Affiliated Faculty & Partners

Michelle Flenniken

Assistant Professor

Department: Plant Sciences & Plant Pathology

University System: Montana State University - Bozeman


Professional Summary:

Research in the Flenniken Lab is aimed at elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying host-pathogen interactions in agriculturally important systems; including honey bees (Apis mellifera). Projects in the lab focus on three principal aspects of honey bee biology: (1) determining the mechanisms and contributions of RNA-triggered pathways in honey bee antiviral defense, (2) honey bee pathogen monitoring, detection, and discovery with an emphasis on candidate etiologic agents of Colony Collapse Disorder, and (3) investigating the pathogenesis of the recently discovered Lake Sinai viruses. Honey bees are an excellent model in which to investigate immune mechanisms at both the individual bee and entire colony level.

Research focused on host-pathogen interactions (virology, microbiology, immunology) and teaching. Mentoring undergraduate and graduate students in the laboratory.

B.S. Biology, Chemistry Minor, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, 1998
Ph.D. Microbiology, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT, 2006
Postdoctoral Fellow, Microbiology and Immunology, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, 2007-2012

Seminars to beekeepers and other audiences on the importance of honey bee pollinators for global food production, Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), and honey bee host-pathogen interactions.
Field trips to the bee-yard to see honey bees in action and discuss honey bee colony dynamics from the colony level to their individual microbial (both pathogens and commensals) flora.

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