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School of Biological and Behavioural Sciences

Alexis Gkantiragas

PhD Student



Project Title: Molecular approaches to understanding bumblebee biology


Bumblebees are social insects that carry out crucial ecological roles as pollinators, particularly in colder climates. While bee biology and behavior have been extensively studied, molecular approaches to doing so are in their relative infancy. For example, nobody has (to the best of my knowledge) ever grown bumblebee cells in vitro or performed any genetic manipulations of bumblebees. My project aims to use my cell and molecular biology background to bring a new perspective to the study of bumblebee biology. I will employ CRISPR to generate modified bumblebees and interrogate the functions of individual genes. As well as questions of more fundamental biological interest, it is also paramount to understand the reasons for the decline in bumblebee numbers. Part of this is understanding how their molecular response to pesticides, something that I hope these approaches will elucidate. 



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