Dept. Entomology University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Dept. Entomology University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


May Berenbaum 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.  Following graduation, she joined the faculty of the Department of Entomology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and has served as department head since 1992 and as Swanlund Chair of Entomology since 1996. Her research has focused on chemical mediation of interactions between insects and their hostplants, including detoxification of natural and synthetic chemicals, and on applications of ecological principles in sustainable management practices for natural and agricultural communities. Her research has produced over 230 refereed scientific publications and 35 book chapters.  In November, 2014, Professor Berenbaum was awarded the National Medal of Science in 2014 for her "pioneering studies on chemical coevolution and the genetic basis of insect-plant interaction, and for enthusiastic commitment to public engagement that inspires others about the wonders of science." The National Medal of Science is the nation's highest honor for achievement and leadership in advancing the fields of science and technology.