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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Research Staff


Dr. Robert G. Danka is the Research Leader and a Research Entomologist.  His primary interests are honey bee behavior and pollination.  He has led studies on behavior and management of Africanized honey bees, honey bee behavior related to crop pollination, and genetic resistance of honey bees to tracheal and varroa mites.  Current efforts are aimed at increasing our understanding of resistant honey bees, and fostering adoption of resistant honey bees by beekeepers.  

Phone (225) 767-9294. E-mail:


Dr. Katherine A. Aronstein is a Research Molecular Biologist. She has studied immunity of honey bees.  She was involved in the honey bee genome sequencing project to identify immunity-related genes, and was the primary researcher that sequenced the genomes of the pathogens that cause chalkbrood disease and American Foulbrood.  Her current research is aimed at finding and selecting specific traits of honey bee larvae associated with resistance to pathogens.


Phone (225) 767-9284.  E-mail:

 Dr. Lanie Bilodeau

Dr. A. Lelania Bourgeois is a Research Molecular Biologist. Her primary interests are pathogen detection and gene identification for disease resistance.  She has developed genetic detection assays for Nosema ceranae and Nosema apis, markers for stock identification of Russian honey bees and identified genetically-based resistance to Nosema spp.  She is currently examining and identifying genes associated with sub-family-based resistance to Nosema spp.

Phone (225) 767-9288. E-mail:

 Dr. Lilia De Guzman

Dr. Lilia I. de Guzman is a Research Entomologist. She has studied varroa and tracheal mite resistance of Yugoslavian and Russian bees.  Her current focus is grooming behavior by Russian honey bees against varroa mites, and finding methods that reduce the impact of small hive beetles in honey bee colonies.

Phone (225) 767-9282. E-mail:

     Michael Simone-Finstrom   


Dr. Michael Simone-Finstromis a Research Molecular Biologist. His research has focused on individual and social mechanisms of disease resistance, including resin/propolis use, hygienic behavior and genetic diversity. His current work aims to add to this line of research by more fully understanding how these traits work in concert in order to promote them within the beekeeping industry and identify components of viral resistance in honey bees.


Phone (225) 767-9293.  E-mail:



Dr. Frank D. Rinkevich is a Research Entomologist. His training is in insect toxicology, molecular genetics, and neurophysiology. Frank's research interests include the chemical ecology of VSH behavior, identifying agents and digestive system target protein for selective control of small hive beetle, and evaluating the effects of irradiated comb on queen bee health and immune system expression. Other projects include understanding the genetic variation in Varroa mites and small hive beetle, and honey bee stocks, and determining the physiological difference in metabolic detoxification pathways across honey bee stocks.


Phone (225) 767-9293.  E-mail:

Technical Staff

Biological technicians at the laboratory assist in all aspects of conducting research. Work activities take place both in the field and in laboratory, and in many different places - in Baton Rouge, at other U.S. locations and in foreign countries.  The technical staff are:

Ms. Lorraine D. Beaman, genetic markers for disease resistant research.
Phone (225) 767-9295. E-mail:

Mr. Bob L. Cox, honey bee management research.
Phone (225) 767-9294. E-Mail:

Mr. Garrett Dodds, studies of varroa-resistant honey bees.
Phone (225) 767-9290.  E-mail:

Mr. David F. Dodge, studies of varroa-resistant honey bees.
Phone (225) 767-9283. E-mail:

Ms. Amanda M. Frake ("Mandy"), Russian honey bee research.
Phone (225) 767-9298.  E-mail:

Ms. Sharon L. O'Brien, Russian honey bee research.
Phone (225) 767-9280.  E-mail:

Mr. Victor P. Rainey, research on mite resistance.
Phone (225) 767-9284. E-mail:

Mr. Philip Tokarz, genetic markers for disease reistance research.
Phone (225) 767-9286. E-mail:

Mr. Joshua W. Wales ("Josh"), Russian honey bee research and stock management.
Phone (225) 767-9296.  E-mail:

Mr. Daniel D. Winfrey ("Dan"), studies of honey bees.
Phone (225) 767-9287. E-mail:

Ms. Sandra Hineman, ("Sandy"), Program Support Assistant and in-house administrative functions.
Phone (225) 767-9280.  E-mail:

Biological Aides contribute to achieving the research mission in a variety of ways - clerical, data entry, lab work and field crew.  They are:

   Joshua Broussard
Michael Carruth
   Joe Grinner
   Ryan Guedry  
   Jarmon King
   Mia L. Sanchas

   John West 

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Last Modified: 8/12/2016
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