Charlotte Payne

Charlotte Payne

PhD student

Conservation Science Group, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge

I began doing research out of a curiosity about human origins and a love of jungles and great apes. But I soon realised that no matter how we got here, we're now a species that is heading downhill fast, and taking most of the planet with us.

So I switched my focus to trying to understand how we can improve the health and wellbeing of humans and the planet as a whole.

Working on insectivory in chimpanzees taught me the value of insects as food. I became interested in the potential public health value of insects as human food. And while I certainly became somewhat skeptical about the framing of insects as a panacea, I still believe in their value - not least because I know that so many others do, too, although they might not have the platform to talk about it.

My current focus is conservation science and edible insects, so for my PhD I'm also monitoring the impact of caterpillars and caterpillar harvesting on biodiversity, agricultural yields and rural food security in Burkina Faso.

January 2017
Cambridge, UK