Snow Lab

Investigating the Molecular Mechanisms of Honey Bee Disease

Jonathan Snow, Ph.D.

Department of Biology

Barnard College,

Columbia University

Honey bees, which provide pollination services of critical importance to humans in both agricultural and ecological settings, have recently suffered from increased mortality at the colony level, likely due to a complex set of interacting stresses. Key stresses thought to be involved include nutritional stress due to loss of appropriate forage, chemical poisoning from pesticides, changes to natural living conditions brought about through large-scale beekeeping practices, myriad environmental changes due to climate change, and infection by insect parasites and pathogenic microbes. 

My research program now focuses on two main questions to help understand the challenges facing honey bee colonies and to generate solutions for use by beekeepers in the field. First, we believe that an important aspect for understanding how the stressors listed above impact honey bees requires defining specific common cellular processes that are impacted by multiple stressors. To that end we have focused on how honey bees respond to stresses thought to play a role in honey bee health and disease at the cellular level. Second, we have focused more directly on one stressor, the infection of honey bees by the microsporidia species Nosema ceranae. We have begun to characterize the cellular responses to these same stressors in this key pathogen of the honey bee, focusing again on the pathways of the proteostatic network


Professor Snow interviewed by Columbia Global Centers Mumbai as part of World Bee Day (article and interview).

Professor Snow quoted in article in Columbia Magazine.

Snow lab publishes article in Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Snow lab publishes article in Apidologie

Professor Snow interviewed for podcast episode for "Speaking".