Leonard Munstermann ’64

Graduation Year
Award Year
BA, University of Minnesota Morris
MA, University of Minnesota Twin Cities
PhD, University of Notre Dame

In 1964, Leonard Munstermann was a member of the first graduating class, earning a bachelor of arts in psychology. He was the first senior president of the Morris Campus Student Association, the first undergraduate research assistant and also served as editor of the student newspaper during his undergraduate career.

After graduation, Munstermann accepted a position as a Peace Corps science teacher in West Africa where he developed a keen interest in insects that would lead to his life's calling. After returning to the U.S., he earned a master of science degree in zoology from the University of Minnesota and a doctoral degree in biology from the University of Notre Dame.

Munstermann is currently a research scientist in the Division of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases at the Yale School of Public Health. His research involves molecular genetics focused on the insect vector that provide clues to genomic organization, population structure and evolutionary relationships. His research utilizes Aedes mosquitoes and phlebotomine sand flies of New and Old World and emphasizes three genetic approaches:

  • gene linkage mapping provides genetic backbone for isolating genes and macrogenomic evolution;
  • genetic variability within an insect species in the form of isoenzymes or DNA base pair substitutions indicate population structure, population origin or taxonomic relatedness;
  • identification of closely related vector species by (biochemical) genetic means.

Munstermann has authored and co-authored 173 publications. He has presented numerous papers and posters at meetings of scientific societies and a number of prestigious invited lectures. His research has been funded by grants received mostly from the National Institutes of Health, and he has received educational grants from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. He has been associated with other grants totaling several additional million dollars.

Munstermann also serves as associate curator in the Division of Entomology at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, a prestigious museum with 1.5 million insect specimens to organize and study.

A Presidents Club giving society member since 1998, Munstermann is a loyal alumnus of the University of Minnesota, Morris, and a strong advocate of its mission.

(From the 2004 news story)

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Leonard Munstermann