Michael S. Engel (born 24 September 1971 in Creve Coeur, Missouri) is a paleontologist and entomologist. He has undertaken field work in Central Asia, Asia Minor, and the Western Hemisphere, and published more than 245 papers in scientific journals. He gained his training at the University of Kansas where he received a B.S. in Cellular Biology and a B.A. in Chemistry in 1993, and at Cornell University where in 1998 he obtained his Ph.D. in Entomology. In 2006 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for his work in insect paleontology. Dr. Engel is an authority on the geological history, phylogeny, and taxonomy of insects, and has made particular contributions to the systematics of living and fossil Zoraptera, Isoptera, Dermaptera, Raphidioptera, Neuroptera, and Hymenoptera, most notably the bees, including the honey bees (genus Apis). Some of Dr. Engel's research images have been included in art exhibits on the aesthetic value of scientific imagery
Among his current positions are Research Associate at the American Museum of Natural History in New York; Fellow of the Linnean Society of London; and joint appointments as Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Courtesy Professor in the Department of Geology, and Curator-in-Charge (Senior Curator) in the Division of Entomology and Courtesy Curator in the Division of Invertebrate Paleontology of the Natural History Museum at the University of Kansas.
Ismael A. Hinojosa-Díaz, Allan H. Smith-Pardo, Daniel J. Bennett, Jon Kieckhefer, Stephanie J. Swenson, Ming-luen Jeng, and Steven R. Davis are just some of his numerous students from all over the world
With David Grimaldi, also an insect systematist and paleontologist, he is co-author of Evolution of the Insects (2005).
Outside of his academic expertise Dr. Engel is a violinist, well versed in theology, philosophy, and antiquities, and is a member of the United Church of Christ (his father, Rev. A.G. Engel, was a long-time Conference Minister with the United Church of Christ). He has two siblings - Elisabeth Anne Engel (1975- ), Curator of Artifacts for the Waukesha County Historial Society & Museum in Wisconsin, and Jeffrey Gayle Engel (1980- ). On 7 July 2008 Engel became engaged to Ms. Kellie K. Magill (1970- ) at the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa.
In 1989 Engel moved to the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas and completed undergraduate study in Chemistry and Cellular Biology. Engel moved to Cornell University in Ithaca, New York and in 1998 completed doctoral studies in Systematic Entomology.
Along with fellow paleontologist and entomologist David A. Grimaldi, Curator at the American Museum, Engel published in 2005 a comprehensive overview of insect evolutionary history (Evolution of the Insects, Cambridge University Press). This work synthesized for the first time the fossil record of insects with the wealth of information on the biology and ecology of the modern diversity.
In 2006-2007 Engel resumed regular activity in the American Museum of Natural History while a Guggenheim Fellow, completing work on the geological history of termites and their influence on carbon recycling in paleoenvironments. In 2008 he received the Charles Schuchert Award of the Paleontological Society for his contributions to the field.