GE3LS Research Lead
Bee ‘Omics: Honey Bee Queen Breeding Project
University of British Columbia
What social issue does your research attempt to address?
Bee ‘Omics GE3Ls research focuses on gaining greater knowledge of the bee breeding and beekeeping communities’ values and priorities in queen supply and demand in B.C. and across Canada, with the ultimate objective of supporting significant sustainable growth in domestic queen breeding. As a social and economic researcher, my goal is to ensure stakeholder profitability as the industry grows while also exploring less traditional metrics of bee value such as the social, spiritual and community value of local bee breeding.
What drew you to this area of research?
My dissertation research explored the social welfare valuation of second growth lodgepole pine forests in B.C., with a focus on the impact of forestry policies on timber profit and the associated accumulation of carbon sequestration and biodiversity within these forests. This early work in environmental and social economics fueled my interest in the role of stakeholders in community and industry outcomes, particularly the simultaneity of economic, social and environmental impacts within an agricultural sector.
What benefits do social sciences bring to genomics research?
Genomic honey bee research continues to propel our Canadian bee industries forward with cutting edge science and innovative solutions. To ensure that these critically important and original discoveries have traction within the beekeeping and bee breeding industries, the research must be accompanied by an equally rigorous and thoughtful exploration of the social, economic and environmental implications of adopting this genomic science. As a GE3Ls researcher, my overarching goal is to evaluate the economic, environmental and social impacts of the genomic science and develop a stakeholder-led strategy for effective and sustainable genomic science translation. It is the responsibility of GE3Ls research to effectively bridge the space between genomics and industry.
As someone living and working in British Columbia, what is your favorite thing to do or place to go?
As a relative newcomer to Vancouver Island, I am continually in awe of the raw natural beauty in this part of the world. My family and I spend as much time as possible camping in and around Tofino and more recently have enjoyed skiing on Mt. Washington in the winter and swimming in the beautiful warm waters off Tribune Bay on Hornby island in the summer.
What’s on the top of your ‘Bucket List’ right now?
My bucket list is mostly full of travel destinations and at the very top is visiting Israel with my family (mostly for my kids to eat the hummus!) and taking a road trip down to Arizona for baseball spring training one year.
About Genomics and Society
Genome BC has taken a leadership role in exploring the societal aspects of genomics research. One way we do this is through supporting genomics-related social science and humanities research. This area of research doesn’t just focus on genomic impacts on society once the scientific research is complete . Through collaboration, it also aims to inform on the societal dimension of scientific research questions, research design and funding allocation. This can help genomics research produce social benefits and achieve public value. In the context of Canada’s Genomics Enterprise, this research is referred to as ‘GE3Ls – Genomics and its Environmental, Economic, Ethical, Legal and Social aspects and is distinct from the anticipated socio-economic benefits of the project itself. Learn more about Genomics and Society here.