Amy Geffre, Doctoral Student

Amy Geffre received her B.S. in Biology from Iowa State University in 2011 and has worked with Toth lab for several years. She is a now doctoral student, studying social behavior in Polistes wasps and honey bees. Her initial work in Toth Lab, involving a Xenos/Polistes host-parasite association, sparked her interest in using parasites and pathogens (and molecular biology) to study complex social behavior in Polistes wasps and honey bees. Currently she relishes every day she can find a previously-unseen parasite or parasitoid emerging from her wasp colonies, painstakingly teasing apart the sophisticated ways parasites and pathogens use their hosts to achieve their own ends and delving into the wide, wonderful world of wasps.

Amy’s Artwork   

Ashley St. Clair, Doctoral Student

Ashley is a graduate student in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology program at Iowa State University. She received her Bachelors degree in Biology at Murray State University in Murray, KY in 2012 where she had the opportunity to assist in many different areas of research. Some of Ashley’s previous research has included studies of freshwater invertebrate diversity of streams post wildfires in Alaska, herpetofauna diversity of patch-burn areas of the Land between the Lakes Recreation Area in Kentucky, and assisting in an ongoing termite health study in the Virgin Islands. Her research at ISU focuses on honey bee and native pollinator communities and their interactions with soybean crops in Iowa.

Amy Toth, Principal Investigator

Amy is an Assistant Professor in two departments at Iowa State University: Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology and Entomology.  She teaches courses in animal behavior and conducts research on the mechanisms and evolution of social behavior in insects, with a focus on bees and wasps.  Amy received her PhD at the University of Illinois and did postdoctoral work at Pennsylvania State University.  Outside of work, she enjoys trail running and spending time with her husband Fernando and two boys, Felix and Leo.  CV  Google Scholar Page

Daniel Standage, Doctoral Student

Daniel is a co-advised graduate student in the Bioinformatics and Computational program at Iowa State University, and is based in Volker Brendel’s lab at Indiana University . He received his B.S. from Brigham Young University in bioinformatics, with minors in computer science and mathematics. His research interests include a variety of topics in genome informatics, with a particular focus on genome annotation. He is currently developing methods for comparison of genome annotations and improving locus-resolution annotation using massively comparative approaches.




Adam Dolezal, Postdoctoral Research Associate

Adam received his PhD from Arizona State University in 2012, where he studied the physiological underpinnings of division of labor in harvester ants. Since then, his work has focused on how different environmental stressors, like nutrition, pathogens, and environmental chemicals, affect honey bee health. He is particularly interested in how nutritional stress, caused by decreased floral diversity in agricultural landscapes, interact with pathogens to affect bee health.  CV

Jenny Jandt, Postdoctoral Research Associate

Jenny received her Bachelor's & Master's degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and her PhD from the University of Arizona. She is broadly interested in the evolution of social behavior, and studies social insects as a model system. Her previous work has focused on spatial and temporal organization in bumble bee colonies, the role of within-colony variation, and more recently, foraging ecology in tropical ants and behavioral syndromes in social insects. She is currently studying the queen's role in caste determination in Polistes wasps.  Jenny’s website

Amber Haritos, McNair Scholar

My name is Amber Elese Haritos and I am currently a junior at Iowa State University double majoring in Public Service and Administration in Agriculture and Animal Ecology with an option in Pre-Veterinary Medicine and Wildlife Care. My future career goals entail opening up a non-profit rehabilitation center for wildlife and traveling to exotic areas of the globe to conduct research studying animal behavior. I have high hopes that my love and passion for animals and science will take me far in life!

Kate Hunter, Research Technician

Kate Hunter completed her BS in Biology from Iowa State in 2015.  She did her honor’s thesis project in the Toth lab on vibrational signaling behavior in Polistes wasps and has been working in the Toth lab since 2014.  She is interested in animal behavior and host-parasite interactions and is now conducting research on vibrational communication in honey bees and pollinator health.

Lab gathering: April 2015

Ge Zhang, Doctoral Student

Ge Zhang has degrees in Animal Science (BS) and Animal Nutrition and Feed Science (MS) from Shandong Agricultural University in China.  He has 5 years of previous experience studying honey bees and has a strong interest in honey bee nutrition.  He is currently a PhD student in the Entomology Program at Iowa State University where he is co-advised by Matt O’Neal.  Ge says “In love with bees for 5 years and also in the study on my lover for 5 years. Five more years loving and studying bees!”

Alex Walton, Doctoral Student

Alex is a graduate student in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology program.  He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, where he studied division of labor in ants and bumble bees.  He spent a year working for the USDA-ARS at the Carl Hayden Bee Research Center.  His research interests include communication and organization in complex systems, and the evolution of eusocial insect societies.  


Zoe Pritchard, Undergrad Research Assistant

Lab gathering: August 2015

Arvin Foell, Beekeeper

Arvin has kept honeybees for 35 years.  He is actively involved in the Iowa Honey Producers Association and is the President of the Central Iowa Beekeepers’ Association.  He has given talks on honeybees to school children as well as at The Iowa State Fair.  While attending ISU, he first got interested in honeybees by taking a course in beekeeping.  Currently he is trying to develop a hybrid honeybee that will tolerate mites and overwinter, as well as produce lots of honey.  He has also had scientific training as a work-study student in Plant Pathology at ISU.

FORMER LAB MEMBERS: Where are they now?

Susan Weiner, Assistant Professor at Roosevelt University

Ali Berens, Postdoctoral researcher at Georgia Institute of Technology

Jimena Carrillo-Tripp, Research Scientist at Pioneer

Jon Jackson, Graduate Student, Arizona State University

Megan Harrison, Research Associate at ISU

Giselle Narvaez, Graduate Student, ISU

Jon Temple, Science teacher at Vinton-Shellsburg High School

Ron Schuck, Science teacher at Ames High School

Vera Zhao, Amherst College undergraduate

Nicole Scavo, Peace Corps

Nicole Schubert, ISU Undergraduate Student

Corey Lange, Graduate Student at Texas A&M, Kingsville

Cecile Mercado, Veterinary Student, Western University

Srihari Radhakrishnan, Graduate Student at ISU

Ruolin Liu, Graduate Student at ISU

Carlos Vega, Graduate Student at U of North Carolina, Greensboro

Vicky Pohlen, ISU Undergraduate Student

Griffin Smith, Intern at Consensus Building Institute

Mara Cuebas, Graduate Student, University of Puerto Rico

Jessica Thomson, Graduate student, Kansas State University

Erin McCall, Undergrad Research Assistant

Zoe is an undergraduate studying biology at Iowa State University. In the Toth lab, she particularly likes capturing and identifying native bee species. She enjoys running, hiking, and reading in her spare time.

My name is Erin McCall, and I'm an undergraduate junior in Biology. I've helped with various bee and wasp behavior projects through out the Toth lab. Including observations with paper wasp facial recognition and dominance, and honeybee foraging.  Currently I'm interested in a range of social insect behavior and am looking to narrow down a project for this coming year.