People Index

Esmaeil Amiri

Postdoctoral researcher, UNC Greensboro (Olav Rueppell's lab)

Esmaeil's research is centered around a collaborative effort to measure the various stresses within colonies, centering on measuring colonies for their virus profiles and seeing how they interact with other environmental stressors. This is a logical and productive continuation of his past research, where he forged an interest in evolutionary biology and research by developing his area of expertise in viruses and bee health. For example, part of his work provide the first and only empirical evidence of a sexually transmitted viral disease in honey bees, heretofore unbeknownst to science. As such he has been able to quickly incorporate the qPCR techniques involved in the project and has made great headway in the complicated multifactorial analyses.

Dan Charbonneau

Postdoctoral researcher, University of Pennsylvania (Tim Linksvayer's lab)

I am broadly interested in the interplay between individual and collective behavior in distributed complex systems. My work thus far has highlighted the importance of inactivity as a biologically relevant phenomenon that can be linked to individual behavior, morphology, and physiology, but also to emergent group properties such as task allocation strategies, and collective organization, robustness and flexibility. Insight into the evolutionary constraints and benefits of worker inactivity is essential for reconciling the seemingly conflicting ideas of task allocation strategies optimized by evolution, and high levels of worker inactivity. 

Nissa Coit

Undergraduate research assistant

Nissa is a student at UNC Chapel Hill but has joined the lab to get involved in honey bee research and beekeeping. As the President of the UNC Beekeeping Club, she has been involved in many different aspects of pollinator conservation and outreach events. Her goal is to pursue a graduate degree in honey bee biology.

Claire Collins

Undergraduate media intern

Claire is the media intern for the NC State Apiculture program. She is an undergraduate film major that began learning more in depth about bees after taking Dr. Tarpy’s Bees and Beekeeping course. She makes videos that display the lab members’ projects and the NC state hives and our bees. She also keeps up with the social media accounts for the program and takes photos and videos of the events that we hold and projects that the lab gets involved with. Claire plans to work in the lab for her entire undergraduate career, and has plans to collaborate as a videographer for a virtual reality beekeeping project.

Alexandria Fava

Undergraduate research assistant

Alex briefly joined the lab this summer to help on Starling Krentz's (MS student from ECU) project on immune priming of honey bee queens. She is continuing on in the lab during the academic year to help with several projects on applying molecular tools to honey bee colonies. She plans to graduate with an Entomology minor and go onto dental school.

Elizabeth de Jongh

Undergraduate research assistant

Elizabeth took ENT 203 last year and has been working in the Entomology department before joining our lab this fall. She will be assisting with various projects by extracting DNA and conducting PCR to use genetic markers for population genetics and molecular genotyping.

Jennifer Keller

Apiculture Technician

Ms. Keller is responsible for all beekeeping maintenance and implementation of any field research and data collection. She is an integral part of all empirical studies involving live honey bees at our Lake Wheeler Honey Bee Research Facility. Her MS research was on the biology of the small hive beetle, but she has since become an expert in queen rearing, insemination, in vitro rearing, and many other empirical techniques.

Hannah Levenson

MS student

Hannah is spearheading a new study measuring the effects of planted pollinator habitats on native bee populations. This past year Hannah has coordinated the sampling of the native bee populations at wildflower plots planted at each of the NCDA Experimental Research Stations. [VIDEO]

Olivia Loyack

Undergraduate research assistant

Olivia recently joined the lab but brings with her a lot of experience and interest in pollinator habitat and native bees. As such, she will be helping with Hannah's project on the pollinator communities across the state.

Erin McDermott

Genetics Technician

Erin works primarily on the Bee Informed Partnership project investigating the association between honey bee health and virus prevalence and incidence. She conducts RNA/DNA extractions and qRT-PCR, as well as assists with queen dissections for the Queen & Disease Clinic and field sampling for our projects in pollination ecology. Erin is an NC State graduate and has plans to go onto grad school.

Brad Metz

Postdoctoral researcher

Brad got his PhD from Texas A&M University studying the chemical and pheromone ecology of honey bees, particularly the primer and releaser effects of brood pheromone. He has extensive background in honey bee biology, teaching apiculture particularly in the online environment, and outreach. He joined our lab to spearhead the Queen & Disease Clinic and to conduct research on the reproductive quality of queens.

Joe Milone

PhD Student

My current research focuses on how realistic exposure environments and genetic susceptibility influence queen reproductive fitness and downstream colony phenotype. I am also interested in the development of accessible biomarkers for improving exposure assessment in honey bees. [VIDEO]

Sharon Munger

Project manager

Sharon joins the lab bringing a wealth of experience in the private sector, including running her own landscaping business and working in several human resource offices. She has been a great addition to our team in helping out with all projects and processes, but her main charge has been to facilitate our large research collaboration on improving colony health by increasing the reproductive quality of honey bee queens.

Carson Noel

Undergraduate research assistant

Carson is a sophmore in Biology with an Entomology minor who is taking ENT 203 and has a background in beekeeping. She is interested in all aspects of bee biology, both in the field and in the lab, and is therefore eager to contribute to several projects in the lab. She plans to go onto graduate school in Entomology with a concentration on apiculture and honey bee biology.

Kimberly Rogers

Undergraduate research assistant

Kim joined the lab in the Fall 2017 semester to help with sample processing and analyses. A double major in French & Foreign Languages and Business with an Entomology minor, she is also President of the Women's Waterpolo Club at NC State and enthusiastic about working with honey bees.

Ashley Rua

Undergraduate research assistant

A native of New Hampshire, Ashley is a NC State zoology major who has joined the lab to foster her interest in animal behavior and implementing genetic tools and analyses. She is a member of both the zoology club and honors program, and she hopes to move onto veterinary school after graduation.

Lauren Rusert

MS student

Lauren has spent the last several years working in the Hawaii Department of Agriculture and their apiary inspection service, so she comes to NC State with a wealth of knowledge and experience which she will apply to her research on the mating biology of queens and the population dynamics of honey bees in the Hawaiian archipelago on islands with and without the parasitic varroa mite.

David Tarpy

Professor and Extension Apiculturist

David Tarpy is a Professor of Entomology and the Extension Apiculturist at North Carolina State University since 2003. His research interests focus on the biology and behavior of honey bee queens—using techniques including field manipulations, behavioral observation, instrumental insemination, and molecular genetics—in order to better improve the overall health of queens and their colonies. Specific research projects include understanding the effect of the polyandrous mating strategy of queen bees on colony disease resistance, using molecular methods to determine the genetic structure within honey bee colonies, and the determining the regulation of reproduction at the individual and colony levels. His work has provided some of the best empirical evidence that multiple mating by queens confers multiple and significant benefits to colonies through increased genetic diversity of their nestmates. More recently, his lab group has focused on the reproductive potential of commercially produced queens, testing their genetic diversity and mating success in an effort to improve queen quality.

James Withrow

PhD Student

James is interested in the evolutionary and behavioral ecology of social insects, focusing on honey bee queen biology. For his MS thesis, he explored how emergency-reared queens often derive from unusual rare genotypes ("royal patrilines") and to what extent they are seen in colonies. He is also studying the pragmatic effects of shipping conditions on queen quality, specifically how temperature profiles during package transport may influence sperm viability and queen longevity. He has continued on for a PhD in our program.

Former lab members

  1. Hongmei Li-Byarlay (Summer 2014-Summer 2017). Current position: Assistant Professor, Central State University.
  2. Parry Kietzman (Fall 2015-Spring 2017). Current position: Project Director, Appalachian Headwaters Beekeeping Collective.
  3. Margarita López-Uribe (Summer 2014-Summer 2016). Current position: Assistant Professor, Department of Entomology, Penn State University.
  4. Ming Huang (Fall 2012-Fall 2013). Current position: Research Associate, Eurofins Scientific.
  5. Michael Simone-Finstrom (Winter 2011-Fall 2015). Current position: Research Entomologist, USDA-ARS Bee Breeding Laboratory, Baton Rouge LA.
  6. Juliana Rangel (Winter 2010-Winter 2012). Current position: Assistant Professor, Department of Entomology, Texas A&M University.
  7. Deborah Delaney (Fall 2007-Winter 2010). Current position: Associate Professor, Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology, University of Delaware.
Graduate students
  1. Carl Giuffre, Ph.D. Student, Biomathematics Program (Summer 2012-Summer2017). Current position: Visiting Professor, St. Mary's College, MD.
  2. Holden Appler, MS student (Summer 2012-Summer 2014). Co-advisor: Steve Frank. Current position: USDA APHIS.
  3. Shelley Rogers, NSF predoctoral awardee, MS student (Summer 2009-Summer 2012). Co-advisor: Hannah Burrack.
  4. Holly Wantuch, MS student (Fall 2006-Summer 2009). Current position: PhD student, Department of Entomology, Virginia Tech.


Undergraduates (selected; total = 74)
  1. Omar Halawani, Fall 2014-Spring 2016. Subsequent position: PhD Biological Sciences, NC State.
  2. Gabriela Quinlan, Fall 2014-Spring 2015. Subsequent position: PhD student, Michigan State University pollination ecology program.
  3. Samantha Walker, Fall 2010-Spring 2012. Subsequent position: George Washington University,MPH in Epidemiology
  4. Lacey Jeffreys, Fall 2009-Spring 2010. Subsequent position: Internship at the Smithsonian with the Center for Conservation, Education, and Sustainability.
  5. Jessica Richards, Spring 2008-Fall 2008. Subsequent position: MS Program, Penn State University, Entomology.
  6. Flora Lee, Fall 2007. Subsequent position: Inspire Pharmaceuticals, RTP.
  7. Winnie Lee, Fall 2007-Summer 2008. Subsequent position: ECU Physician Assistant School.
  8. John Harman, Fall 2007-Fall 2008. Subsequent position: Research Assistant, NCSU.
  9. Matthew Mayers, Summer 2005-Summer 2008. Subsequent position: Kentucky Dental School.