Prof. Dr. Dirk C. de Graaf
Prof. Dr. Dirk C. de Graaf is a professor from Gent University, Belgium and the head of the department of Honeybee Valley from Faculty of Sciences.
Dirk is the course holder of Host-Parasite Interactions/Parasitology/Biochemical Parasitology course and Biomedical Physiology course at Gent University, but he is part of teaching stuff of several other courses such: Insect Physiology or Functional Biotic Interactions. In research field, he has contributed to the implementation of advanced technologies in honey bee research. Twenty years ago he introduced the PCR-technology in honey bee disease diagnostics with a PCR for the notifiable disease American foulbrood. The PCR-test has been adopted by the Office International des Epizooties (World Organization for Animal Health) and has become the reference test for this devastating disease. For many years he was involved in honey bee venom research where he paved the way to component resolved diagnosis of sting allergy. He performed the first in depth proteomic study on bee venom allowing to discover novel venom components, some of which were involved in the allergic reaction that sometimes can be life threatening. In the past decade he has focussed also on bee genetics and breeding programs. He was the first to develop a whole exome sequencing protocol for the honey bee that was used to discover the genome variants associated with the suppressed mite reproduction-trait contributing to the bees’ resilience to the Varroa-mite. He published more than 125 papers and appeared in about 165 media events (articles in newspapers, magazines or reporting on radio or TV) since 2017.