University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW
Amanda Norton commenced her PhD in March 2017 at the University of Sydney (Behaviour and Genetics of Social Insects Laboratory) supervised by Professor Madeleine Beekman and Dr Emily Remnant. Her PhD project is supported by an ARC grant and will investigate the relationship between honey bee (Apis mellifera) RNA viruses and the ectoparasitic mite Varroa destructor. Global honey bee colony collapses associated with V. destructor infestations are thought to be attributed to RNA viral infections, particularly Deformed Wing Virus (DWV). As the name suggests, clinical symptoms of severe DWV infection include atrophied wings, in addition to altered behaviour and increased mortality. Australia is the only major beekeeping country to be free of both V. destructor and DWV. The overall aim of Amanda’s project is to uncover what effect vector transmission has on viral virulence and resistance mechanisms in honey bees.
Amanda’s background is in chemical ecology. She undertook her Bachelor of Science (Chemistry and Biotechnology) at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC), Queensland. As an undergraduate, she worked with Dr Peter Brooks in developing a novel method to determine the activity of Australian Leptospermum nectar. For her Honours research, Amanda investigated the chemical properties and repellent effects of Corymbia torelliana (Cadaghi) resin on honey bee pests (small hive beetle; Aethina tumida) and parasites (V. destructor), under the supervision of Professor Helen Wallace (USC), Dr Peter Brooks (USC) and Dr Sara Leonhardt (University of Würzburg).