By Kim Kaplan
August 23, 2016
Dr. May R. Berenbaum shed light on the relationship between insects and plants during today's 2016 Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Sterling B. Hendricks Memorial Lecture. Her talk was presented at the American Chemical Society (ACS) Fall Meeting in Philadelphia.
Internationally recognized for her research about interactions between insects and their host plants, Berenbaum through her work has fundamentally changed the understanding of the relationship between insects and the plants they eat. That research has created the basis for the theory of coevolution. She has described the "arms race" between plants and the insects that feed on them. Her work has provided a strong evolutionary outline for insects' resistance to insecticides.
Additionally, Berenbaum provides leadership in a number of today's important insect-related issues like pollinator declines, insects and GM crops, invasive species, pesticides and resistance, and insect conservation. She is a prominent researcher of Colony Collapse Disorder and other stresses involved in the colony losses beekeepers face.
Since 1992, Dr. Berenbaum has been head of the Department of Entomology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She also has held the endowed Swanlund Chair of Entomology there since 1996.
Dr. Berenbaum received this Nation's highest scientific honor, the National Medal of Science, in 2014.
ARS established this lectureship in 1981 to honor the memory of Sterling B. Hendricks and to recognize scientists for outstanding contributions to the chemical science of agriculture. Dr. Hendricks contributed to many diverse scientific disciplines, including plant physiology, soil science, mineralogy, agronomy, geology and chemistry.
ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief in-house scientific research agency.