People

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Scott McArt, assistant professor of pollinator health. My main research interests are chemical and disease ecology, specifically in relation to pesticide and pathogen stress experienced by honey bees, bumble bees and other wild bees. I have a keen interest in working with stakeholders (e.g. beekeepers and growers) and regulatory agencies to improve pollinator health. This works well with my 60/40 research/extension appointment. Some more information on my background and interests is located here.

 

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Ashley Fersch, lab manager. Ashley comes from the city of steel (Pittsburgh) and her resolve around bees is similar. She completed her BA at Chatham University and is currently coordinating field work on our EEID disease in bees project, pollen identification on various honey bee projects, and managing our lab in her spare time. Yes, she’s a rockstar.

 

 

 

Paige Muniz, bee systematics technician. We’re thrilled to have Paige join our lab and bring her wealth of expertise in bee diversity and systematics. Paige’s Masters research at St. Louis University with Gerardo Camilo and Mike Arduser focused on how urbanization and socioeconomic status impacts bee diversity in the midwest. At Cornell, Paige is leading bee identification on our EEID disease in bees project.

 

 

 

Phoebe Koenig, honey bee technician. Phoebe is helping run our queen genetics project, where we’re working to improve honey bee genetics in NYS. Phoebe has an impressive bee CV, having previously worked in Tom Seeley’s and Marla Spivak’s labs, then for a year and a half with the Bee Informed Partnership. When not working on bee genetics, Phoebe can be found strapping microchips to bees with Kristin Petersen to find out where they fly!

 

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Nicolas Baert, research associate. Nico comes to us from Juha-Pekka Salminen’s lab at the University of Turku, Finland, where his PhD research focused on ellagitannin chemistry. At Cornell, Nico manages our chemical ecology core facility (HPLC-MS, etc.), allowing us to investigate pesticide interactions with bees.

 

 

Pete Graystock, postdoctoral associate. Pete is an emerging leader in the fields of bee-microbe interactions and parasite spillover. He conducted his PhD with William Hughes and Dave Goulson at the University of Sussex. Most recently, he completed a postdoc in Quinn McFrederick’s lab at UC Riverside. At Cornell, Pete is leading the molecular side of our EEID project investigating how parasites are transmitted within diverse communities of bees.

 

 

Aaron Iverson, postdoctoral associate. Aaron brings an impressive knowledge of botany to the field of pollinator health. He completed his PhD at the University of Michigan with John Vandermeer and Robyn Burnham. As a NatureNet fellow in Sunny Power’s lab, he worked to produce a floral resource map for New York. Now, Aaron is working to find effective fungicides/insecticides that pose minimal risk to bees.

 

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Laura Figueroa, PhD student. Laura grew up in Colombia and Oklahoma, completing a BS at the University of Oklahoma in 2015. Laura’s dissertation is investigating how pathogens are transmitted in complex plant-pollinator networks. Check out her dance your PhD video, which combines her impressive science and salsa skills.

 

 

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Kass Urban-Mead, PhD student. Kass is co-advised by myself and Bryan Danforth. She completed a Masters in Os Schmitz’s lab at Yale, where she investigated how plant-pollinator networks are impacted by human land use gradients. For her PhD, Kass is using her network expertise to help apple growers improve management decisions related to pollination.

 

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Kaitlin Deutsch, PhD student. Kaitlin completed a Masters of Conservation at Oxford, where her thesis with Mark Brown investigated the potential for flies to be non-host vectors of bee pathogens. For her PhD, she is interested in understanding factors driving declines of native pollinator species, especially hoverflies.

 

 

 

Timothy Salazar, PhD student. Timothy is co-advised by myself and Steve Ellner in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Timothy is interested in theory and modeling of disease transmission among bees. Before coming to Cornell, he worked with Corrie Moreau at U Chicago and Dan Doak at CU Boulder.

 

 

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Nelson Milano, Masters student. Nelson received his BA from UMass-Amherst and was a crew leader and technician in Joe Elkinton and Lynn Adler’s labs for several years. His Masters is investigating how landscapes (urban/rural) and farming practices (organic/conventional) impact pesticide exposure, pathogen prevalence, and colony performance of bumble bees.

 

 

David Lewis, undergraduate researcher. David has been with us for a year of honey bees, pesticides and pollen analysis projects. Now he’s helping with our EEID project and starting to appreciate (dread?) diverse communities of wild bees and the pathogens they share.

 

 

 

Casey Hale, undergraduate researcher. Casey is currently working with Aaron to assess how fungicide-insecticide interactions impact bees. Her long-term goal is to become an insect vector epidemiologist and study Aedes mosquito control. Her favorite Hymenoptera family is Stephanidae, the crown wasps!

 

 

 

Julie Kapuvari, undergraduate researcher. Julie is working closely with Ashley on pollen identification, honey bee and wild bee projects. She became a beekeeper at a CSA organic farm on Long Island to achieve the Girl Scout Gold Award. She is an avid bee punologist and aspires to one day bee-come an environmental lawyer focusing on international climate change policy.

 

 

Abby Davis, undergraduate researcher. Abby is working with Kaitlin to investigate the vector potential of multiple bee pathogens in flies. She is interested in hoverflies and their impact on plant-pollinator networks. She plans to one day work for an agricultural company and specialize in biological control.

 

 

 

Emma Williams, undergraduate researcher. Emma recently joined the lab and began working with Aaron to test potential synergisms between fungicides and insecticides and the impact of those interactions on bees. Pursuing a microbiology concentration, Emma is a newcomer to the world of bees. But she’s learned a lot during her time in Comstock and hasn’t been stung (yet)!

 

 

 

Annika Salzberg, undergraduate researcher. Annika is a recent addition to the lab and is working with the EEID team on identification of bees and their pathogens. She was formerly a beekeeping apprentice at Haverford College, and is excited to be working with these lovely insects again!

 

  

 

Lab alumni/ae:

Mahilet Kebede, undergraduate researcher

Sally Compton, undergraduate researcher, senior Honors thesis: “Functional traits of wild bees predict pathogen prevalence”

Lauren Truitt, undergraduate researcher, senior Honors thesis: “A trait-based model of disease transmission in plant-pollinator networks”

Marcel Ramos, undergraduate researcher

Josh Roberts, undergraduate researcher

Trebor Hall, undergraduate researcher

Sarah Bluher, technician

Rosie Nagele, undergraduate researcher

Emily Wafler, undergraduate researcher

Carlee Roberts, undergraduate researcher