Alexandra Herestofa receives the 2011 Dutch Gold Honey Scholarship

Posted: February 1, 2012

In 2010, honey distributor Dutch Gold Honey and William and Kitty Gamber, of Lancaster, Pa., each contributed $50,000 to endow a fund to support undergraduate research in the College of Agricultural Sciences.

The Dutch Gold Honey and William R. Gamber II Endowment in Entomology is awarded to students actively involved in honey bee research.  The 2011 award went to Alexandra Herestofa, a sophomore studying animal science at the University Park campus.  

In the summer of 2011, Herestofa worked with a Holly Holt, a second year graduate student in Dr. Christina Grozinger's laboratory. There, she assisted with a series of experiments examining the effects of parasite infection on honey bee behavior and health. Specifically, she studied how an intestinal parasite, Nosema, affected the physiology and sexual maturation of male bees (drones).  Previous research on worker bees has been extensive, but drones have been largely ignored.  The preliminary results of this study suggest that Nosema does not affect sperm count in drones but does exact a high energetic toll on them, which may reduce their lifespan or ability to mate.  Additionally, drones were collected for future molecular work on genes regulating response to infection. 

The Dutch Gold Award supports the research and educational mission of the Center for Pollinator Research, and the research performed by Herestofa is an excellent example of the interdisciplinary approaches Center members are using to address the pollinator crisis.