Dr. Juliana Rangel
Heep Center, Room 315
Department of Entomology
Office: (979) 845-1074, Campus Research Lab: (979) 845-1079
Honey Bee Research Facility-Riverside Campus (979) 862-3074
Title: Assistant Professor of Apiculture
Department of Entomology – Texas A&M University
North Carolina State University–Raleigh, NC.
National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Biology.
Department of Entomology, January 2010-December 2012.
Cornell University–Ithaca, NY.
National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and SUNY Graduate Research Fellow.
Doctor of Philosophy in Neurobiology and Behavior, January 2010.
University of California San Diego (UCSD)–San Diego, CA.
Bachelor of Science in Ecology, Behavior and Evolution, cum laude, March 2004.
San Diego Mesa College (SDMC)–San Diego, CA.
Associate’s Degree in Transfer Studies, May 2001.
Statement on Teaching, Research and Other Scholarly, Creative Activities and Service
My teaching philosophy centers around three main goals: (1) to promote critical thinking in students at all levels of expertise in several areas including honey bee biology, entomology, ecology, molecular biology, toxicology, and apiculture, (2) to deliver key concepts in innovative and interactive ways, and (3) to encourage student high-impact student learning by conducting activities that enable them to explain, generalize, and synthesize concepts learned in classroom or laboratory activities. Based on personal experience, this teaching paradigm allows students to develop the skills needed to independently apply scientific reasoning and critical thinking, not only to the concepts learned in class, but also to situations in everyday life. While accomplishing these goals may be challenging, I like to use in class stimulating and though-provoking studies to capture the attention of students during lecture. I like to foster a classroom environment in which students feel comfortable sharing their thought with their peers and approaching me with questions, comments, or suggestions. I encourage students to answer questions using concepts learned in previous lectures by dividing them into small study groups. I use various examination criteria to track student progress (e.g. open-question, or multiple-choice exams, take-home homework, etc.) depending on the course size, degree of difficulty, and classroom setting.
To fulfill my teaching load, I teach a total of three fixed credit courses. ENTO 320 “Honey Bee Biology” (3 credits) and ENTO 389 Special Topics in Entomology “Beekeeping and Honey Bee Management” (to be re-named ENTO 321 Introduction to Beekeeping in Spring 2018; 1 credit) are undergraduate-level courses offered every spring semester. ENTO 689 “Special Topics in: Professional Grant and Contract Writing” is a grant-writing course offered every fall semester to graduate students.
Overall, student perception of my teaching style and abilities has been positive, with the evaluation scores for all classes taught from 2014 to 2016 being close to, or higher than the overall departmental average (see Figure 1 in my curriculum vita). Because I strive to become a better teacher each semester, I requested twice that my Honey Bee Biology course was visited and evaluated by professionals at the Texas A&M University’s Center for Teaching Excellence, once in 2014 and again in late 2016. I received mostly positive feedback from these professional assessments of my teaching style and course content (see Teaching Assessments in my dossier documents). Furthermore, as required by the university, I recently participated in a thorough evaluation by the Department of Entomology’s education committee. For this evaluation, each committee member received 29 documents related to my teaching portfolio including syllabi, student activity reports, videos, testing documents, and other deliverables that students have produced in class. The response from the education committee was incredibly positive and encouraging. I continue improve my student evaluation scores for all courses by participating in teaching workshops through the university’s Center for Teaching Excellence.
I have mentored 14 undergraduate students, all of whom have completed credits for ENTO 491 “Undergraduate Research” under my supervision. I make strong efforts to recruit students for TAMU’s Scholars Program and NSF’s Research Experience For Undergraduates. Furthermore, I am the committee chairperson for four graduate students, who have together completed over 106 credits for ENTO 691 “Graduate Research” under my supervision. Two of my graduate students belong to highly underrepresented minority groups in STEM. I have a unique passion for the recruitment, mentorship, funding and retention of students that belong to highly underrepresented and diverse minority groups.
Creating a solid group of scientists with a common interest (i.e., honey bees) encourages lively discussions and collaborations among laboratory members. By working as a team and holding weekly laboratory meetings, we all bring forth our strengths and knowledge, and students are able to learn from each other different techniques and concepts needed to carry out their research projects. Every undergraduate student is expected to carry out a small research project to be completed within a specific time frame (e.g., one semester, one summer), and should present their findings as a poster or an oral talk at a student symposium or professional meeting. Graduate students and (future) post-docs will be expected to publish their results in peer-reviewed journals and to present posters and talks at professional and beekeeper meetings.
Impact of my Teaching: I have developed novel approaches to teaching over the last four years. For example, in the Honey Bee Biology course, students work in groups throughout the semester to create 3-6 minute Youtube videos about their favorite topic in the course to present it in class. They also have multiple chances to attend beekeeping association meetings and bee schools to have hands-on experiences in apiculture and beekeeping. Furthermore, in 2015 I received a TAMU Neuhaus-Shepardson Faculty Development grant to travel to the Caribbean island of Dominica to observe the study abroad program in tropical biology that our department offers each summer. I was the entomology faculty member for that course in 2016.
My program revolves around conducting innovative and applicable research projects on the biology and health of the honey bee, Apis mellifera. In my laboratory I use a combination of field and laboratory approaches to answer our research questions, and to produce results that are not only scientifically elegant and novel, but also applicable in apiculture. I work closely and collaboratively with colleagues at TAMU and at research centers throughout Texas to develop a world-class program in apiculture embodying scholarship, student training, and professional service. Currently, my major research goals are: [A] To explore the reproductive biology of honey bee queens and drones, and in particular, to examine the biological and environmental factors that affect fertility, and how reproductive quality affects colony-wide fitness. [B] To understand the mechanisms and causes of queen supersedure in honey bees—the process via which a queen that has grown old or weak is replaced by a queen is that is younger and more vigorous—and whether the event can be prevented, when appropriate. [C] To study the biology of feral Africanized honey bees in Texas, Pennsylvania and other US regions, in particular the fitness advantages of living in unmanaged, less dense populations. [D] To examine novel Integrated Pest Management techniques for the control of the ectoparasitic mite Varroa destructor in Texas apiaries, including biocontrol agents. [E] To examine the floral sources collected by honey bees in urban areas in four regions of the United States (FL, MI, CA, and TX). [F] To determine the synergistic effects of fungicides and insecticides used in almond orchards during bloom on honey bee forager and drone health. [G] To explore a potential genetic “fingerprint” of reproductive quality in honey bee queens and drones of different strains, or those that develop in beeswax contaminated with field relevant concentrations of agrochemicals. [H] To explore the health and genetic structure of honey bees on the island of Dominica.
In four years as Assistant Professor of Apiculture at Texas A&M University, I have procured over $ 1,210,000 in extramural funding to support my research program. As a testament to my dedication, after only one submission attempt, in 2015 I received a 3-year USDA-NIFA grant to look at the effects of agricultural pesticides on honey bee fertility. I was also awarded a 3-year grant from Bayer Crop Science to identify the floral sources foraged by honey bees in four different urban locations in the US. I also received a 3-year grant from USDA-APHIS and the Bee Informed Partnership to create and lead the Texas A&M University’s Tech Transfer Team, which collects and analyzes data regarding the levels of pests and pathogens of commercial honey bee colonies that are owned by Texas beekeepers. I recently wrote and was awarded a grant with the Texas Beekeepers Association for over $150,000 from the Texas Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crops Program to increase the marketability of Real Texas Honey, which will take effect in February 2017.
I have initiated various collaborations with faculty within and outside the Department of Entomology to obtain preliminary data that will be used to apply for federal, regional, state, and university funding to support our research projects. In particular, I have applied for I have been able to target funding programs at the university, state, national and federal level. Through my collaborative and diverse funding-seeking strategies, I have attracted and recruited top graduate students, and produced preliminary and novel data involving honey bees, which has placed my program as one of the top honey bee research groups in the nation. Our research is published in top peer-reviewed journals and trade magazines, and is presented at local, national, and international scientific meetings and beekeeper association events in the US.
Impact of my Research: I have been main author or co-author of 21 peer-reviewed articles in journals that are widely read in my fields of study. The quality of my research has been validated by publishing articles in peer-reviewed journals that are highly read and cited in my field. My staff has presented over 55 abstracts from our research at meetings. My research program has broken new ground in learning that fungicides affect honey bee forager survival, a study that received nationwide attention because almond orchards are treated for pests and pathogens during bloom. TAMU recently applauded the quality of my research, as I was the 2016 recipient of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (COALS) Dean’s Outstanding Achievement Award in Early Career Research. Overall, I provide research leadership in apiculture nationwide and serve as the discipline expert in Texas regarding all aspects of apiculture.
As a junior faculty member in STEM that is both female and Hispanic, I provide a unique set of skills and life experiences that are very useful in service. I exhibit collegiality with faculty colleagues, staff, students, professional organizations, beekeeper associations, and clientele groups. Although my position’s expected load in service activities is not as high as those in teaching and research, I am committed in serving my peers and the beekeeping community as my time allows, often devoting my free time to fulfilling service commitments. I find great joy in service because I see it as an important component in my professional development, and as a way to “give back” to the organizations and individuals that have helped me grow professionally and personally.
I write a column on every issue of the Texas Beekeepers Association Journal and speak at several state and national beekeepers association meetings throughout the year. For almost three years I was on the Board of Directors of the Texas Master Beekeepers Program, and along with my staff I helped prepare educational and testing material, as well as instruct and proctor exams for the program. I communicate with the media regarding honey bees and their importance to our agricultural crops and society on a constant basis and answer correspondence regarding honey bees and beekeeping questions. I also launched “Aggie Honey” in Fall 2013 as a means to raise funds to help offset costs of graduate student stipends during summer, and by doing so, I have increased the visibility of our research programs and honey bees and raise funds to offset summer salary costs for staff. Furthermore, I serve the scientific community and Texas A&M University by reviewing multiple scientific manuscripts, as well as fellowship and grant proposals from various universities as well as regional and national programs.
Impact of my Service: I am highly committed to serving my department, university, profession, and the beekeeping community. I have served my department as elected member of the Faculty Advisory committee, member of the Capital Gains committee, member of the Graduate Recruitment committee, co-chair of the Graduate Student Forum, and co-advisor of the Undergraduate Entomology Student Organization. I have served my university as a member of the Search Advisory Committee for Vice Chancellor and Dean for the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and the COALS Honors and Undergraduate Research Advisory Committee.
I have served my profession by reviewing 37 journal manuscripts, 77 grant applications, book chapters and beekeeping manuals. I am an associate editor for the Journal of Apicultural Research. I was the 2014-2015 President of the American Association of Professional Apiculturists, and in late 2015 I was elected the 2-year Chair of the Multi-State Research Project NC1173 “Sustainable Solutions to Problems Affecting Bee Health.” The NC1173 is part of the Hatch Multistate Research Fund (MRF) provided by the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA). I am a member of the Entomological Society of America (ESA) and I am also very active within the society, co-organizing symposia for every national and Southwestern Branch meeting since 2011. I was on the 2016 panel for the USDA-NIFA’s New Frontiers in Pollinator Research grant cycle, and have served twice on the panel for the USDA’s Pre- and Post-doctoral Research Fellowship. I am the elected chairperson of the newly formed committee on Diversity and Inclusion of the Entomological Society of America (ESA), have organized eight scientific symposia for the regional and national ESA meetings, and have been coach of the undergraduate and graduate teams of the Linnaean Games of the Entomological Society of America (ESA) since 2013.
Rangel J, Giresi M, Pinto MA, Baum KA, Rubink WL, Coulson RN, Johnston JS (2016) Africanization of a feral honey bee (Apis mellifera) population in South Texas: Does a decade make a difference? Ecology and Evolution. DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1974.
Rangel J, Baum K, Rubink WL, Coulson, RN, Johnston JS, Traver BE (2015) Prevalence of Nosema species in a feral honey bee population: A 20-year survey. Apidologie. DOI: 10.1007/s13592-015-0401-y.
Ma R, Rangel J, Ulrich M (2015) The role of β-ocimene in regulating foraging behavior of the honey bee, Apis mellifera. Apidologie. DOI: 10.1007/s13592-015-0382-x.
Rangel J, Strauss K, Hjelmen CE, Johnston JS (2015) Endopolyploidy changes with age-related polyethism in the honey bee, Apis mellifera. PLoS ONE. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0122208.
Rangel J, Tarpy DR (2013) The effects of miticides on the mating health of honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) queens. Journal of Economic Entomology. In revision.
Rangel J, Reeve HK, Seeley TD (2013) Optimal colony fissioning in social insects: testing an inclusive fitness model with honey bees. Insectes Sociaux. In revision.
Rangel J, Traver BE, Stevens G, Howe M, Fell RD (2013) Survey for Nosema spp. in Belize Apiaries. Journal of Apicultural Research. In press.
Rangel J, Keller JJ, Tarpy DR (2012) The effects of honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) queen reproductive potential on colony growth. Insectes Sociaux. 60: 65-73.
Rangel J, Seeley TD (2012) Colony fissioning in honey bees: size and significance of the swarm fraction. Insectes Sociaux. 59: 453-462.
Rangel J, Griffin SR, Seeley TD (2010) An oligarchy of nest-site scouts triggers a honey bee swarm’s departure from the hive. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 64: 979-987.
Rangel J, Griffin SR, Seeley TD (2010) Nest-site defense by competing honey bee swarms during house-hunting. Ethology. 115: 1-11.
Rangel J, Mattila HR, Seeley TD (2009) No intracolonial nepotism during colony fissioning in honey bees. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Biological Sciences. 276: 3895-3900.
Rangel J, Seeley TD (2008) The signals initiating the mass exodus of a honey bee swarm from its nest. Animal Behaviour. 76: 1943-1952.
Nieh JC, Contrera FAL, Rangel J, Imperatriz-Fonseca VL (2003) Effect of food location and quality on recruitment sounds and success in two stingless bees, Melipona mandacaia and Melipona bicolor. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 55: 87-94.
Bender K, Rangel J, Feldman D (2003) Development of columnar topography in the excitatory layer 4 to layer 2/3 projection in rat barrel cortex. Journal of Neuroscience. 23: 8759-8770.