Adam Schmidt ’23 dives into the mysteries of Parkinson’s disease with the help of bees

On the rooftop of Thompson Hall, a figure emerges in a full beekeeper suit, a head-to-toe covering including a white jumpsuit, a wide-brimmed hat with a mesh face veil, and thick protective gloves. Carefully, he approaches the hive, a five-foot-tall stack of wooden boxes located behind a greenhouse near the edge of the roof. Adam Schmidt ’23, the molecular and cellular biology major inside the suit, isn’t interested in the colony of several thousand bees for their honey—he wants to study their brains in an attempt to understand the progression of neurodegenerative diseases in humans.

“The bees can be a little bit fussy,” Schmidt says. “They get moody some days, but with my gloves and my beekeeper suit, I feel unstoppable.”