Introducing Our Bugs and Bees Guide – Dr Sheba Khan

We’re excited to introduce the latest guide and correspondent to join the clan, Dr. Sheba Khan. Sheba will be a regular blogger for and is looking forward to being ‘bugged’ by you with questions about all things bugs and bees (that’s microbiology, biochemistry and genetic engineering). Here’s the Sheba’s story to get you started…”Ladies and Gentlemen, introducing….Sheba Kahn” [clapping]

SKahn ProfileMy fascination for bugs and the garden started at a very early age. Growing up on a farm in India I was forever out and about with my uncle. In fact the level of “comfort” I enjoy with the outdoors is probably attributed to my days spend under the clear blue skies. We moved to Australia when I was a teenager and my fascination with the garden continued. I completed my schooling in Melbourne and moved to Canberra for my higher education. I completed my Bachelor in Science with Honours from the Australian National University in 1999. Interestingly and perhaps unknowingly I worked with wheat grain growers on soil microbiology for my Honours project. I had a blast. It also gave me an idea about what would be the passion of my life …… microbes.


After working in Oxford UK, for a couple of years on some more microbes, I returned once again to Australia to do a PhD …. this time on honeybees and their microbiology. As my research continued, my interest in bees and crop pollination grew. My research involved looking at the health of the bee gut. A healthy gut means healthy bees. I worked with commercial beekeepers at their field sites all around Australia. Currently, I am employed as a Research Adjunct at the University of Canberra, since 2010. My interest has now expanded from honeybees, their microbes and pollination of crops to soil microbiology as all four have very strong interdependent partnerships. This intricate balance, although not very well understood, needs to be maintained as with the human world population rising, the need to grow our own produce for sustainability is pushed to high levels.


My aim to start writing with is to learn from you, your trials in the garden (especially the vegetable patch) or bees and share some knowledge that we as scientists learn in the labs but have very few occasions of interacting and sharing. It gives a different perspective. Who knows helping each other may lead to a more sustainable solution to living. Looking forward to hearing from you.


Sheba K.