Kayla Miller, Ph.D.

 (605) 995-2860

 Kayla.Miller@dwu.edu

Website

Education:

  • Ph.D., Microbial Ecology, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
  • B.S., Microbiology, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD

Position:

  • Assistant Professor, Biology
  • Dakota Wesleyan University

Current Research: 

The European honey bee (Apis mellifera) is a charismatic species that plays a critical role in the pollination of crops and native flora.  My research focuses on the host-associated honey bee microbiome which play critical roles in host health.  In other model systems, these communities are known to participate in a form of bacterial communication known as quorum sensing which allows a bacterial community to sense their environment and respond with changes in gene expression.  These changes in gene expression may in turn have an effect on the host.  Importantly, we know that honey bee associated microbes do not exist in isolation but form multi-species biofilms within the honey bee gut and co-occur across hive habitats.  Our preliminary studies suggest that these microbes interact with each other, promoting growth in vitro.  Therefore, if we are to understand the functions of the honey bee associated microbial community we will need to understand how these microbes interact with each other and with the host.  In the absence of this knowledge, efforts to manipulate or utilize the honey bee associated microbes to promote honey bee health will be limited in their efficacy.