May Berenbaum

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May Berenbaum on receiving the National Medal of Science from Barack Obama

May Roberta Berenbaum (born July 22, 1953 in Trenton , New Jersey ) is an American entomologist .


Berenbaum graduated from Yale University with a bachelor's degree in biology in 1975 and received a doctorate in evolutionary biology from Cornell University in 1980 . Then she was Assistant Professor and from 1990 Professor of Entomology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign . There she heads the Faculty of Entomology.

Berenbaum is concerned with the chemical interaction between host plants and insects, including detoxification mechanisms of the insects for natural or synthetic chemicals. Among other things, she dealt with the toxicology of honey bees, the effects of global climate change on the interaction between plants and insects, and the co-evolution of insects and plants.

In 2012 she received the National Medal of Science . She is a Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences , the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science . In 1996 she became an elected member of the American Philosophical Society . From 1984 to 1989 she received a Presidential Young Investigator Award. In 2016 she was awarded the Addison Emery Verrill Medal .

She has been married since 1988 and has one daughter.

At her university, she has been holding a popular Insect Fear Film Festival since 1984 with films that exploit insect phobias. She was recognized in 1996 by the North Central Branch of the Entomological Society of America for teaching entomology.


  • Bloodsuckers, founders of the state, silk manufacturers. The ambivalent relationship between humans and insects. Spectrum Akademischer Verlag, Heidelberg 2004, ISBN 3-8274-1519-5 .
  • The Earwig's Tail: A Modern Bestiary of Multi-legged Legends, Harvard University Press 2009.
  • Honey I'm Home-Made: Sweet Treats from the Beehive Across the Centuries and Around the World, Champaign: University of Illinois Press 2010

Web links

Commons : May Berenbaum  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Birth and career data according to American Men and Women of Science , Thomson Gale 2004
  2. ^ Insect Fear Film Festival