Beekeeping in the Tallinn city on the roof of the building. Credit: Tallinn University

 

 

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

We are happy to share the keynote speakers of the EurBee 10 Congress. The list will be updated continuously. 

 

Tia-Lynn Ashman

Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh PA. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of California at San Diego, and PhD from the University of California at Davis, and was Postdoctoral Scholar at McGill University.

Her work focuses on the plant-pollinator interaction in native habitats and explores how other biotic associates (floral microbes and pollen viruses) impact and/or benefit from the association, and how it contributes to biodiversity maintenance. Her work mines the interrelationship between ecology and evolution and spans scales of single interacting populations to diffuse interactions within whole communities.

Dr. Ashman has published 203 publications and has an H index of 66. She is the recipient of a Humboldt Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the Distinguished Naturalist Award from American Society of Naturalists, Helmholtz International Fellow Award and a Provost’s Award for Excellence in Doctoral Mentoring from University of Pittsburgh. She has served on the Editorial boards of several prominent journals including The American Naturalist, Ecology, and New Phytologist, as well as on councils of American Society of Naturalists, and Society for the Study of Evolution.  She is deeply committed to outreach and expanding diversity within science.

 

 

 

 

 

Dalial Freitak

Dalial Freitak is an insect physiologist focusing on social insect immunity and behaviour. Specializing in understanding how insect immunity functions on the molecular level, but also how interactions between the hosts and parasites take place, her work has brought a groundbreaking new understanding to the field of immune priming in insects. The discovery has paved the way to revolutionize the animal health sector worldwide and to the development of the first vaccination for honeybees.

In addition to her academic career, Dalial Freitak is a founder, co-owner and scientific leader in the start-up company Dalan Animal Health., Inc. The company has won several prizes, including the Times magazine Top 200 mention for 2023 and has brought to the North American market the first vaccine against American Foulbrood in honeybees.

Originally from Estonia, Dalial Freitak graduated with a Master's degree in Animal Ecology from University in Tartu. She obtained her PhD working at the Max-Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena Germany. After that, she has been working in the University of Giessen, Germany and the Universities of Helsinki and Jyväskylä in Finland.

Currently, Dalial Freitak’s research focuses on trans-generational immune mechanisms in honeybees and self-medication behaviour in ants. She works at Karl Franzen University of Graz with different honey bee pathogens, such as American and European Foulbrood, as well as chalkbrood. Her main ambition is to understand how insects adapt to the stressors in the environment and how to develop applications to safeguard insect health. 

The title of her talk will be: “Honeybee vaccination – a new frontier in animal health sector”.

 

 

 

 

Olli Loukola

Olli Loukola is a behavioural ecologist deeply fascinated by animal intelligence and social learning. Specialising in bumblebee cognition, his recent work challenges the conventional belief that insects have only basic learning abilities. Instead, he has uncovered evidence of complex cognition in bumblebees, showcasing their ability to adapt and innovate in response to new challenges.

Collaborating with a dedicated team, Olli Loukola explores various aspects of bumblebee cognition, from spontaneous learning to complex cooperation. Their findings highlight the impressive cognitive potential of bumblebees, showcasing their capacity to innovate in the face of new challenges.

With a PhD from the University of Oulu, focusing on social information use in passerine birds, his academic journey continues at the University of Oulu. He has also conducted research at Queen Mary University of London.

Currently, Olli Loukola's research centres on the buff-tailed bumblebee (Bombus terrestris), aiming to unravel the intricacies of their cognitive processes. Through interdisciplinary approaches, he aims to deepen our understanding of animal cognition and its ecological and evolutionary implications.

The title of his talk will be “Complex Cognition of Bumblebees: Spontaneous Learning to Cooperation”.

 

 

 

 

Stefan Mandl

Stefan Mandl is the founder of the company “Bienenhof Mandl”, which is located in Traiskirchen near Vienna. The 40 employees are caring for 15.000 bee colonies all over Vienna and Lower Austria.

It started 27 years ago with one colony of bees and little knowledge, since then we have been able to at least increase the number of colonies. We have succeeded in setting up an organically run beekeeping operation that is able to ensure widespread pollination. There is close cooperation with farmers whose crops require insect pollination, e.g. B. rapeseed, sunflower, oil pumpkin or seed propagation.

During the season, our bees pollinate around four billion flowers a day which has a significant positive impact on our ecosystem. We produce honey, bee pollen, propolis, beeswax and most importantly queens and bee colonies for sale. Recently, we added breeding bumble bee colonies to our list, to give them to interested garden owners. With this comprehensive range of products, it is possible to offer around 40 families a secure livelihood, to help Austrian beekeepers with bee colonies after lossy winters and to ensure nationwide pollination. We select our honey bees for Varroa tolerance to make them more resistant to this parasite and to offer a solution to the mass colony losses caused by the mite.

 

 

 

 

 

Pilar De la Rúa

Pilar De la Rúa is a Professor of Zoology at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Murcia (Spain). Her main interest is to understand how different factors influence the conservation of pollinators biodiversity, with a special interest in honey bees and bumblebees. She is particularly interested in how the development of certain beekeeping activities (introduction of subspecies, transhumance, etc.) affects the genetic diversity and health of the honey bee. In recent years, she has also conducted research in the field of parasitology and landscape ecotoxicology to understand how different bee species are exposed to and affected by the spread of pathogens and the use of pesticides in the landscape.

She was the first woman president of the European Association of Apidology (2012-2014) and the main organiser of the EURBEE6 congress held in Murcia in September 2014. Since 2021 she has been Director of the Office for the Transfer of Research Results at the University of Murcia.

Profiles:

https://scholar.google.es/citations?user=zi3Cb8gAAAAJ&hl=es

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0058-1402

https://www.scopus.com/authid/detail.uri?authorId=6602231607

https://www.webofscience.com/wos/author/record/A-4578-2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simone Tosi

Simone Tosi is a biologist interested in the health and behaviour of social and solitary bees. Investigating the multifaceted impacts of anthropic and environmental drivers, his team integrates traditional and novel laboratory, field, and in silico approaches using bees as model organisms.

He explores how multiple drivers, mainly pesticides and malnutrition, shape bee behaviours such as flight, navigation, locomotion, thermoregulation, reproduction, and phototaxis. Through biomonitoring surveys using bees, bioindicators of environmental health, Simone’s team and collaborators further investigate environmental contamination and its impact on pollinators.

Simone’s work further aims at refining Environmental Risk Assessments to better assist our society protect bees and the environment. Towards this goal, he has served as scientist expert for the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and other EU institutions.

His academic journey has led him to study bees in South Africa (University of Pretoria), USA (University of California San Diego), and France (ANSES Animal Health Laboratory). As Associate Professor at the University of Turin (Italy), he now coordinates the Bee Health and Behaviour Laboratory (www.beelab.unito.it) and teaches “Beekeeping”, “Biodiversity and management of pollinators”, and “Biomonitoring and biodiversity management”.