Flenniken Lab – Honey Bee Research

Michelle Flenniken, PhD Assistant Professor
Department of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology

Michelle Flenniken, professor in Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology, holds a frame of honey beesA hive frame covered in honey bees

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MSU’s Honey Bee Research Site and Pollinator Garden

MSU’s Honey Bee Research Site and Pollinator Garden serves as a field laboratory and community outreach and integration center. This project was initiated in 2013 to engage students in Horticulture, Ecology, Entomology, Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology, and Microbiology in a cross-disciplinary effort to create and generate a hub for pollinator health. In 2015, volunteers from MSU and the Bozeman community (including many people involved in the Master Gardeners Program, the Gallatin Gardeners Club, and the Gallatin Valley Beekeepers Association) with help from Cashman Nursery established the 0.5 acre site at MSU’s Horticulture Farm. This site features bee friendly forage and habitat, a pavilion, an equipment shed that houses educational and beekeeping materials, and honey bee colonies.

Research in the Flenniken Lab is focused on better understanding honey bee host – pathogen interactions.  Projects in the lab focus on five principal aspects of honey bee biology: (1) determining the mechanisms and contributions of RNA-triggered pathways in honey bee antiviral defense, (2) honey bee pathogen monitoring, detection and discovery with an emphasis on pathogens associated with colony losses (including CCD), (3) investigating the pathogenesis of the recently discovered Lake Sinai viruses, (4) understanding the influence of the individual bee microbiome, metabolome, and transcriptome on the immune response and outcome of infections, and (5) examining the sublethal effects of agrochemicals on honey bee health.

Michelle Flenniken will host community events focused on teaching members of the general public about the importance of bee pollinators and MSU bee research. Flenniken facilitates beeyard field trips for grade school, undergraduate, and graduate students. In the future, events including lectures and hands on beekeeping activities will be held at this site.

For more information please contact:

Michelle Flenniken, michelle.flenniken@montana.edu
Website: http://www.plantsciences.montana.edu/facultyorstaff/faculty/Flenniken