Etya Amsalem, Ph.D.

Etya Amsalem, Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor of Entomology
215 Life Science Building
University Park, PA 16802

Areas of Expertise

  • Social behavior
  • Chemical ecology
  • Pollinator's health
  • Physiology
  • Genetics
  • Bumble bees


  • B.S. Medical and Life Science, Tel Aviv University
  • M.Sc. Zoology, Tel Aviv University
  • Ph.D. Zoology, Tel Aviv University


My lab studies insect social behavior and pollinator health using tools from chemical ecology, physiology, genetics, and genomics.

Selected topics of research in the lab:

(1) Pheromones and hormones regulating reproduction, sexual production, and social behavior in insect societies
(2) The genetic and molecular mechanisms underlying pheromone production, perception and social organization
(3) The evolution of reproductive signaling
(4) The genetic and physiological factors underlying successful diapause in bumble bee queens
(5) The impact of pesticides, pathogens and diet on bee behavior, mating and development
(6) The impacts and underlying mechanisms of carbon dioxide narcosis in bumble bees
(7) Larva development and caste determination in bumble bees and the evolution of castes in social insects


ENT202 - Insect connections: Insect, Globalization and sustainability (every spring)
ENT530 - Supervised mentoring for graduate students, in collaboration with St. Francis University (every fall)
ENT484 - Insect Behavior (every other spring)

Current graduate students:

Nathan Derstine, PhD student - USDA NIFA fellow, Entomology Graduate Program
Sarah Spence, PhD student - Black fellow, Entomology Graduate Program
Ethan Dean, PhD student - Entomology Graduate Program


Institutes affiliations:


Differential gene expression underlying the biosynthesis of Dufour's gland signals in Bombus impatiens
Current Research in Insect Science, Derstine, Nathan, Galbraith, David, Villar, Gabriel, Amsalem, Etya, 2023

The Effect of Pollen Diet Composition and Quantity on Diapause Survival and Performance in an Annual Pollinator (Bombus Impatiens)
Integrative Organismal Biology, Treanore, E. D., Ramos-Medero, A. V., Garcia, J., Amsalem, E., 2023

The effect of bumble bee gynes’ reproductive status on the response to CO2 narcosis
Journal of Apicultural Research, Seltzer, Rya, Domer, Adi, Bodner, Levona, Bouchebti, Sofia, Malka, Maya, Amsalem, Etya, Levin, Eran, 2023

Communication Between Honeybees: More than Just a Dance in the Dark, Amsalem, Etya, 2023

Symptomatic Infection with Vairimorpha spp. Decreases Diapause Survival in a Wild Bumble Bee Species (Bombus griseocollis)
Animals, Orlova, Margarita, Porter, Monique, Hines, Heather M., Amsalem, Etya, 2023

The effect of the brood and the queen on early gene expression in bumble bee workers' brains
Scientific Reports, Santos, Priscila K.F., Galbraith, David A., Starkey, Jesse, Amsalem, Etya, 2022

CO2 narcosis induces a metabolic shift mediated via juvenile hormone in Bombus impatiens gynes
Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Barie, Katherine, Levin, Eran, Amsalem, Etya, 2022

A Gland of Many Uses: a Diversity of Compounds in the Labial Glands of the Bumble Bee Bombus impatiens Suggests Multiple Signaling Functions
Journal of Chemical Ecology, Orlova, Margarita, Villar, Gabriel, Hefetz, Abraham, Millar, Jocelyn G., Amsalem, Etya, 2022

Sexual production is regulated by the brood in Bombus impatiens colonies
bioRxiv, Santos, Priscila, Murray, Cameron, Amsalem, Etya, 2022

Dufour’s gland analysis reveals caste and physiology specific signals in Bombus impatiens
Scientific Reports, Derstine, Nathan T., Villar, Gabriel, Orlova, Margarita, Hefetz, Abraham, Millar, Jocelyn, Amsalem, Etya, 2021

Bumble bee queen pheromones are context-dependent
Scientific Reports, Orlova, Margarita, Amsalem, Etya, 2021

Built to change: Dominance strategy changes with life stage in a primitively eusocial bee
Behavioral Ecology, Orlova, Margarita, Treanore, Erin, Amsalem, Etya, 2021

What can mechanisms underlying derived traits tell us about the evolution of social behavior?
Annals of the Entomological Society of America, Treanore, Erin, Derstine, Nathan, Amsalem, Etya, 2021

Optimizing laboratory rearing of a key pollinator, bombus impatiens
Insects, Treanore, Erin, Barie, Katherine, Derstine, Nathan, Gadebusch, Kaitlin, Orlova, Margarita, Porter, Monique, Purnell, Frederick, Amsalem, Etya, 2021

Shift in worker physiology and gene expression pattern from reproductive to diapause-like with colony age in the bumble bee Bombus impatiens
Journal of Experimental Biology, Treanore, Erin D., Kiner, Jacklyn M., Kerner, Mackenzie E., Amsalem, Etya, 2020

Do Bumble Bees Produce Brood Pheromones?
Journal of Chemical Ecology, Starkey, Jesse, Derstine, Nathan, Amsalem, Etya, 2019

The importance of holistically evaluating data: A comment on Holman
Behavioral Ecology, Amsalem, Etya, Grozinger, Christina M., 2018

Preface: Pheromone-Mediation of Female Reproduction and Reproductive Dominance in Social Species
Journal of Chemical Ecology, Amsalem, Etya, Hefetz, Abraham, 2018

Evolution of olfactory functions on the fire ant social chromosome
Genome Biology and Evolution, Cohanim, Amir B., Amsalem, Etya, Saad, Rana, Shoemaker, De Wayne, Privman, Eyal, 2018

Pheromone-mediation of female reproduction and reproductive dominance in social species
Journal of Chemical Ecology, Amsalem, Etya, Hefetz, A, 2018

Do Bumble Bee, Bombus impatiens, Queens Signal their Reproductive and Mating Status to their Workers?
Journal of Chemical Ecology, Amsalem, Etya, Padilla, Mario, Schreiber, Paul, Altman, N, Hefetz, Abraham, Grozinger, Christina, 2017

Chemical communication is not sufficient to explain reproductive inhibition in the bumblebee bombus impatiens
Royal Society Open Science, Padilla, Mario, Amsalem, Etya, Altman, N, Hefetz, Abraham, Grozinger, Christina M., 2016

Conservation and modification of genetic and physiological toolkits underpinning diapause in bumble bee queens
Molecular Ecology, Amsalem, Etya, Galbraith, David A., Cnaani, Jonathan, Teal, Peter E.A., Grozinger, Christina M., 2015

A conserved class of queen pheromones? Re-evaluating the evidence in bumblebees (Bombus impatiens)
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Amsalem, Etya, Orlova, Margarita, Grozinger, Christina M., 2015

The Physiological and Genomic Bases of Bumble Bee Social Behaviour
Advances in Insect Physiology, Amsalem, Etya, Grozinger, Christina M., Padilla, Mario, Hefetz, Abraham, 2015

The physiological and genomic bases of bumble bee social behavior
Advances in Insect Physiology, Amsalem, Etya, Grozinger, C, Padilla, M, Hefetz, A, 2015

The Effect of Caste and Reproductive State on the Chemistry of the Cephalic Labial Glands Secretion of Bombus Terrestris
Journal of Chemical Ecology, Amsalem, Etya, Kiefer, Julia, Schulz, Stefan, Hefetz, Abraham, 2014

Gonadotropic and physiological functions of juvenile hormone in bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) workers
PLoS One, Shpigler, Hagai, Amsalem, Etya, Huang, Zachary Y., Cohen, Mira, Siegel, Adam J., Hefetz, Abraham, Bloch, Guy, 2014

Exploring the role of juvenile hormone and vitellogenin in reproduction and social behavior in bumble bees
BMC Evolutionary Biology, Amsalem, Etya, Malka, Osnat, Grozinger, Christina, Hefetz, Abraham, 2014