Personal profile


Dr Barron is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow, and Deputy Head of the Department of Biological Sciences at Macquarie University. He is a neuroethologist, which is a discipline of neuroscience studying the neural mechanisms of natural animal behaviour. Most of his research focuses on insects, especially honey bees. Using advanced techniques to visualise, manipulate, map and record from the insect brain Barron’s team has made important contributions to the understanding of fundamental behavioural systems such as cognition, navigation, social behaviour and learning and memory.

He also conducts research to improve honey bee health and welfare. He is studying how bees and bee colonies are impacted by pesticide and disease stressors, and how to best intervene to help bee colonies under stress.

Research interests

Understanding animal minds

What is it like to be a bee? Are simple animals like insects cognitive and reflective entities, or are they more like robots: simple reflexive stimulus-response entities? Studying animal behaviour combined with studies of the mechanisms supporting behavioural capacities will give critical understanding of the nature of animal minds.


Modelling the insect brain

The insect brain is a complex cognitive microprocessor. This project combines experimental neuroscience with computational and mathematical modelling to explore the circuits and systems of the insect brain function and generate behaviour.


Honey bee health and welfare

This is not an easy time to be a bee. Pesticides, diseases, habitat degradation and climate change are all piling stressors onto honey bees. Honey bee colonies are failing at such levels there is concern we may not have enough bees to pollinate our food crops. This research program explores how we can best support bee health in the current challenging environment.

Education / Academic qualification

Department of Zoology, PhD, University of Cambridge


Natural Sciences, First Class Honours, University of Cambridge


External positions

Australian Research Council Future Fellow, Australian Research Council

2015 → …

President, Australasian Society for the Study of Animal Behaviour, AUSTRALASIAN SOCIETY OF THE STUDY OF ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR


Vice-President, Australasian Society for the Study of Animal Behaviour, AUSTRALASIAN SOCIETY OF THE STUDY OF ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR


Treasurer, Australasian Society for the Study of Animal Behaviour, AUSTRALASIAN SOCIETY OF THE STUDY OF ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR


Postdoctoral Fellow, Research School of Biological Sciences, Australian National University


Fullbright Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Illinois


Royal Society Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Sydney


Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

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Projects 2008 2018

Research Output 1998 2018

Cocaine directly impairs memory extinction and alters brain DNA methylation dynamics in honey bees

Søvik, E., Berthier, P., Klare, W. P., Helliwell, P., Buckle, E. L. S., Plath, J. A., Barron, A. B. & Maleszka, R. 13 Feb 2018 In : Frontiers in Physiology. 9, FEB, p. 1-11 11 p., 79

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Open Access

Cooperative defence operates by social modulation of biogenic amine levels in the honey bee brain

Nouvian, M., Mandal, S., Jamme, C., Claudianos, C., D’Ettorre, P., Reinhard, J., Barron, A. B. & Giurfa, M. 31 Jan 2018 In : Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 285, 1871, p. 1-9 9 p., 20172653

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Short-term exposure to lambda-cyhalothrin negatively affects the survival and memory-related characteristics of worker bees Apis mellifera

Liao, C. H., He, X. J., Wang, Z. L., Barron, A. B., Zhang, B., Zeng, Z. J. & Wu, X. B. 8 Feb 2018 In : Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology. p. 1-7 7 p.

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Stress decreases pollen foraging performance in honeybees

Bordier, C., Klein, S., Le Conte, Y., Barron, A. B. & Alaux, C. 1 Feb 2018 In : Journal of Experimental Biology. 221, 4, p. 1-5 5 p., jeb171470

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Activities 2005 2017


Barron, A. (Invited speaker)

Activity: Invited talk

Australian Neuroscience Society Annual Scientific Meeting

Barron, A. (Organiser)

Activity: Organising a conference, workshop, ...

Animal Consciousness Conference

Barron, A. (Invited speaker)

Activity: Invited talk

International Congress of Neuroethology (Event)

Barron, A. (Member)

Activity: Membership of committee

Re-use and Evolvability Workshop

Barron, A. (Invited speaker)

Activity: Invited talk

Press / Media

Do Honeybees Feel? Scientists Are Entertaining the Idea

Andrew Barron


1 media contribution

Press / Media: Expert Comment

Insects could shed light on evolution of consciousness

Andrew Barron


1 media contribution

Press / Media: Expert Comment

Ecology: Bee behaviour sees colonies collapse

Andrew Barron


1 media contribution

Press / Media: Research