Dr. Hartmut Doebel
Hartmut Doebel is the head of the beekeeping and research team. Dr. Doebel started this four-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 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.
Senior Beekeeper: Mehreen Arif
Mehreen was born and raised in Lahore, Pakistan – a festive city laden with history, architecture and art from the Mughal and Western, Victorian eras. Mehreen’s city and her parents have heavily influenced her personality and hobbies. From a very young age Mehreen was an avid theatre and museum go-er who enjoyed reading plays, painting and learning about different cultures. But she would also relish in flipping through animal encyclopedias, stargazing with her dad at night, horseback riding, watching documentaries on National Geographic and her favorite weekend excursions as a kid were trips to the local zoo.
Mehreen has combined her love for the sciences and the humanities in college, as a rising senior pursuing a Bachelors of Science degree in Biological Sciences and English. Mehreen got interested in learning about honeybees after teaching an undergraduate honeybee lab as a UGTA for Prof. Doebel’s Intro Biology class. Mehreen started her journey in the bee lab as a junior beekeeper and pesticide researcher last year and since then Mehreen is now the senior beekeeper and co-leads the Pesticide team with Michael Stover. As the senior beekeeper Mehreen manages the rooftop apiary at GWU. Her responsibilities include weekly/bi-weekly hive inspections, expansions, controlling Varroa mite population and harvesting honey. Pertaining to research, Mehreen and her teammates focus on the neuro-ethology of honeybees – concentrating on how certain pesticides (like neonicotinoids) and herbicides affect honeybee associative memory and learning. Her research aims at finding a link between the detrimental effects of industrial chemicals and “Colony Collapse Disorder.”
Audra is a sophomore at GW, majoring in Chemistry with a minor in Biology. She grew up in Seattle, Washington and spent much of childhood camping, backpacking and learning about the outdoors. She first became interested in bees as a kid because her uncle had hives and would let her put on a mini bee suit and look at them. Not only did it feel like dress-up, but then she got to taste different types of honey all afternoon – and has since then developed a sweet tooth! Audra began working in the bee lab during her sophomore year with the Immune team, and is excited to continue learning and extending her research!
Gabrielle has been interested in bees and their plight since having to write a poem about them in middle school, when CCD became a popular topic in the media. She is from a small town in New Jersey, and came to GW to satiate her inquiries about a plethora of interests, including honey bees! She is currently pursuing a major in Classical Studies, with a minor in Biological Anthropology. Gabrielle currently maintains the GW Buzz website, and also helps the senior beekeeper, as well as researchers on their current projects.
Jonah grew up in Oakland, California, and attended boarding school in western Massachusetts. His hobbies include reading, listening to music, and petting any dogs within arm’s reach. At the lab, Jonah is a part of the immune team; currently he is focused on research involving antimicrobial secretions on bee’s skin. Jonah is studying towards a BS in Biology, and hopes to pursue a career in research.
Justin is a rising junior from Ashburn, VA. He is majoring in Biology at GW. Even as a child he was interested in animals and nature. He became interested in bee research because it involves working closely with the bees. He is studying bee immune systems and hopes to learn more about how they work and if pesticides negatively affect the bees’ immune system’s ability to fight off infection.
Mannat is a rising sophomore studying Biology at GWU, and would like to pursue a career in dermatology. She was born in India, but raised in New Jersey and Delaware. Currently, Mannat is part of the second queen rearing team, whose project and goal is to increase sperm viability of queen bees so that we can create healthier hives. This is her first year as an undergraduate researcher, and is thrilled to gain more knowledge about honey bees this summer.
McKenzie is a junior majoring in Chemistry with a minor in Biology. Growing up in a small town on the coast of Maine, she has always had an appreciation for nature and an active lifestyle. She enjoys doing anything that involves being outside in the fresh air, and she loves to travel. McKenzie became interested in learning more about honey bees after a lab dedicated to them in her intro biology class during her freshman year at GW. She then began working in the Bee Lab in her sophomore year on a team of students studying the immune system of the bee, which she will continue to study. She has learned so much while working in the bee lab, and continues to be surprised by how complex such tiny creatures can be.
From hiking up waterfalls in Yosemite, California, to horseback riding across New Mexico, since a young age Michael has always enjoyed spending his free time in the outdoors across the country. This led to him becoming an animal lover, a facet that was only compounded by snuggling with his two dogs and cats. This love led him to study various sciences, such as Biology, which eventually catalyzed his work as an undergraduate researcher in the GWU Honeybee lab.
As a rising senior at GW, Michael is currently working on his Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry with a minor in Biology at GW. Michael leads a team of undergraduate students in research focused on the prevention and understanding of the widespread phenomenon “Colony Collapse Disorder.” He and his teammates focus their research on various projects related to pesticides and herbicides. Specifically, his research attempts to answer questions about how pesticides impact honeybee cognition and behavior.
Michelle is a sophomore majoring in Biology with a minor in Human Anatomy. Since 3rd grade, she has lived in Clifton, VA, a quiet town surrounded by trees and wildlife. Not only does she garden with her grandparents, but she is also a member of her community’s bee-safe neighborhood. Since she came to GWU, her curiosity for honeybees grew, leading her to become an undergraduate researcher. Currently, she is working on the Bee Venom team, which focuses on the medicinal effects of melittin, a peptide within the honeybees’ venom.
Nico grew up in a town right outside Boston, Massachusetts and before coming to GW had never been to DC. Nevertheless, having spent a year in DC and become acclimated to the city and Foggy Bottom area, he now loves the city and all it has to offer! As a student, Nico is studying Biology with aspirations of pursuing a career in medicine. Nico is currently on the Queen Team and is testing the affect of low to mid-levels of pesticides on queen pheromone activity, particularly the size of the queens retinue!
Shalini Amrit Sudama
Shalini is originally from Providence, Rhode Island. She loves the beach, the city and every activity that they could possibly encompass since she’s always had the best of both worlds back home. Shalini cares deeply (almost too much) about all animals and insects and has always done whatever she can to be involved with them. When she heard about Professor Doebel’s bee research, her interest was immediately sparked as she’s also had a slight fear of bees in the past and wanted to conquer it as soon as possible! Shalini has now grown to love them and will do whatever it takes to protect them. Shalini is currently a rising sophomore and aspires to be an emergency medicine physician someday. She is presently a Biology major with a possible minor in English or human anatomy. She is a member of one of the two queen rearing teams, whose research project involves the investigation of greater protein/antioxidant concentrations within both drone and queen bee diets’ to aid in the overall sperm viability and motility of the queen bee. The end goal is to determine why queen bees no longer have the lifespan they once did and consequently, inquire about other possible causes for colony collapse disorder (CCD). Some of the methods her team will be using are sperm collection, artificial insemination, and classical conditioning. We predict that this will be a two year project and expect to obtain more specific data results next summer (Summer ’16).
Tara grew up in the small town of Madison, CT. She spent most of her childhood pursuing art, music and theatre until she found an unexpected passion for biology. Tara enjoys working with the anatomy and behavior of honeybees and hopes to merge her creative element with her interest for honeybees in the lab. As an rising sophomore at GWU, Tara is currently Undeclared in terms of a major, but is in the process in the process of choosing between six different majors or minors, including Biology, Biological Anthropology, Public Health, Women’s Studies, Systems Engineering, and Business. Currently she is working with rearing queen bees and sperm extraction in haploid drone honeybees. Her research aims to focus on motility of sperm in queen bees and the adverse effect of pesticides on queen honeybee pheromone secretions. She aims to draw a connection between her research and Colony Collapse Disorder.
Priyanka Koti, 3D Printing Team, Summer 2015
Kaleabe Abebe, Pesticide Team Summer 2015
Gerry Quinnan, 3D Printing Team Summer 2015
Dennis Khodasevich, Venom Team Summer 2015
Carly Sherman, Pesticide Team Summer 2015
Victoria Doheny, Sound Team Summer 2015
Roma Patel, Sound Team Summer 2015
Abigail Thorpe, Sound Team Summer 2015
Liam Douglass, Junior Beekeeper 2015
Elizabeth Young, Immune Team Summer 2015
Ryan Gunnison, Pesticide Team Summers 2014 & 2015
Anaïs Di Via Ioschpe, Venom Team Summer 2015
Amber McLeod, 2014-2015
Katherine Berry, 2012-2014
Yana Melnikova, 2011-2013
Max Kollmer, 2012-2013
Esther Schenau, Summer 2013