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About Us

The Benbow Lab at MSU is seeking contact with researchers doing human decomposition studies in this USA or abroad.  We are particularly interested in potentially working with scientists with a mutual interest in insect-microbe interactions. For those interested please contact Dr. Eric Benbow (

See the recent feature about our ongoing project characterizing the Human Postmortem Microbiome in the The New York Times Magazine. For more information, please go to the News and Announcements page.

The Benbow lab focuses on research using ecological theory to explore interactions between entire microbial communities and individual insects, populations or entire communities of insects. The lab is combining insect community and ecosystem ecology with next generation high-throughput sequencing technologies to better understand the insect microbiome and how this community of microbes mediates insect fitness and community dynamics. By harnessing a deeper understanding of this traditional “black box” of insect ecology, the Benbow lab is uncovering new insights into aquatic and semi-aquatic insect population biology and community ecology that has substantial ecosystem level effects important to disease ecology theory and human and environmental health. The research in the Benbow lab centers on microbial community – insect community interactions within three systems: