CIBER Squad honored for bee health solutions

Author: Imran Ghori
September 13, 2022

A team of UC Riverside doctoral students researching honey bee health won an honorable mention in the Wilbur-Ellis Innovation Awards.

Sponsored by Wilbur-Wllis, an agricultural company, the competition invited student teams from U.S. colleges and universities to propose better approaches for providing food for a growing global population.

UCR’s team, dubbed the CIBER Squad, was one of four groups to win a $5,000 honorable mention prize. Its focus was on reversing the decline in bee populations.

The team consisted of Chris Allen, Jess Webb, Genesis Chong, and Sakshi Watts, all doctoral students in entomology. A fifth member, Shamima Hossain, is a doctoral student in computer science. The students are affiliated with the Center for Integrative Bee Research, or CIBER, a multidisciplinary research group.

The team developed a three-pronged approach for saving bees: breeding hardier bees that are better able to handle heat, diseases, and parasites; working with local bee keepers on health management tools; and increased bee health monitoring including the use of electronic sensors in hives.

The CIBER Squad from top left, Chris Allen, and Jess Webb; and bottom left, Genesis Chong, Shamima Hossain, and Sakshi Watts.