Mike Wilson

2 photos

Previous Position:
Graduate Research Assistant (Plant Biological Sciences, graduated in 2014)


  • 2003-2007 – Simpson College (Indianola, IA) Biology B.A., Chemistry B.A.
  • 2008-2014 – University of Minnesota (St. Paul), Plant Biological Sciences Ph.D.

‘Propolis’ (pro – “at the entrance to”, polis – “city”) is an apicultural term for the variety of plant resins (hydrophobic matrices secreted by plants to deter predators and prevent the invasion of microorganisms) used in the construction of their nests. The antimicrobial properties of plant resins have been known since antiquity, and evidence suggests that these resins play a role in honey bee disease resistance.
My research was focused on :

  1. using bioassay-guided chemical separation to isolate compounds in propolis that inhibit the growth of Paenibacillus larvae (a honey bee brood pathogen).
  2. using metabolic fingerprinting analysis as a tool to quickly identify the plant sources of resin collected from honey bee foragers and hives.

Ph.D.Thesis Title: Origin, composition, and role of antimicrobial plant resins collected by honey bees, Apis mellifera

Publications from lab:

Wilson MB, Spivak M, Hegeman AD, Rendahl A, Cohen JD Metabolomics reveals the origins of antimicrobial plant resins collected by honey bees. PLoS ONE 8(10): e77512. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0077512 (2013)

Wilson MB, Brinkman D, Spivak M, Gardner G, Cohen JD Regional variation in composition and antimicrobial activity of U.S. propolis against Paenibacillus larvae and Ascopheara apis. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 124:44-50 (2015)

Wilson M, Pawlus AD, Brinkman D, Gardner G, Hegeman AD, Spivak M, Cohen JD 3-acyl dihydroflavonols from poplar resins collected by honey bees are active against the bee pathogens Paenibacillus larvae and Ascosphaera apis. Phytochemistry 138:83-92 (2017)