Franziska Dickel


After I completed my undergraduate degree in agricultural science at Justus-Liebig University in Germany, I packed my bags in 2013 and moved far away from home to Finland to become a graduate student in Evolutionary Biology, at University of Jyväskylä. Under supervision of Prof. Dr. Johanna Mappes and Dr. Dalial Freitak I am studying the phenomenon of prophylactic and therapeutic medication to answer the question if insects can boost their immunity by choosing the right food plant. I am broadly interested in the insects’ ability to cope with a high infection risk or disease by using their environment as “pharmacy”. Polyphagous insects, like the wood tiger moth Parasemia plantaginis can digest various food plants, thus they might have the ability to self-medicate by actively changing their diet and using secondary metabolites of plants to boost their immune response.

Furthermore I am interested in the effect of stressors linked to agricultural farming methods on honeybee health. I want to study the ability of honeybees to medicate themselves in the case of infection as well as against insecticide exposure. FenziandbeesI will combine the knowledge and insights gathered during my studies in agricultural sciences and in my earlier research projects to examine the eminent effect of environmental changes and immunological adaptations. My goal is to gain knowledge that can be applicable in bee farming as well as in plant protection and agricultural food production.

In private life I also love to do experiments and following protocols…or in other words I am a fan of colourful hair, tattoos and baking.

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