John Mumford grew up in Indiana and Massachusetts. He studied at Tufts and Purdue Universities, with a BS in Entomology in 1974. He worked for the Agricultural Extension Service in Indiana before coming to Britain as a Marshall Scholar in 1975 to study Applied Entomology at Imperial College London. After the Marshall Scholarship he went New Zealand as a research fellow, and returned to Imperial College in 1979 as a lecturer in Biology.
He is now Professor of Natural Resource Management in the Imperial College Centre for Environmental Policy. Much of his research has been on tropical pests: on cocoa in SE Asia, cotton and desert locust in Africa, coffee in S America, and fruit crops from S Asia to Africa and the Mediterranean. He has designed area-wide eradication and suppression programmes for invasive pests from Australia to the Azores, using sterile insects, harvest management, traps and baits. He is working now on European projects related to plant health risk analysis in international trade; the role of uncertainty in fisheries management; agriculture and food bioterrorism and bio-crime; and risk analysis on use of genetically modified mosquitoes in public health campaigns.
He is an amateur beekeeper.