2021 Banners FoodAgrculture

2021 Banners FoodAgrculture

Christina M. Grozinger, Pennsylvania State University, received the 2021 NAS Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences.

A leading social insect biologist, Grozinger integrates research, education, outreach, and service regarding the biology and health of honey bees and other pollinators. She has expanded our understanding of how bee stressors—including pathogens, parasites, pesticides, poor nutrition, climate change and extreme weather effects—affect bees. The work is critical to helping address the global crisis of pollinator decline.

Grozinger has conducted innovative and integrative studies of the molecular, physiological, and ecological determinants of the health of managed and wild bees. In particular, her research group addresses how nutritional deficiencies contribute to declines in pollinator populations, and has developed strategies to design floral planting schemes to improve pollinator nutrition in diverse landscapes. She has developed accessible, nation-wide support tools for use in both agriculture and conservation.

Her research has also focused on chemical communication and social bee health. Grozinger’s studies demonstrated that pheromone production and response is highly nuanced and influenced by multiple factors, which can affect colony-level outcomes. This work also investigates how bee responses to immune challenges alter the insects’ surface chemical profiles—changes that can affect their social interactions and potentially regulate disease spread. Her pioneering insights into immune responsiveness will influence how we cope with bee disease transmission.

The NAS Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences recognizes research by a mid-career scientist (defined as up to 20 years since completion of PhD) at a U.S. institution who has made an extraordinary contribution to agriculture or to the understanding of the biology of a species fundamentally important to agriculture or food production. For the purpose of the prize, areas of science with applications to agriculture include plant and animal sciences, microbiology, nutrition and food science, soil science, entomology, veterinary medicine, and agricultural economics. The recipient will be awarded a medal and a $100,000 prize. The prize is endowed through generous gifts from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


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