Gene E. Robinson's directory photo.

Gene E. Robinson


Primary Affiliation

Intelligence, Learning, and Plasticity


Status Affiliate Faculty

Home Department of Entomology

Phone 265-0309



  • Biography

    Gene Robinson received his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1986. He is a professor in the University of Illinois Department of Entomolgy and an affiliate member in the Beckman Institute NeuroTech group. He is director of the Neuroscience Program at Illinois and an affiliate of the Department of Cell & Developmental Biology; Department of Animal Biology (UIUC); Department of Political Science; Center for Economic Entomology, Illinois Natural History Survey; and the Biotechnology Center.

  • Honors

    Chancellor's Center for Advanced Study Special Lecture Series, Inaugural Speaker, UIUC (2005); Member, National Academy of Sciences (NAS); K.C. Fisher Lecture, Univ. Toronto; Fellow, American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

  • Research

    Dr. Robinson studies mechanisms of behavior in social insects. The honey bee is the primary study organism because its rich social life is uniquely amenable to experimentation, a consequence of the many techniques available to alter precisely genetic, physiological, and environmental parameters.

    • Current research is focused on one aspect of colony organization, the division of labor among workers. Efforts in this area involve: identifying behavioral, neural, endocrine, and molecular genetic mechanisms that regulate the activities of individual colony members; and then
    • determining the role these mechanisms play in integrating worker behavior into a cohesively functioning colony.

    Neuroanatomical studies performed in collaboration with S.E. Fahrbach explore the role of brain plasticity in honey bee behavioral plasticity. We seek to understand complex social behavior from "society to gene."

  • 2012

    • Ament, S. A.; Wang, Y.; Chen, C. C.; Blatti, C. A.; Hong, F.; Liang, Z. Z. S.; Negre, N.; White, K. P.; Rodriguez-Zas, S. L.; Mizzen, C. A.; Sinha, S.; Zhong, S.; Robinson, G. E., The Transcription Factor Ultraspiracle Influences Honey Bee Social Behavior and Behavior-Related Gene Expression. PLoS Genetics 2012, 8, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1002596.


    • Brockmann, A.; Annangudi, S. P.; Richmond, T. A.; Ament, S. A.; Xie, F.; Southey, B. R.; Rodriguez-Zas, S. R.; Robinson, G. E.; Sweedler, J. V., Quantitative peptidomics reveal brain peptide signatures of behavior. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2009, 106, (7), 2383-2388.
    • Robinson, G. E.; Fernald, R. D.; Clayton, D. F., Genes and Social Behavior. Science 2008, 322, (5903), 896-900.


    • Ismail, N.; Robinson, G.E.; Fahrbach, S.E., Stimulation of muscarinic receptors mimics experience-dependent plasticity in the honey bee brain. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, (in press).


    • Robinson, G.E.; Grozinger, C.M.; Whitfield, C.W., Sociogenomics: Social life in molecular terms. Nature Reviews Genetics 2005, 6, 257-70.


    • Grozinger, C.M.; Sharabash, N.; Whitfield, C.W.; Robinson, G.E., Pheromone-mediated gene expression in the honey bee brain. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Suppl. 2 2003, 14519-25.
    • Whitfield, C.W.; Cziko, A.-M.; Robinson, G.E., Gene expression patterns in the brain predict behavior in individual honey bees. Science 2003, 302, 296-299.


    • Ben-Shahar, Y.; Robichon, A.; Sokolowski, M.B.; Robinson, G.E., Influence of gene action across different time scales on behavior. Science 2002, 296, 741-744.