Gene E. Robinson, coPI and biology lead, is the G. William Arends Professor of Integrative Biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he has been since 1989. He is also the Director of the Neuroscience Program, and a Professor of Entomology with affiliate appointments in the Departments of Cell & Structural Biology and Animal Biology and the Beckman Institute of Science and Technology. He received his Ph.D. from Cornell University and was an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at Ohio State University.
Robinson’s research group studies the regulation of social behavior, using the honey bee. The research is integrative, involving perspectives from evolutionary biology, behavior, neuroscience, molecular biology, and genomics. The model system is the bee colony’s division of labor, which is based on an intricate process of individual behavioral maturation that results in age-related changes in occupation.
He has authored or coauthored over 150 publications including almost 20 in Nature, Science and PNAS. He has pioneered the application of genomics to the study of social behavior, spearheaded the effort to gain approval from NIH for the sequencing of the honey bee genome, and heads the Honey Bee Genome Sequencing Consortium. He has sponsored 16 postdoctoral fellows, 20 graduate students, and 70 undergraduate students. His honors include: University Scholar of the University of Illinois; Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; Certificate of Distinction from the International Congress of Entomology; Burroughs Wellcome Innovation Award in Functional Genomics; the Founders Memorial Award from the Entomological Society of America; a Fulbright Senior Research Fellowship; a Guggenheim Fellowship; and Fellow, American Academy of Arts & Sciences. In May 2005, Robinson was elected to the US National Academy of Sciences.