Christoph Kurze

Christoph Kurze is PhD student in the globally recognized honeybee research group of Prof. Robin F.A. Moritz at the Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg (Germany) since November 2012. Even though he maintains a broad interest in evolutionary ecology, he is particularly fascinated by the interaction and coevolution between parasites and their hosts. This fascination started with his BSc thesis under the supervision of Dr. Jeremy Sternberg and Prof. John R. Speakman at the University of Aberdeen (United Kingdom) in 2010. In this work he studied the consequences of African trypanosome infection, which is the agent of sleeping sickness in humans, and found that the infection caused an extreme loss of appetite (anorexia) resulting in a decrease bodyweight (cachexia) in mice. For his MSc degree in Biodiversity, Evolution and Ecology at Freie Universität Berlin (Germany) in 2010-2012, he continued studying host-parasite associations in the group of Dr. Marion L. East and Prof. Heribert Hofer at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin. There he found that age might be associated with immunity towards tapeworm infections in free-ranging Serengeti spotted hyenas. Moreover, juveniles were more infected when many hyenas visited the dens, but less infected when they were least well fed. Now in his PhD he studies how the fugal parasite Nosema ceranae might manipulate susceptible honeybee hosts and how resistant mechanisms of the honeybee might have evolved to escape parasitic manipulation. He uses an integrative approach, which includes the fields of genetics, histology, behavior and physiology, to gain insights into the mechanisms underpinning interactions between Nosema and the honeybee host. In the future he will continue working with Nosema for his PhD and hopes to get a research fellowship afterwards that would allow him to continue studying thrilling host-parasite interactions in a more natural setting.

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Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees
Nola Salisbury, Executive Director
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