Past Lectures

Past Lectures

2015

May Berenbaum

Insects and Wild Parsnips: Coevolutionary arms races and peace treaties

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.

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2014

Cary Fowler

A Plan of Action for Plant Genetic Resources

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2013

Peter J. Hatch

Thomas Jefferson’s Revolutionary Garden at Monticell

View the 2013 Thornton-Massa Video!

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2012

Edward S. Buckler

Corn – A Genetic Powerhouse: Unleashing Natural Diversity with Genomics for More Sustainable, Robust and Nutritious Crops

View the 2012 Thornton-Massa Video!

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2011

Gebisa Ejeta

“Global Food Security in the Face of Growing Challenges”

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2010

Drs. Pamela C. Ronald and Raoul W. Adamchak

Tomorrow’s Table: Organic Farming, Genetics and the Future of Food

View the 2010 Thornton-Massa Video!

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2009

Dr. Stephen Baenziger

“Where Food Comes From: The Origins of the Plants on Your Plate”

View the 2009 Thornton-Massa Video!

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2008

Dr. Rebecca Nelson

“Science vs. Hunger: the challenges of funding research in international agriculture”

View the 2008 Thornton-Massa Video!

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2007

Dr. Dennis Gonsalves

“Hawaii’s GMO Papaya: An Analysis of Its Impact and Its Controversy”

View the 2007 Thornton-Massa Video!

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2006

Dr. Deborah Delmer

“Creating a Roadmap for a Green Revolution in Africa”

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2005

Dr. Steven Tanksley

“How the same genes make new species: wild stories from tomatoes”

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 2004

Dr. Peter Raven

“Biodiversity, Sustainability and the Human Prospect”

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2003

Dr. Paul A. Cox

“Ethnobotany, New Drugs, & Old Diseases”

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