Sarah Aamidor

Location: Room 253, Macleay Building A12 | Phone: +61 2 9036 5216 | Email:

A photo of Sarah Aamidor

Contrary to expected my background does not include bees, insects, animal behavior, evolutionary ecology or genetics. Rather I have in my tool kit other expertise including: physiological ecology, molecular biology, cell biology, environmental chemistry, structural biology and proteomics. So what am I doing in the Bee lab? Well I find that bees are truly intriguing creatures, they are critical to agriculture and the natural ecosystem, their eusocial structure is based on a cast system and bees are Haplodiploid all of which enables some remarkable phenomenas.

Haplodiploidty is a known sex determination system which occurs in all members of the order Hymenoptera including ants, bees and wasps. In this system females are diploid developing from a fertilized egg and males are haploid originating from an unfertilized egg carrying one set of maternal chromosomes. Simple? Well not really, actually it turns out that you can have females with no father, males with no mother and all sorts of combinations in between. For my PhD I wish to investigate some of these peculiar and bizarre consequences arising from Haplodiploidty such as Mosaic individuals- where an individual bee is made up of more than one zygote, and bee reincarnation by Thelytoky in which a female is formed from an unfertilized egg essentially (but not exactly) creating a clone of the mother or just as strange, Andrognesis by which the female’s genome is somehow excluded creating a haploid clone of the father. Although these phenomenas are the exception to normal Haplodiploid bee reproduction they are an opportunity to better understand the genetics behind Haplodiploidty, its evolutionary origin and the molecular bases of the abnormalities, some of which have real world implications.

For example, invasive species often face a problem with inbreeding and a lack of genetic diversity - but this is not a problem for populations that can clone themselves which makes them very successful in invading new grounds. Understanding the mechanisms behind these abilities can help identify these populations and maybe find ways to act against them.

I hold a BSc in Molecular Biology from Bar Ilan University, Israel and completed an MSc, from Ben-Gurion University, Israel, My thesis studied the dietary protein requirements of small passerines refueling during migration. Following the completion of my Masters I moved to Australia and worked as a research assistant in The University of Sydney, investigating wound healing in Type 2 diabetics- specifically comparing the formation and quality of wound tissues in diabetic vs. healthy individuals using molecular and cell biology methods. After returning to Israel I joined the Weizmann Institute of Science to investigate a novel enzyme by cloning and determining its biochemical and structural properties. And now I’m back in Sydney.


  • Danqing Min, Belinda Brooks, Jencia Wong, Sarah Aamidor, Rebecca Seehoo, Surya Sutanto, Brian Harrisberg, Dennis Yue, Stephen Twigg, and Susan McLennan. Diabetic complications: possible protective role. Journal of Leukocyte Biology. 100(6): 1375-1383.
  • Munoz-Garcia Agusti, Sarah E. Aamidor, Marshall D. McCue, Scott R. McWilliams and Berry Pinshaw. 2012. Allocation of Endogenous and Dietary Protein in the Reconstitution of the Gastrointestinal Tract in Migratory Blackcaps at Stopover Sites. Journal of Experimental Biology. 215: 1069-1075.
  • Sarah E. Aamidor, Ulf Bauchinger, Ortal Mizrahy, Scott R. McWilliams and Berry Pinshow. 2011. During stopover, migrating blackcaps adjust behavior and food intake depending on dietary protein content. Integrative and Comparative Biology. 51: 385-93.
  • Ortal Mizrahy, Ulf Bauchinger, Sarah E. Aamidor, Scott R. McWilliams and Berry Pinshow. 2011. Availability of water affects renewal of tissues in migratory blackcaps during stopover. Integrative and Comparative Biology. 51: 374-84.