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Personal profile


Professor Barron is the Director of the Macquarie Minds and Intelligences Initiative.  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 machines? 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 how 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 a rate that 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

Leverhulme Visiting Professor: The University of Sheffield


Australian Research Council Future Fellow, Australian Research Council


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 at Urbana-Champaign


Royal Society Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Sydney



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