How the multidisciplinary work of an entomologist aims to improve bee health

Priyadarshini Chakrabarti Basu, Ph.D., has been selected to present her research at the ECP Recognition Symposium at Entomology 2021. Her lab focuses on understanding the impacts of several stressors on bee health and how best to formulate strategies to alleviate or counter these stressors.

By Carly Tribull, Ph.D.

Editor’s Note: This is the next article in the “Remarkable ECPSeries contributed by the Entomological Society of America’s Early Career Professionals (ECP) Committee, highlighting outstanding ECPs who do a great job in the profession. (An ECP is defined as anyone within the first five years of graduating from their field of study.) It is also the latest in a series of four positions featuring selected ECPs. to present their work during the ECP Recognition Symposium To Entomology 2021, which will take place in person and online, from October 31 to November 3, in Denver, Colorado. Learn more about the work of ECPs within ESA, and read previous articles in the Standout ECPs series.

Priyadarshini Chakrabarti Basu, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of pollinator health and beekeeping in the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology, and Plant Pathology at Mississippi State University. She also holds a courtesy professor position in the Department of Horticulture at Oregon State University. His lab focuses on understanding the impacts of several stressors on bee health and how best to formulate strategies to mitigate or counter these stressors. She uses a range of transdisciplinary tools and approaches in various fields such as bee physiology, bee nutrition, bee toxicology, bee neuroethology, multiomics, pollinator biology and beekeeping practices.

Chakrabarti Basu obtained his doctorate. in Zoology from the University of Calcutta in India in 2016 and was a postdoctoral research associate at Oregon State University before joining Mississippi State University. She has also received the 2020 Early Career Excellence Award from the Pacific Branch of the Entomological Society of America, in addition to numerous other national and international awards. She is currently the representative of the physiology, biochemistry and toxicology section on the committee of early-career professionals of ESA and also chairs the Entomology today Sub-committee of the “Standout ECP” series.

Priyadarshini Chakrabarti Basu, Ph.D.

Priyadarshini Chakrabarti Basu, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of pollinator health and beekeeping in the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology, and Plant Pathology at Mississippi State University. She also holds a courtesy professor position in the Department of Horticulture at Oregon State University.

Chakrabarti Basu has been selected to present her research at the ECP Recognition Symposium at Entomology 2021, which will be held in person and online, October 31-November 3, in Denver, Colorado. His presentation at the symposium, titled “Using a Multi-Omics Approach to Improve Pollinator Health,” is scheduled for 3:30 pm MT on Tuesday, November 2.

Tribull: Can you briefly describe the research you will be presenting at the Early Career Certification Symposium?

Chakrabarti Basu: I will discuss the research I have developed over the past few years and the research I am developing and directing as a new principal investigator in my Mississippi State lab. “Omics” methods are a new and modern tool that is very useful for deciphering various aspects of bee developmental physiology, stress response and overall functional biology. Multiomics tools are also beneficial in understanding the nutritional landscape (nutritional quality of pollen and nectar) available to all bee pollinators. In fact, I am leading a project funded by the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative of the United States Department of Agriculture, in conjunction with Oregon State University, to create the first pollen nutrition database for bee pollinated plants in North America.

My laboratory uses a wide range of transdisciplinary approaches and collaborations and seeks to understand how biotic and abiotic stressors (poor nutrition, realistic multiple exposures to pesticides in the field, environmental stressors, parasites / parasites / pathogens, etc.) affect the individual and overall health of the colony. in bees. These stressors can act alone or in synergy with each other. I also work with stakeholders, decision makers and collaborators to formulate effective strategies to alleviate or counter this stress.

Why is this research important to other entomologists in ESA’s Physiology, Biochemistry and Toxicology Section, entomologists as a whole, and non-entomologists?

This symposium gives me the opportunity to connect with entomologists from all four sections, including the Physiology, Biochemistry and Toxicology section, to exchange ideas, share new aspects of bee research and forge partnerships and potential collaborations. My research can also show how multiomics can be a versatile and powerful tool to answer many of our entomological research questions, especially bee research. Additionally, the symposium platform is useful for me to invite other entomologists as citizen scientists and volunteers to help us build the pollen nutrition database by contributing plant pollens.

What is your favorite part of your research? And what’s the most difficult or boring part of your research?

My favorite part of my research is to question myself and my thinking. Trying to find innovative approaches to solving a research problem, building fruitful collaborations that work, and trying to be successful at the basic and applied science interphase have taught me to also appreciate small successes when working on a problem. of research.

I think one of the most difficult parts of my research, like any beekeeping researcher, is the short window of annual experimentation opportunities. It is often necessary to anticipate the logistics and the experiments, in order to be able to carry out studies, in a short spring / summer window each year.

What’s your favorite part of your current job?

My favorite part of my job is being able to find unanswered questions and keep trying to solve them. Most importantly, I can do this with a fantastic group of students (graduate students and undergraduates) who are as engaged and motivated as I am. I also have the opportunity to mentor and work with minority students, first generation students, and students representing the LGBTQ community. This in itself is a learning curve for me, and I take great pleasure in being able to train, teach and mentor students.

In addition, I have the opportunity to work closely with our stakeholders and extension partners, which gives me various opportunities to work on issues that matter to both beekeepers and producers.

What was a memorable experience you had or a hard-hitting challenge you overcame as a professional early in your career?

My most memorable experience as an early career professional so far is being able to guide graduate students and post-docs. Even though I was a postdoctoral fellow myself, I started “Postdoctoral Mentoring” at OSU to help graduate students navigate their PhDs. and also give post-docs a chance to mentor and give the best of themselves to students. I also launched an Immigration Awareness Event to help fellow OSU immigrants navigate the complex immigration paperwork, build a support network of immigrant students and post-docs, and to provide useful resources to those in need.

What advice would you give to other members of the ECP?

My suggestion would be to think in advance about the career path you would like to take. Establishing independently takes time and a fantastic mentor to guide you. Being aware of what is needed (e.g. for academia you need publications, grants, collaborations, etc.) is the important first step in achieving your desired career goals. Networking, relationship building, and pushing your intellectual boundaries will also help shape and refine yourself further. It’s never too late to learn. I am a lifelong learner and I also encourage you to keep learning new things and honing your skills.

Carly Tribull, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Biology at Farmingdale State College and 2020-2021 Chair of ESA’s Early Career Professionals Committee. E-mail: [email protected].

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