Dr. Hartmut Doebel
Professor Doebel is the head of the beekeeping and research team. Hartmut Doebel started this 2-year old program with a passion for honeybees and beekeeping, which he had learned as a college student in his native Germany. By partnering with the local restaurant, Founding Farmers, he was able to dive into further research with a focus on honeybee behavior and how diseases and pesticides affect normal bee behavior. What started as an anchor to get students excited about biology turned into a growing research program to further the knowledge about these widespread and important pollinators.
When Professor Doebel is not working on honeybees and his bee team, he focuses on his research in teaching and learning as well as how to implement active learning techniques into his courses.
Ph.D., University of Maryland, 1996.
Born and raised in southern California, Katherine grew up on in a historical home with an avocado grove and three honeybee hives. Her interest in science is rooted in watching the bees pollinate the avocado trees. Today, she uses that same inspiration to drive her research.
Katherine plans on obtaining a Biology degree with a double minor in Health and Wellness and Fine Art at GWU. Her research focuses on palynology, more commonly known as the study of pollen. She observes pollen forager bees by tracking, marking and collecting pollen from these special worker honey bees. With this research, we will have a better understanding of urban beekeeping, urban bee nutrition, bee foraging statistics and local flora in the DC area. She analyzes the pollen by looking through a light microscope and permanently mounting the grains on microscope slides using a technique she developed herself. She is also working to further look at the structure of pollen grains by using a Scanning Electron Microscope and analyzing the protein content of the pollen grains. Katherine is currently developing a methodology to help beekeepers check on the nutritional level of their hive through honeybee diet and pollen analysis. She is also on the GW Women’s Water Polo team.
Raised in rural Hunterdon County, New Jersey, Max developed a love for nature and the outdoors at a young age. Needless to say, biology quickly became a passion and ultimately an inspiration that would spark interest in his second love, medicine. Hoping for an endless supply of honey, Max joined Dr. Hartmut Doebel’s research lab.
Max researches the effects of pesticides on the navigational and behavioral patterns. His research focuses on a honeybee’s ability to navigate from a hive to a food source. With the widespread use of common garden pesticides such as neonicotinoids, it is postulated that these pesticides affect the bees in various ways including their ability to successfully forage. Additionally, there exists evidence that a contaminated food source can have profound effects on hive health and the feeding of future generations. Max hopes to train bees to a controlled food source and observe their ability to learn when under natural conditions as well as direct exposure to neonicotinoids.
Growing up in suburban New Jersey, Kyle has always loved wildlife. His love of nature led him to the sciences, and sparked his interest in biology. He loves that working with the bees allows him to reconnect with nature, even in the heart of DC.
Originally from Almaty, Kazakhstan, and has lived in Texas, London, and California. Her exposure to such a wide variety of settings has inspired an abiding love of the natural sciences. Yana’s biology research has taken her to China, where she worked in the molecular immunology department of Institut Pasteur of Shanghai. Although her first language is Russian, Yana is also pursuing a second major in English, and is especially fond of naturalist William Bartram’s pioneering descriptions of the American southeast.
Yana began her bee research over a year ago, starting with behavioral observation, and continuing with the development of lab exercises, such as the interpretation of the waggle dance, and the genetics of eusocial insects. Currently, her research focuses on the development and maintenance of insect cell lines for observation of toxic effects of chemicals and pesticides on morphology and function of the honeybee cells.
Brooke grew up bouncing around the country with her rather large family, but currently lives in Newtown, Connecticut. Nevertheless, she has always lived in her heart in the woods, hiking and tree climbing and getting dirty. Her home nickname is “Bee,” her favorite piece of orchestral music is Flight of the Bumblebee, she’s a honey fanatic, and now it seems only appropriate that she should finally be setting to work with bees and fully appreciate the lessons they have to teach us.
Brooke is working on her Bachelors of Science in Biology and a minor in Public Health at GW. She is fascinated by microbiology and by how foreign and familiar other organisms can be to humans. Her interest in health draws inspiration from nature, and vice versa. The project she is focusing on involves tracking the behavior of Varroa mite, a common pest for honey bees, with the bees to see how mites affect the overall health of the colony. She is also working on tracking the transmission of viruses in a colony which can consequences like Colony Collapse Disorder and a reduction in honey production. Essentially, she would like to be the “bee doctor” in the lab. She will also be taking on the role of bee keeper in addition to her project.
Born in the heart of the nation’s capital and raised in Vienna, Virginia, Ricky grew up with apiphobia—the fear of bees—after being stung in the ear from carelessly flinging his tennis racket at a garbage can following a tennis match victory against his older brother. Having translated this old fear into a brand new passion makes him even more hungry to engulf more challenges throughout his adventure of pursuing a major in Biology and minor in Chemistry at GWU.
Ricky is both a beekeeper and a researcher. Ricky’s research revolves around Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), which is the worldwide phenomenon attributed to the mysterious disappearance of honey bee colonies from their hives. In the context of CCD, his studies focuses on the comparison of immune systems between wild-type and domesticated honey bees in response to possible CCD factors, including pathogens, varroa mites, pesticides used for food production, or a combination of these. Another experimental focus is the analysis of hemocyte (insect blood cell) count in response to aforementioned factors. Ricky’s research will bring more clarity and more understanding to the mystery of CCD.