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May Berenbaum Named PNAS Editor-in-Chief

BY Diana Yates

University of Illinois entomology professor and department head May Berenbaum, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and longtime editorial contributor to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and other journals, has been appointed editor-in-chief of PNAS, effective Jan. 1.

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) announces the appointment of May R. Berenbaum as Editor-in-Chief of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)
The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) announces the appointment of May R. Berenbaum as Editor-in-Chief of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

PNAS is among the most influential scientific journals in the world. It publishes original research reports, commentaries, perspectives, colloquium papers and actions of the Academy. Coverage in PNAS spans the biological, physical and social sciences.

Berenbaum holds the Swanlund Chair of Entomology Illinois and is a member of the IGB's Genomic Ecology of Global Change and Infection Genomics for One Health research themes.. She was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1994 and has served on the PNAS editorial board since 1998.

“The National Academy is so fortunate to have recruited a new editor-in-chief with the international reputation, leadership experience and excellence, and commitment to quality communication demonstrated by Professor Berenbaum,” said National Academy of Sciences president Marcia McNutt in a statement announcing the appointment. “Her dedication to the journal and to the academy is legendary. I look forward to working with her in the coming years.”

Berenbaum graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in biology from Yale University in 1975 and a Ph.D. degree in ecology and evolutionary biology from Cornell University in 1980. She is the recipient of numerous scientific honors, including memberships in the NAS, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. She is a recipient of the 2014 National Medal of Science and in 2011 received the Tyler Prize in Environmental Achievement.

“What I like most about PNAS, and what sets it apart from its pre-eminent peers, is its breadth,” Berenbaum said. “Its structure is built on the breadth of the NAS itself, encompassing the natural, physical and social sciences, and spanning basic and applied dimensions. It’s an amazing opportunity to help PNAS continue to influence the path and progress of science as it kicks off its second century.”

“May is one of the university’s most accomplished scholars, and we are thrilled to hear that she will serve in such a prominent role,” said Susan Martinis, the vice chancellor for research at Illinois. “Indeed, I believe that she is the first editor-in-chief to be named from a Midwest land-grant public institution – one of her many firsts in breaking new ground.”

“This is an extraordinary honor that positions May to be among the leaders in influencing the shape of scientific communication and its impact on society,” said U. of I. entomology professor Gene Robinson, the director of the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology and a member of NAS. “We know May will use her enormous talents to keep PNAS at the leading edge of reporting great science and transformative discoveries in the uniquely diverse set of disciplines covered by this prestigious journal.”


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