Professor Jon Snow


On April 4, 2024, Jonathan Snow, associate professor of biological sciences, published a new invited literature review in the Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology, titled “Pathogen-and host-directed pharmacologic strategies for control of Vairimorpha (Nosema) spp. infection in honey bees.” 

The study, which Snow completed alongside Barnard co-authors Parker Parrella ’23 and Eliana Elikan ’23, focuses on current knowledge around treating microsporidian parasites in honey bees. Vairimorpha ceranae and Varimorpha apis, the two most common microsporidian parasites that attack bees, can cause individual disease and contribute to colony collapse. However, the researchers explain that there is currently only one drug, fumagillin, approved to treat microsporidia infection in bees, and its efficacy, safety, and availability are uncertain. Snow and his colleagues set out to describe the state of the field by conducting a comprehensive review of alternative treatment options focusing on those with known mechanisms of action, and comparing pathogen- and host-directed approaches. 

The researchers suggest that pathogen-targeted strategies are particularly promising, as they minimize toxicity problems in host cells while still treating the bees’ infection. Looking to the future, Snow and his colleagues call for the prioritization of efforts to increase the knowledge and tools needed to increase the accessibility of these pathogen-directed treatment options.