blair working in the lab 

SURP2021   Poster presentation July 2021: Summer Undergraduate Research Program Symposium @ Rowan University
Lab_2021    Culturing honey bee gut microbiome 2021
at the
                              beeyard 2021    Setting up new honey bee colonies 2021 (Mathew Pekora and Olivia Smithson)

Olivia Smithson Proud to announce Olivia Smithson is this year's recipient of the Robert N. Renlund Preprofessional Medallion Award 2021 in the Allied Health Field. Read more about Olivia and all of the CSM medallion awardees Here.

RUSSS 2019  Mathew Pekora presenting at The Rowan Student Scholars Symposium 2019 

RUSSS 2019  Olivia Smithson and Sonnie Sheahan presenting at The Rowan Student Scholars Symposium 2019  

EPIC conference  Simona Loshi, Olivia Smithson, and Mathew Pekora presenting at Rowan University Undergraduate Summer Research Symposium 2018

EPIC conference   Simona Loshi, Olivia Smithson, Mathew Pekora and Tyrell Harris at the Evolution in Philadelphia Conference 2018

outreach2017 Angela, Grace and Chance teaching middle school students about social insects

Upenn conference  Lab at the Evolution in Philadelphia Conference @ UPenn 2017
Aurora MacRae-Crerar's blog about the EPiC conference Link

Experiment day The whole lab is setting up an experiment 2016

bee yard Students Joseph Scavetta and Sarah Senula beekeeping @ Rowan University Bee Yard

Sarah and bees Sarah Senula holding a honey bee brood frame 2016

students Social Insects Lab member interacting with Glassboro Middle School students

students 2 Social Insects Lab member interacting with Glassboro Middle School students 

conference Lab group attending a regional conference on social insects.2015

Dan presenting Dan Crowell presenting at the Eastern Apicultural Society Conference 2016

bees Bee life

honey bee feeding  Bee feeding

infected ant  Infected ant

ant experiment  Joseph Scavetta working on an ant infection experiment

ant life  Ant life in an acorn

Visit to UPenn Lab  Visit to Linksvayer Social Insect Lab, University of Pennsylvania, Summer 2016