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Neuroscience PhD at Wake Forest University at Wake Forest University

Wake Forest University Graduate School » Neuroscience PhD at Wake Forest University

Susan Fahrbach

Susan Fahrbach
Honey bee Kenyon cell growing in primary culture
I am generally interested in the evolution and development of the arthropod brain, adult brain plasticity in the social Hymenoptera, and the functional consequences of adult brain plasticity. I have a special interest in steroid hormones as regulators of neuronal gene expression and cytoarchitecture. The major model currently in use in my laboratory is the honey bee (Apis mellifera). Frequently used techniques are the Golgi method, primary neuron culture, qRT-PCR, in situ hybridization, and studies of foraging under natural conditions.


Major honey bee projects in the Fahrbach laboratory during 2011 are: 1. Tests of the hypothesis that the growth -promoting effects of ecdysteroids on primary cultures of Kenyon cells are mediated by EcR. 2. In vivo studies of the growth promoting effects of ecdysteroids. 3. Identification and functional characterization of the isoforms of EcR in the honey bee. 4. Development of enzyme-based methods for measuring ecdysteroids in honey bee hemolymph. Research in the Fahrbach Laboratory is currently supported by an award from the National Science Foundation  (IOS 0949728,  Role of Nuclear Receptors in Neural Plasticity).


Dobrin, S.E., Herlihy, J.D., Robinson, G.E., and Fahrbach, S.E. 2011. Muscarinic regulation of Kenyon cell dendritic arborizations in adult worker honey bees. Arthropod Structure and Development, in press. Fahrbach, S.E. 2010. Experimental Approaches to Hormones and Behavior: Invertebrates. In: Breed, M.D. and Moore, J. (eds.) Encyclopedia of Animal Behavior, volume 1, pp. 686-692. Oxford: Academic Press. Ward, K.N., Coleman, J.L., Clinnin, K., Fahrbach, S., and Rueppell, O. 2008. Age, caste, and behavior determine the replicative activity of intestinal stem cells in honeybees (Apis mellifera L.). Experimental Gerontology 43: 530-537. Ismail, N., Christine, S., Robinson, G.E., and Fahrbach, S.E. 2008. Pilocarpine improves recognition of nestmates in young honey bees. Neuroscience Letters 439: 178-181. Fahrbach, S.E. and Dobrin, S. 2008. The how and why of structural plasticity in the honey bee brain, In: Cognitive Ecology II, edited by Reuven Dukas and John Ratcliffe. University of Chicago Press, in press Himes, K.E., Klukas, K.A., Fahrbach, S.E., and Mesce, K.A. 2008. Hormone-dependent expression of fasciclin II during ganglionic migration and fusion in the ventral nerve cord of the moth, Manduca sexta. Journal of Comparative Neurology 509: 319-339. Velarde, R.A., Robinson, G.E., and Fahrbach, S.E. (2006) Nuclear receptors of the honey bee: annotation and expression in the adult brain. Insect Molecular Biology 15:585-595. The Honeybee Genome Sequencing Consortium et al. (2006) Insights into social insects from the genome of the honeybee Apis mellifera. Nature 443:931-949. Fahrbach, S.E. 2006. Structure of the mushroom bodies of the insect brain. Annual Review of Entomology 51:209-232. Ismail, N., Robinson, G.E., Fahrbach, S.E. 2006. Stimulation of muscarinic receptors mimics experience-dependent plasticity in the honey bee brain. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 103:207-211 . Velarde, R.A., Sauer, C.D., Walden, K.K.O., Fahrbach, S.E., and Robertson, H.M. 2005. Pteropsin: A vertebrate-like non-visual opsin expressed in the honey bee brain. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 35:1367-1377. Fahrbach, S.E. and Mesce, K.A. 2005. “Neuroethoendocrinology”: integration of field and laboratory studies in insect neuroendocrinology. Hormones and Behavior 48:352-359. Fahrbach, S. E. 2004. A neuroscientist thinks about menopause (If her hormones are willing). Cerebrum, Winter 2004, pp. 35-50. Fahrbach, S.E. 2004. What arthropod brains say about arthropod phylogeny. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA 101:3723-3724. Fahrbach, S.E. 2003. A taste for learning? Journal of Comparative Neurology 465:164-167. Sullivan, J.P. Fahrbach, S.E., Harrison, J.F., Capaldi, E.A., Fewell, J.H., and Robinson, G.E. 2003. Juvenile hormone and division of labor in the honey bee: Effects of allatectomy on flight behavior and metabolism. Journal of Experimental Biology 206:2287-2296. Fahrbach, S.E., Farris, S.M., Sullivan, J.P., and Robinson, G.E. 2003. Limits on volume changes in the mushroom bodies of the honey bee brain. Journal of Neurobiology 57:141-151. Bloch, G., Solomon, S.M., Robinson, G.E., and Fahrbach, S.E. 2003. Identification of neurons with potential importance for socially-mediated chronobiological plasticity in the honey bee: immunostaining with antibodies against the PERIOD protein and pigment-dispersing hormone. Journal of Comparative Neurology 464:269-284. Wang C.M., Chen C.L., Robertson H.M., and Fahrbach S.E. 2003. A new member of the GM130 golgin subfamily is expressed in the optic lobe anlagen of the metamorphosing brain of Manduca sexta. Journal of Insect Science 3:35, Available online: