Disclaimer – This information is correct to the best of my knowledge.

Alumni: Please send me updated information!

Olav Rueppell

(Group Leader, Mentor, and PI)  – CV_OlavRueppell
Office: CW-468A Bio Science – Centre Wing
Phone: (+1) 780-492-5461
Office hours: Due to COVID-19 only by online appointment

UofA Lab Members:

 Kayla De Jong (Undergraduate): I am a first-year undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor of Science with a major in conservation biology. I have been fascinated by the natural world since I was young, and I am especially interested in insects and other arthropods. I am excited to spend the summer researching and learning about honey bee queen behaviour and I also look forward to learning more about beekeeping and honey bees in general.
Jacob Herman (PhD student): I earned my Bachelors degree in Entomology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where I worked with Dr. Gene Robinson on various components of honey bee neuroethology and evolution. After this, I attained my Master’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin in Ecology, Evolution and Behavior under the supervision of Dr. Ulrich Mueller. My thesis focused on studying the ecology and population dynamics of Apis florea, the Dwarf Asian Honey Bee, and involved the collection of natural colonies spanning all of India. I have joined the Rueppell lab in hope of continuing my work on Asian Honey Bees, and better understanding the ecology and genetic architecture driving complex adaptations to stress and life history across Apis. I have transitioned from UNCG to the UofA.
 Jennifer Hofmeyr (Research Technician): I have always been passionate about wildlife, and animals in general and knew that I wanted a career working with animals. I started my studies in the veterinary technology field which opened doors for me in the wildlife industry. I obtained my vet tech degree at the Tswhane University of Technology, South Africa, my BSc honours degree in African Vertebrate Biodiversity at Rhodes University, South Africa, and I am now busy finalising my MSc (Molecular biology) degree, with the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa- Investigating the diversity of the lion population in the Kruger National Park. In the mean time I have also obtained my Biotechnology diploma through St. Lawrence College in Kingston, ON, Canada. The largest part of my career was spent managing veterinary laboratories, biobanks and facilitating and implementing veterinary focused research. I have been fortunate enough to work with a diverse number of species ranging from the big five to the endangered riverine rabbit and now I am excited to be entering the world of bees as I join Dr. Rueppell’s lab as a research assistant.
 Robert Xinzhi Lu (MSc student): Having completed my bachelor’s of science degree here at the University of Alberta, I have returned to my alma mater to conduct my master’s of science in the Rueppell lab. A parasitologist by interest, my research focuses on the host-parasite interactions between the western honeybee (Apis mellifera), and the parasitic mite Varroa destructor. Specifically, I am looking at aspects impacting the health of the host, such that we may be able to better combat infections of varroa in commercial beehives. My primary research project is split between the Rueppell Lab here at the UofA, and the Beaverlodge Apicultural Research Farm, under tutelage of Dr. Steve Pernal, and aims to test the efficacy and toxicology of a newly developed miticide. When not in the lab, I particularly enjoy spending time fishing or on my charcoal drawings.
Jaymie Martin (Undergraduate): I’m an undergraduate student in the third year of my bachelor of science with a major in biology. I love anything related to botany or zoology, especially invertebrate zoology. I won a URI award for 2021 and am happy to work in Dr. Rueppell’s lab, studying hygienic behaviour. I’m excited to study honey bees and learn more about them.
Cleo Randall (Undergraduate): I’m a third-year student specializing in ecology and evolutionary biology.  I have always had a great passion for nature and love learning about evolution, behaviour, and conservation of the world’s beautifully diverse plants and animals. My dream is to contribute to ecological science through field research around the globe in these areas of study.  I am very excited to work in Dr. Rueppell’s lab this fall to delve into bee biology research.
Tracey Smith (PhD Student): TBA
Tianna Tanasichuck (Undergraduate): My name is Tianna Tanasichuk and I am going into my third year here at the University of Alberta in sciences with a specialization in mathematics. This summer I have the opportunity of working with Professor Rueppell on a research project on the body sizes of bees and their growth. I am able to do this summer program thanks to the I-STEAM program which provides summer research internships for indigenous students, and I hope to continue my research after the summer program has finished. Some fun facts about me is that I am Metis from Region 2 and I am from a small town North East of Edmonton. In my spare time I sing and play the guitar, and spend time with sisters of my sorority Alpha Gamma Delta here on campus.
Alexander Walton (Postdoc): I have been studying the biology of social insects for over a decade, beginning with my undergraduate work on Temnothorax ant collective behavior and bumblebee task specialization at The University of Arizona (under the guidance of Professor Anna Dornhaus). After graduating, I worked as a laboratory assistant to Dr. Vanessa Corby-Harris and Dr. Kirk Anderson at the USDA-ARS Carl Hayden Honey Bee Research Lab, where Apis mellifera left its indelible mark on me and I decided I wanted to study honey bees for the rest of my life. I completed my PhD in Professor Amy Toth’s Lab at Iowa State University, where I used honey bees and paper wasps (Polistes fuscatus) to examine the role of nutrition in the regulation of individual variation in social behavior. My dissertation is entitled “Individuality in the Hive: Behavioral variation and its proximal causes in insect societies.” I continued to research paper
wasps during my postdoc (co-advises by Professor Toth at Iowa State University and Michael Sheehan at Cornell University), where I worked to develop functional genomics tools for the study of Polistes fuscatus. I am broadly interested in the causes and consequences of behavioral
variation in social groups, and the evolution and maintenance of cooperation. Visit my
Akanksha Yeola (she/her, Undergraduate): I am in my third year at the University of Alberta, studying Biological Sciences with a minor in Economics and certificates in Sustainability, Interdisciplinary Studies and International Learning. I was born and raised in Mumbai, India. Working at a non-profit environmental organization during high school got me interested in sustainability and the Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN. I had the opportunity to present at the very first Paris Peace Forum in 2018 as a project leader. Now, I volunteer with various organizations on- and off-campus to work towards a greener future. I aspire to become an environmental lawyer and hope that we leave this place better than we found it! I have always loved learning about the environment and I am excited to work in Dr. Rueppell’s lab to study honey bees.

UNCG Lab Members:

Kaira Wagoner (Researcher): I have been a nature lover all my life, but my formal education began at Guilford College, where I double majored in Biology and Health Sciences, and minored in Chemistry and Astronomy.   After the death of a dear friend from malaria, I was inspired to return to school to study malaria-carrying mosquitoes. My master’s thesis was entitled “Identification of morphologic and chemical markers of aestivating conditions in female Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes.” This work fostered my interest in the chemical ecology of insects, although for my doctorate I decided to switch my focus to a beneficial insect – the honey bee.   I was particularly interested in the fascinating social immune mechanism hygienic behavior, the ability of adult honey bees to detect and remove unhealthy brood from the hive, improving the overall health of the colony.  My doctoral dissertation was an investigation of the relationships between common stressors, brood-signaling, hygienic behavior, and selective breeding in the honey bee.  As a post-doctoral fellow, I have continued this work, and am currently using natural honey bee stress signals to develop an assay for the improved selection of hygienic behavior.
Prashant Waiker (PhD student): I received my BS-MS dual degree in Biological Sciences with a minor in Chemistry in 2015 from Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Bhopal in India. Since my undergraduate studies, I was interested in Genetics and Evolution and I have worked in various research projects involving diverse model organisms such as Drosophila, Arabidopsis, Bacteria, and Yeast. I worked with Dr. Chandan Sahi and completed a Master’s thesis on yeast genetics where I investigated the interactions of spliceosomal disassembly complex proteins. After graduating, I worked at a Metagenomics lab for one year, during which I worked in various projects to identify bacterial and fungal diversity of environmental samples. In 2016, I joined UNCG as a PhD student with a long-term goal to be a researcher in evolutionary biology and genomics. I joined Dr. Olav Rueppell’s lab in 2017 and since then I am working on understanding meiotic recombination in social insects – specially in subterrestrial termites and western honey bees – and how high recombination rates are related to eusociality. I like to watch movies and travel when I am not in the lab. Check my Website.


Past UNCG Graduate Lab Members:

Esmaeil Amiri: “Honey bee virus studies” and many other topics (postdoc: 2015 – 2021), now Assistant Research/Extension Professor at Mississippi State University
Phoebe Snyder: “The impact of honey bee (Apis mellifera) group size on hygienic behavior performance” (MSc: 2018-2020), now working in the honey bee industry.
Carlos Vega Melendez: “Effects of early developmental stress in Apis mellifera” (PhD: 2013 – 2019), moved to USDA.
Shilpi Bhatia Shilpi Bhatia: “Genetic architecture of honey bee virus susceptibility” (PhD incomplete: 2017 – 2019)
Anissa Kennedy: “Increased Stress Resistance in Socially Manipulated Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) Workers” (MSc: 2016 – 2018), now PhD student in Mainz, Germany.
Taylor Reams: “Examining the Factors Influencing Varroa destructor Host Selection of Apis mellifera Larvae” (MSc: 2016 – 2018), now PhD student at Texas A&M.
Hongmei Li-Byarlay: “Genomic studies of stress resistance in honey bees” (NCSU-affiliated postdoc: 2014 – 2017), now Assistant Professor at Central State University
Bertrand Fouks: “Genomic studies of recombination and aging in honey bees” (2014 – 2015), now postdoc at the University of Munster, Germany.
Wendy Zuluaga Smith: “Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus in Apis mellifera queens: Impact on colony role, transmission routes, and immune priming” (MSc: 2014 – 2016), now working at LabCorp.
Katelyn Miller: “Construction and Fine-Scale Analysis of a High-Density, Genome-Wide Linkage Map to Examine Meiotic Recombination in the Honey Bee, Apis mellifera” (MSc: 2012 – 2014), now postdoc at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.
Ming Huang: “Genetics of oxidative stress resistance in honey bees” (NCSU-affiliated postdoc: 2012 – 2014), now working at Eurofins.
Kurt Langberg: “Testing the Effects of Oxidative Stress on Genomic Recombination in the Honey Bee, Apis mellifera.” (MSc: 2012 – 2014), now working at the University of Virginia.
Humberto Freire Boncristiani: “Functional genomics of IAPV infection in honey bees” (Postdoc: 2011 – 2013), now working at the University of Florida.
Ryan Kuster: “Expression Levels of Immune-genes in Developing Workers of Apis mellifera in Response to Reproductive Timing and Infestation Level by the Parasitic Mite Varroa destructor.” (MSc: 2010 – 2012), undergraduate (2009), now working at the University of Tennessee.
Mike Simone-Finstroem: “Honey bee stress and aging” (NCSU-affiliated postdoc: 2011 – 2012), now working at the USDA ARS Honey Bee Lab in Baton Rouge.
Cordelia Forkpah (Sackey-Mensah): “The Effect of Xenobiotics on the Honeybee Adult Intestinal Stem Cell Proliferation.” (MSc: 2009 – 2012), now working at the University of Rochester.
Laura Tucker (Willard): “Development and Analysis of Primary Cultures from the Midgut of the Honey Bee, Apis mellifera.” (MSc: 2008 – 2012), DVM in Minnesota.
Emily McLean (Meznar): “Genomic Synteny and Comparison of Recombination between A. mellifera (the European Honey Bee) and A. florea (the Red Dwarf Honey Bee).” (MSc: 2007 – 2009), now Assistant Professor at Emory University.
Allie Graham: “The Genetic Architecture of Reproductive Differences in Workers of Africanized and European Honey Bees, Apis mellifera.” (MSc: 2007 – 2009), now postdoctoral researcher at the University of Utah.
Kristen Ward: “A Study of Cellular Proliferation and Apoptosis in Short- and Long-lived Honey Bees, Apis mellifera.  ” (MSc: 2004 – 2006), Physician at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital.


Past Undergraduate Lab Members:

Bethany Carswell (2019-2021)

Veterinary School (University of Illinois)

Asia Brannon (2018-2020)

Medical assistant with Duke Primary Care

Cristian Hernandez (2019 – 2020)

Jackson Keever (2020)

Anh Pham (2019 – 2020)

Dental School (University of Detroit)

Emily Jordon (2019)

Medical School (University of West Virginia)

Shaun Pitts (2019 – 2020)

Sarah Krug (2018 – 2019)

Tatiana Molina-Morales (2018 – 2019)

Medical School (Colombia)

Kali Cox (2018 – 2019)

Matthew Hill (2019)

Graduate School (NC A&T University)

Spencer Moore (2019)

Graduate School (University of Colorado at Boulder)

Maya Brody (2019)


Kevin Le (2017-2018)

Kimberlyn Eversman (2018)

Graduate School (University of Tennesee Knoxville)

Mohamad Omar Ani (2018)

Medical School (University of Pennsylvania)

Katherine Barrs (2018)

Zea Robinson (2018)

Max McCall (2017 – 2018)

Medical School (University of Central Florida)

Saman Baral (2017 – 2018, Honors Thesis)

Graduate School (NCSU)

 Eden Simmons (2018)

Foray Keita (2017 – 2018)

 Mustafa Noori (2016 – 2017)

Samyra Blackeney (2017)

Erin Estes (2017)

 Christopher Reid (2017)

Mark Rothermund (2017)

Franco Abad (2017)

 Antron Spooner (2017)

Medical School (Howard University)

 Talia Heckman (2016)

 Timothy Delory (2016)

Graduate School (Utah State University)

 Karen Funderburk (2016 – 2017)

Graduate School (Arizona State University)

 Katherina Santiago (2016)

 Sherry Browne (2016)

MRes in Biomedical Science and Translational Medicine

 Sara Rubio-Correa (2015 – 2017)

Graduate School (UNC-Chapel-Hill)

 Heeral Lakhani (2015 – 2016)

  Greg Seddon (2015 – 2016)


 Chelsea MaLyn Lawhorn (2015), left

Graduate School (NCSU)

 Rachel Schomaker (2015), right

Graduate School (University of South Carolina)

 Tinaye Mutetwa (2015 – 2017, Honors thesis)

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

 Samantha McPherson (2015)

Graduate School (NCSU)

 Basema Khan (2014)

 Ashley LaVere (2014)

Graduate School (University of Georgia)

 Quinton Irby (2014 – 2015)

 Eli Thompson (2014)

 Jasmine Everett (2014)

 Daniel Smith (2013 – 2015), left


 Juan Collazo (2013 – 2015), right

Medical School (Wake Forest University)

Babak Yousefi (2013 – 2016, Honors thesis)

Dental School (UNC Chapel-Hill)

Caitlin Ross (2012 – 2014)

Graduate School (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)

 Tiffany Fowler (2012 – 2016)

High School Teacher

 Matthew Phillips (2012 – 2015)

Graduate School (University of Delaware)

 Francisco Belinchon (2012 – 2013)

Graduate School (University of Glasgow)

 Kayla Jackson (2012)

 Candice Harrison (2011)

 Bobbee Vannasane (2011 – 2013)

UNC Dental School

 Dominick DeFelice (2011 – 2014, Honors thesis)

Medical School (UNC Chapel-Hill)

 Tara McCray (2011)

Graduate School (University of Illinois at Chicago)

Stephen Meier (2010)

 Dawit Adnew (2009)

 Luke Dixon (2009 – 2012)

High Point University

 Ellen Lonon (2009)

   Michelle McQuage (2009)

 Nicholas Arvanitis (2009)

 Danielle Lucas (2009 – 2010)

Graduate School (NCSU)

Stephen Brown (2009)

 Nathan Ross (2008)

High School Teacher

 Ashley Hayes (2008 – 2009)

Graduate School (UNC-Wilmington)

Matthew Whilhelm (2007)

Graduate School (University of Connecticut)

 Kaitlin Clinnin (2007 – 2008)

 Javier Luzon (2007 – 2008)

National Institutes of Health

 Miranda Hayworth (2007 – 2008)

MD-PhD Program (Georgia)

Robert Gove (2007)

Graduate School (University of Maryland)

 Megan Leagon (2007)

 Nels Johnson (2007)

Graduate School (Virginia Tech)

 Lauren Groves (2006 – 2007)

Medical School (Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine)

 Michael Munday (2006 – 2009, Honor thesis)

Veterinary Technician

 Jennifer Coleman (2006 – 2008, Honor thesis)

Research Technician (UNC Chapel-Hill)

 Megan Wallrichs (2006 – 2008, Honor thesis)

Graduate School (Delaware State)

Kari Fine (2005 – 2006)

Vet-MD School (University of Georgia)

 Dominique Buehler (2005 – 2006)

Graduate School (Switzerland)

 Anny Pena (2005 – 2006)

 Akuabata Kerns (2005 – 2006)

Preston Gardner (2005 – 2006)

Medical School (West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine)

 Caroline Mulcrone (2005)

Pharmacy School (Ohio)

Robyn Douglas (2004)

High School Teacher

 Oumar Seck (2003 – 2005)


 Rex Kirkman (2003 – 2004)