I am a second year PhD student at the University of Western Australia. My research investigates the parts of bee venom which can be used to treat disease, with a specific target in mind. I recently visited Trinity College Dublin, to conduct a collaboration with Professor Jane Stout and her group.
Most of my research to date has been conducted with venom from Perth honeybees, which are some of the healthiest bees in the world due to their isolation. I ran a pilot test using bee venom from a different species, and it showed exciting results. Therefore, I am interested in seeing whether there is a large difference in the venom from many other bee species compared to Perth bee venom.
Through my collaboration, I had the honour of meeting numerous researchers and bee keepers at different sites, including farms, the Pearse Museum, and the rooftop of the Engineering Building at Trinity. It was very exciting to see bumblebees for the first time, as we do not have them in Western Australia. I collected the venom from numerous species, including the black Irish honeybee and Buff-tailed bumblebee.
My samples will be shipped across the world back to Western Australia using dry ice and specialised equipment. I will assess the effect of the different bee venoms on diseased cells, with the goal of further understanding whether the venom from one species is better than others in treating disease.
My research is conducted at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research (www.perkins.org.au), the Centre for Integrative Bee Research (www.ciber.science.uwa.edu.au), and the University of Western Australia (www.uwa.edu.au).
Ciara Duffy (@CiaraDuffy__) is a PhD student at the University Western Australia. Ciara is conducting research on different species of bee venom. This research was supported by a Graduate Research School Travel Award from UWA, and the Cancer Council of Western Australia.