Margaret Steele

Margaret Steele

Graduate Research Assistant

Research Interests

I am interested in the microbe-microbe and microbe-host interactions that shape the spatial organization of bacteria in the honey bee gut. In addition to their ecological and economic significance, honey bees are an ideal model organism for studying the basic principles of host-associated microbial communities due to their simple and consistent gut microbiota and experimental tractability. I am currently using RNA sequencing to identify changes in microbial gene expression that occur when two bee gut microbes, Snodgrassella alvi and Gilliamella apicola, are present in the bee gut individually or in combination. These two microbes are of particular interest because of their high abundance and characteristic radially stratified organization in the honey bee ileum.

About Margaret

I grew up in Austin, TX and majored in biology and biochemistry at Whittier College in Whittier, CA. In 2011, I spent a semester in Australia at James Cook University in Townsville, QLD. I graduated summa cum laude from Whittier College in 2013 and entered the microbiology PhD program at the University of Texas at Austin, where I am coadvised by Marvin Whiteley and Nancy Moran. I enjoy pottery and tide pools and spend much of my time outside of lab knitting and fleeing from angry bees.


Image credit for figure in: Katsnelson, A. (2015). Microbiome: The puzzle in a bee’s gut. Nature. 521, S56.