After graduating from the University of Freiburg in historical anthropology, linguistics and biology, Kerstin Pannhorst worked in the exhibition department of the Neanderthal Museum near Düsseldorf and in the humanities department of the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin. She has studied at Université de Montréal and at National Taiwan University and is currently a doctoral student at the Chair for the History of Science at Humboldt University in Berlin. In 2016-17, she was a predoctoral fellow at the Institute of Taiwan History at Academia Sinica in Taipei. She is especially interested in the intersections between natural history specimens, the arts, global trade and economies of knowledge. Her dissertation will explore practices and conceptions of nature surounding the collecting and trading of insects in early twentieth-century Taiwan and focus on the mass-fabrication of research specimens, butterfly decorative art and knowledge.
During her time at the Museum für Naturkunde, she co-edited a volume giving space to multi-disciplinary perspectives on the museum's objects titled „Wissensdinge“ (Objects of Knowledge). She has co-curated several exhibitions on cultural history and history of science, including the anthropological section of "Schiller's Skull—Physiognomy of an Idée Fixe" at the Schiller-Museum in Weimar and "Looking at Apes" at the Neanderthal Museum.