As head of the Department of Entomology at the University of Illinois and the nation’s leading expert on “Colony Collapse Disorder,” Berenbaum has testified before Congress on the potential disruption of the world’s food network because of the mysterious and rapid decline in honeybees.
Berenbaum’s “groundbreaking work on the science behind the bee population collapse and the genetics of co-evolution between plants and insects” won her the coveted Tyler Prize, one of the most distinguished science awards in the world.
With nearly 30 years in research, Berenbaum’s knowledge of the insect world goes far beyond honeybees. A graduate of Yale University, she later received her Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology from Cornell University.
There is nothing dry or academic about Berenbaum’s approach to explaining the impact of the insect world to our lives. Science Magazine said it best: “There is no better guide to the world of insects than Berenbaum whose writing is as readable as a good novel and who has a quirky sense of humor all her own.”
She has written four books: Bugs in the System: Insects and Their Impact on Human Affairs; Buzzwords: A Scientist Muses on Sex, Bugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll; 99 Gnats, Nits and Nibblers; and 99 More Maggots, Mites and Munchers.
She has gained fame as the organizer of the Insect Fear Festival, an annual celebration of Hollywood’s insect excesses, and has had “X-Files” character Dr. Bambi Berenbaum, a famous entomologist, named after her.