The 16th Annual Thornton-Massa Lecture Series

May Berenbaum

Insects and wild parsnips: Coevolutionary arms races and peace treaties
  • Location: Lory Student Center Theater, Fort Collins, Colorado
  • Date: November 1st, 2015
  • Time: 3:30pm – 5:00pm

Dr. Berenbaum is nationally recognized for her studies on chemical coevolution and the genetic basis of insect/plant interactions. She is an authority on insects in general, with a recent focus on threats to insect pollinators and pollinator health.

She has been on the faculty of the Department of Entomology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign since 1980, serving as head since 1992 and as Swanlund Chair of Entomology since 1996. She is known for elucidating chemical mechanisms underlying interactions between insects and their hostplants, including detoxification of natural and synthetic chemicals, and for applying ecological principles in developing sustainable management practices for natural and agricultural communities. Her research, supported primarily by NSF and USDA, has produced over 230 refereed scientific publications and 35 book chapters.  A member of the National Academy of Sciences, she has chaired two National Research Council committees, the Committee on the Future of Pesticides in U.S. Agriculture (2000) and the Committee on the Status of Pollinators in North America (2007). Devoted to teaching and fostering scientific literacy through formal and informal education, she has authored numerous magazine articles and six books about insects for the general public.  She graduated summa cum laude, with a B.S. degree and honors in biology, from Yale University in 1975 and received a Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology from Cornell University in 1980.