Dr Emily Remnant

School of Life and Environmental Sciences

A12 - Macleay Building
The University of Sydney

Telephone +61 2 9351 2267

Website Room 248, A12 - Macleay
Behaviour and Genetics of Social Insects Laboratory

Biographical details

I am a molecular geneticist interested in adaptation and the functional outcomes of genetic and epigenetic changes. Throughout my career, I have studied the evolution of resistance mechanisms and how insects respond to environmental stress, such as pathogens and chemical insecticides. I am particularly fond of honey bees and their viruses, as RNA viruses are excellent systems for observing evolution in measurable timescales. I use bioinformatics techniques including next generation sequencing, perform in vivo laboratory experiments with insects, and make use of a range of molecular laboratory methods.

I completed my PhD at the University of Melbourne in 2012, using Drosophila melanogaster to investigate the genetic changes involved in the development of insecticide resistance. I joined the University of Sydney in 2012. Currently I focus on understanding host-parasite interactions and the evolution of virulence in honey bee viruses.

Research interests

Viruses

Worldwide, viral diseases spread by parasitic Varroa mites are a leading cause of honey bee hive mortality. The global spread of Varroa mites has caused decreased honey bee health and increased colony losses throughout most of the beekeeping world. Australia is the last major beekeeping nation in the world that remains free of Varroa and the virulent strains of RNA viruses associated with it.

Madeleine Beekman and I are interested in understanding how a vector can change the viral landscape of honey bee viruses and select for virulence. We aim to understand host-parasite dynamics between honey bees, Varroa mites and viruses, and to understand the change in viral landscape that occurs when honey bees are infected with mites. We use RNA sequencing and in-hive experiments to investigate the dynamics of viral evolution, transmission, and resistance in honey bees.

DNA methylation

In honey bees, the epigenetic mark of DNA methylation determines whether a female larvae becomes a queen or a worker, but methylation is likely to be involved in other biological functions. Together with Ben Oldroyd, I am examining DNA methylation in maternal and paternal genomes. Our goal is to investigate the impact of epigenetic changes on genomic conflict and to determine if parental imprinting occurs in honey bees. We use molecular and genomic techniques to examine methylation patterns in different honey bee castes, lifestages and tissues.

Teaching and supervision

Teaching

MBLG2072/2972: Genetics and Genomics (Deputy course coordinator)

Supervision

Current Students:

Amanda Norton (PhD, 2017-2019): 'Deformed Wing Virus: how do vector transmitted RNA viruses contribute to the death of honeybees? (University of Sydney; co-supervised with M. Beekman)

Riley Frawley-Ferguson (Honours, 2017): 'Can we immunise honeybees with Wolbachia?' (University of Sydney; co-supervised with M. Beekman)

Current projects

In three of my current projects I have ≈ Discovered seven novel viruses in honeybee transcriptomes ≈ Experimentally ‘evolved’ honeybee viruses after 30 serial transmission cycles and ≈ Identified high levels of a novel, recombinant virus in honeybees that are resistant to parasitic Varroa mites.

My goal is to identify ways of preventing virulent viruses from accumulating in honey bees. This forms the basis of my current research agenda, investigating the use of the bacterial endosymbiont Wolbachia as a viral protection mechanism for honey bee populations suffering from virulent viruses.

Associations

Member of the Marie Bashir Institute (MBI; 2014 - present)

Member of the Genetics Society of Australasia (2006 - present)

Member of the International Union for the Study of Social Insects (IUSSI) Australian Section (2012 - present)

Member of Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution (SMBE) (2015 - present)

Awards and honours

Recent Awards

Science and Innovation Awards: Can we immunise honeybees against virulent viruses? Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, Rural Industries Research and Development corporation category and overall Minister’s Prize

Australian Awards Endeavour Fellowship: Generating honeybees that are resistant to viruses. Department of Education and Training – 6 month fellowship conducted at the University of Otago, Dunedin NZ.

In the media

ABC Rural: 10 March 2017: “Australian researcher working to immunise honey bees, protect them from varroa mite”

University of Sydney News, 15 March 2017: Sydney bee researcher gets her stripes”

University of Sydney News, 14 Aug 2015: “18 of our most exciting scientists on Twitter”

Cairns Post, 17 July 2014: “Bee sex proves no sweet thing and a sting in the honey pot for Far North Queensland agriculture”

4CA Breakfast show, Cairns, 30 July 2014

Channel 10 ‘The Project’, 8 May 2013

Selected grants

2017

  • Can we immunise honey bees against virulent viruses?; Remnant E; Department of Agriculture./Research Grants.

2015

  • Why do honey bees survive Varroa infections in Tonga; Beekman M, Remnant E; Australia & Pacific Science Foundation/Research Project Grant.

Selected publications

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Journals

  • Remnant, E., Shi, M., Buchmann, G., Blacquiere, T., Holmes, E., Beekman, M., Ashe, A. (2017). A Diverse Range of Novel RNA Viruses in Geographically Distinct Honey Bee Populations. Journal of Virology, 91(16), e00158-17. [More Information]
  • Kilaso, M., Remnant, E., Chapman, N., Oldroyd, B., Chanchao, C. (2017). DNA methylation of Kr-h1 is involved in regulating ovary activation in worker honeybees (Apis mellifera). Insectes Sociaux, 64(1), 87-94. [More Information]
  • Kilaso, M., Chapman, N., Remnant, E., Oldroyd, B., Chanchao, C. (2017). No evidence that DNA methylation is associated with the regulation of fertility in the adult honey bee Apis mellifera (Hymenoptera: Apidae) worker ovary. Austral Entomology, 56(1), 115-121. [More Information]
  • Cridge, A., Harrop, T., Lovegrove, M., Remnant, E., Dearden, P. (2017). Nutrition and Epigenetic Change in Insects: Evidence and Implications. Advances in Insect Physiology, in press. [More Information]
  • Remnant, E., Williams, A., Lumb, C., Yang, Y., Chan, J., Duchene, S., Daborn, P., Batterham, P., Perry, T. (2016). Evolution, Expression, and Function of Nonneuronal Ligand-Gated Chloride Channels in Drosophila melanogaster. G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics, 6(7), 2003-2012. [More Information]
  • Remnant, E., Ashe, A., Young, P., Buchmann, G., Beekman, M., Allsopp, M., Suter, C., Drewell, R., Oldroyd, B. (2016). Parent-of-origin effects on genome-wide DNA methylation in the Cape honey bee (Apis mellifera capensis) may be confounded by allele-specific methylation. BMC Genomics, 17(1), 1-14. [More Information]
  • Oldroyd, B., Allsopp, M., Roth, K., Remnant, E., Drewell, R., Beekman, M. (2014). A parent-of-origin effect on honeybee worker ovary size. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 281(1775), 1-7. [More Information]
  • Remnant, E., Koetz, A., Tan, K., Hinson, E., Beekman, M., Oldroyd, B. (2014). Reproductive interference between honeybee species in artificial sympatry. Molecular Ecology, 23(5), 1096-1107. [More Information]
  • Drewell, R., Bush, E., Remnant, E., Wong, G., Beeler, S., Stringham, J., Lim, J., Oldroyd, B. (2014). The dynamic DNA methylation cycle from egg to sperm in the honey bee Apis mellifera. Development, 141(2), 2702-2711. [More Information]
  • Remnant, E., Morton, C., Daborn, P., Lumb, C., Yang, Y., Ng, H., Parker, M., Batterham, P. (2014). The role of Rdl in resistance to phenylpyrazoles in Drosophila melanogaster. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 54, 11-21. [More Information]
  • Beeler, S., Wong, G., Zheng,, J., Bushby, E., Remnant, E., Oldroyd, B., Drewell, R. (2014). Whole-Genome DNA Methylation Profile of the Jewel Wasp (Nasonia vitripennis). G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics, 4(3), 383-388. [More Information]
  • Oldroyd, B., Allsopp, M., Roth, K., Remnant, E., Drewell, R., Beekman, M. (2013). A parent-of-origin effect on honeybee worker ovary size. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 281(1775), 1-7. [More Information]
  • Remnant, E., Good, R., Schmidt, J., Lumb, C., Robin, C., Daborn, P., Batterham, P. (2013). Gene duplication in the major insecticide target site, Rdl, in Drosophila melanogaster. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), 110(36), 14705-14710. [More Information]

2017

  • Remnant, E., Shi, M., Buchmann, G., Blacquiere, T., Holmes, E., Beekman, M., Ashe, A. (2017). A Diverse Range of Novel RNA Viruses in Geographically Distinct Honey Bee Populations. Journal of Virology, 91(16), e00158-17. [More Information]
  • Kilaso, M., Remnant, E., Chapman, N., Oldroyd, B., Chanchao, C. (2017). DNA methylation of Kr-h1 is involved in regulating ovary activation in worker honeybees (Apis mellifera). Insectes Sociaux, 64(1), 87-94. [More Information]
  • Kilaso, M., Chapman, N., Remnant, E., Oldroyd, B., Chanchao, C. (2017). No evidence that DNA methylation is associated with the regulation of fertility in the adult honey bee Apis mellifera (Hymenoptera: Apidae) worker ovary. Austral Entomology, 56(1), 115-121. [More Information]
  • Cridge, A., Harrop, T., Lovegrove, M., Remnant, E., Dearden, P. (2017). Nutrition and Epigenetic Change in Insects: Evidence and Implications. Advances in Insect Physiology, in press. [More Information]

2016

  • Remnant, E., Williams, A., Lumb, C., Yang, Y., Chan, J., Duchene, S., Daborn, P., Batterham, P., Perry, T. (2016). Evolution, Expression, and Function of Nonneuronal Ligand-Gated Chloride Channels in Drosophila melanogaster. G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics, 6(7), 2003-2012. [More Information]
  • Remnant, E., Ashe, A., Young, P., Buchmann, G., Beekman, M., Allsopp, M., Suter, C., Drewell, R., Oldroyd, B. (2016). Parent-of-origin effects on genome-wide DNA methylation in the Cape honey bee (Apis mellifera capensis) may be confounded by allele-specific methylation. BMC Genomics, 17(1), 1-14. [More Information]

2014

  • Oldroyd, B., Allsopp, M., Roth, K., Remnant, E., Drewell, R., Beekman, M. (2014). A parent-of-origin effect on honeybee worker ovary size. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 281(1775), 1-7. [More Information]
  • Remnant, E., Koetz, A., Tan, K., Hinson, E., Beekman, M., Oldroyd, B. (2014). Reproductive interference between honeybee species in artificial sympatry. Molecular Ecology, 23(5), 1096-1107. [More Information]
  • Drewell, R., Bush, E., Remnant, E., Wong, G., Beeler, S., Stringham, J., Lim, J., Oldroyd, B. (2014). The dynamic DNA methylation cycle from egg to sperm in the honey bee Apis mellifera. Development, 141(2), 2702-2711. [More Information]
  • Remnant, E., Morton, C., Daborn, P., Lumb, C., Yang, Y., Ng, H., Parker, M., Batterham, P. (2014). The role of Rdl in resistance to phenylpyrazoles in Drosophila melanogaster. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 54, 11-21. [More Information]
  • Beeler, S., Wong, G., Zheng,, J., Bushby, E., Remnant, E., Oldroyd, B., Drewell, R. (2014). Whole-Genome DNA Methylation Profile of the Jewel Wasp (Nasonia vitripennis). G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics, 4(3), 383-388. [More Information]

2013

  • Oldroyd, B., Allsopp, M., Roth, K., Remnant, E., Drewell, R., Beekman, M. (2013). A parent-of-origin effect on honeybee worker ovary size. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 281(1775), 1-7. [More Information]
  • Remnant, E., Good, R., Schmidt, J., Lumb, C., Robin, C., Daborn, P., Batterham, P. (2013). Gene duplication in the major insecticide target site, Rdl, in Drosophila melanogaster. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), 110(36), 14705-14710. [More Information]

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