Introducing Jonathan W. Snow, Assistant Professor in Biology
August 21, 2012
What is your specific area of research? What are you currently working on?
My specific area of research is the molecular and cellular immune mechanisms that honey bees use to fight off microbial pathogens including bacteria, fungi, and viruses. This is a relatively new field of study, and new to me as well. I previously worked on immune development using mice models until I became interested in sustainable agriculture and, as a result, started studying bees. My primary interest is their digestive track, which is a major point of contact with microbes. In this way, bees are much like humans in that they’re very social, so they end up passing microbes between each other routinely. I currently have four colonies of honey bees living in hives on the roof of Barnard Hall. They have made the transition to city life amazingly well and are busy storing honey and pollen from the area.
What are your other research/teaching interests? Any broader projects or initiatives you're involved with in your field?
In the past I've taught courses on cell biology, human immunology, and a senior seminar on stem cells. I’ve found the honey bee field to be very open, and I’ve been lucky to get involved in a number of collaborations with investigators at other institutions.
What is most exciting to you about joining Barnard's faculty? What are you looking forward to most about being here?
Barnard is an outstanding college with an exceptional student body and I’m thrilled to be here. I'm excited about getting to know Barnard students and involving some of them with my research this fall. Working collaboratively with students is one of the great things about a liberal- arts environment, and the team atmosphere is what science is all about for me. There’s not always as much room for teaching or mentorship at a large university, and having gone to a liberal-arts college myself (Williams), I missed that aspect while working in other settings.
What courses will you be teaching?
In the fall I’ll be teaching a cell biology class, and in the spring I’ll teach “Introduction to Molecular Biology” and a senior seminar on immunology.
Outside of your academic life, any interests, hobbies, accomplishments of note?
I'm from Nashville, TN, and I play the banjo. I've been in some alt-country bands, including a band with all doctors and scientists in Boston. I'd love to be in a band here, too. We'll see.