Congratulations to the 2019 USA PAm-Costco Scholar Fellowship Awardees!
The Canada PAm-Costco Scholar Fellowship Application period is open and applications will be accepted through July 8, 2019. Click Here for more information, and to apply
Scholarship: Since 2013, Project Apis m. (PAm) and Costco Wholesale Corporation have collaborated to sponsor a competitive scholarship program for a Ph.D. - level candidate. The purpose of the Costco Scholar Program is to ensure the continuity of honey bee health scientists and specialties in the academic and research world. It also intends to develop and contribute to sustainability of the beekeeping industry and assure its future contributions to agriculture, where many crops depend upon pollination for success. The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students who are, or will be, pursuing research-based doctoral degrees in fields within the Project Apis m. mission of enhancing honey bee health while improving crop production.
2019 Awards: 11 highly qualified and impressive individuals applied for the PAm-Costco Scholar Fellowship. A review panel including PAm Science Advisors, PAm Board Members, Costco Representatives, 2016 PAm-Costco Scholar Morgan Carr-Markell, and PAm Staff carefully reviewed applications and interviewed five applicants. Awards were given to two outstanding candidates who demonstrated exemplary initiative, capacity, innovation, scholastic dedication and skillful communication of honey bee health research.
Introducing the 2019 USA PAm-Costco Scholar:
Zachary Lamas, University of Maryland
Varroa Feeding Behavior and the Effects of Pesticides on Queens
Award: $50,000 per year for 3 years of funding totaling $150,000
Zac Lamas is a PhD student at the University of Maryland where he studies varroa feeding behavior. Previously he worked for Michael Palmer of French Hill Apiaries where he managed honey and nucleus colony production, while simultaneously running his own migratory operation between the coast of North Carolina and upstate New York, producing queens and surplus colonies. Zac has an innate love for agriculture and ran a biodynamic farm while attaining his bachelor’s degree at Colby-Sawyer College in New Hampshire. He aims to find sustainable methods to improve the quality of farming while reducing its impact on the environment.
Zac is continuing that work now in the VanEngelsdorp lab at UMD where he has been given the freedom to investigate dual interests: Varroa behavior and the effects of pesticides on queens, and how certain Varroa behaviors can be major drivers of viral transmission. On the pesticide front, he’s created tiny, closed system colonies that can rear brood or queens in laboratory settings. His viral work is with collaborators at the Beltsville Bee Lab. He hopes his work will ultimately improve honey bee health and dramatically reduce the cost of pesticide research.
Introducing the 2019 USA PAm-Costco Scholar Runner-Up:
Alex McMenamin, Montana State University
Molecular Mechanisms of Honey Bee Antiviral Defense
Award: $50,000 per year for 2 years of funding totaling $100,00
Alex is currently a PhD student in Montana State University’s Pollinator Health Center, which is co-directed by his advisor Dr. Michelle Flenniken. Before coming to MSU he received a B.S. in Immunology and Infectious Disease at Penn State University, where he stayed to complete a M.S. in Entomology under Dr. Christina Grozinger studying the health and behavior of Kenyan honey bees.
His current research focuses on the molecular mechanisms of honey bee antiviral defense to help build a basic understanding of honey bee host-pathogen interactions. This includes projects investigating (1) how the heat-stress response is associated with antiviral immunity, (2) the function of a novel antiviral immune gene and (3) the role of honey bee hemocytes in the antiviral response. The long-term goal is to use that basic understanding to aid the rational development of therapeutics and breeding programs to combat the viral diseases of honey bees.
Project Apis m. thanks all of the PAm-Costco Scholar Fellowship applicants, they showed outstanding potential to contribute to science, and honey bee health research.
Contact: For additional information, contact Sharah Yaddaw at Sharah@ProjectApism.org.