Dr. Benbow is a community and disease ecologist at Michigan State University, studying how complex communities (e.g., aquatic or carrion insects or microbes) contribute to ecological systems and can understanding these communities can be used in various applications in medicine, disease and forensics. Dr. Benbow joined the university in 2014 with a joint appointment in the Department of Department of Entomology and Department Osteopathic Medical Specialties. His research program has developed around basic and applied insect and microbial ecology, with a history of studying disease in West Africa and more recent activities in building partnerships for food security in Malawi. He is the author or coauthor of over 160 peer-reviewed journal articles, 29 book chapters, three edited books and has received funding through NIH, NSF, NIJ, USDA, USGS, and USFS. Dr. Benbow has also served on three National Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine appointed committees and is a regularly invited speaker to many international venues as a result of interactions with national and international scientists. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and former president of the North American Forensic Entomology Association.
In addition to forensic research, Dr. Benbow’s lab asks three general questions: 1) Is insect fitness influenced by the community of microbes living in or on them? 2) What are the ecological interactions of insects with the microbial communities associated with their habitat or food resources? and, 3) How can this information be used to inform resources management, human health and forensics? With a joint appointment in the College of Osteopathic Medicine, his lab seeks to answer these insect-microbe questions for translation into human health applications.