Entomologist and Curator of Hymenoptera

Dr. Sean Brady in shorts standing on gravel in front of a tent-like "malaise" trap to catch bees. Green brush is behind him.
Dr. Sean Brady using a tent-like "malaise" trap to catch bees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Image courtesy of Sam Droege, USGS.

Dr. Sean Brady has been with the Smithsonian in various capacities for nearly ten years. He was a postdoc in the Department of Entomology at Cornell University from 2002-2003 and a postdoc in the NMNH Department of Entomology from 2003-2004. He held the position of temporary, trust-funded Research Entomologist in the NMNH Department of Entomology from 2004 to 2008. In 2008 he was hired as a federally funded Research Entomologist and in 2012 he became permanent. In 2013 he was appointed chair of the department. Sean is the author of at least 45 publications addressing the origins of social behavior and other key innovations in aculeate Hymenoptera, particularly bees and ants.

Sean has a strong interest in co-evolutionary patterns and dynamics between Hymenoptera and their symbionts (e.g., other arthropods, fungi, bacteria) and in the sociality in insects. His research concentrates on increasing our understanding of the origins, diversification, and molecular evolution of social insects, especially ants and bees.” He is “particularly interested in applying comparative approaches that incorporate evidence from systematics, ecology, genetics, and genomics in order to address specific questions in ant and bee evolution.”