Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences
Jonathan Snow joined the Barnard faculty in 2012 after serving as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Williams College. The primary focus of our current research is on the cellular stress responses of the honey bee. Honey bee activity is crucial to key agricultural and ecological systems. Honey bee colonies in the United States have suffered from an increased rate of die-off in recent years, stemming from a complex set of interacting stresses that remain poorly described. Environmental stressors suspected to play a part in recent honey bee losses include nutritional stress, chemical poisoning from pesticides, alterations to normal living conditions stemming from large-scale beekeeping practices, and infection by pathogenic microbes. Increased knowledge about how honey bees sense and attempt to adapt to these stresses at the cellular level will be important for understanding diseases affecting this crucial beneficial insect.
One of the key stress responses emphasized in our research is that of immune activation. While we possess extensive knowledge about the immune systems of many animals from humans to fruit flies, our understanding of the mechanisms through which honey bees defend themselves against microbial attack is incomplete. A major goal of his research program is to define mechanisms of pathogen resistance in honeybees, especially in the digestive tract, which provides an important immune barrier for this species. We are also very interested in other cellular stress responses and how they may modulate immune competence in response to various microbial attacks. To pursue these questions, we hope to increase understanding at various levels, including the colony, the individual bee, the cell, and the molecular pathway.
Studies to understand the cellular stress responses of the bee will be critical to solving the problems that confront this fascinating organism. As a social insect, the honey bee also provides a unique opportunity to look at how group resistance is affected by individual stress responses. In the realm of immunity in particular, our studies could have significant potential implications for understanding the spread of human disease. Finally, using the honeybee as a model promises to improve our understanding of the dialogue between humans and our environment and will help move our society toward a more sustainable future.
Cellular Stress Responses
Regulation of gene expression
Laboratory in Cell Biology
Introduction to Cell and Molecular Biology
Senior Seminar in Immunology
For publications, see the following database listing:
In the news:
• B.A., Williams College
• Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences Program, University of California, San Francisco
• Research Fellow, Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Harvard University