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Benning Named Director of MSU/DOE Plant Research Laboratory

Algae in Benning lab

Christoph Benning, Michigan State University professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, will become the director of the MSU/ U.S. Department of Energy Plant Research Laboratory beginning Aug. 16.

Christoph Benning

Christoph Benning, Michigan State University professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, will become the director of the MSU/ U.S. Department of Energ

“Professor Benning is a distinguished plant biochemist with a strong record of disciplinary contributions,” said R. James Kirkpatrick, College of Natural Science dean. “I am looking forward to working with him to continue to build on the extraordinary legacy of the PRL and the plant sciences at MSU.”

Benning is one of the world’s foremost experts in plant lipid metabolism. He led a collaborative effort with colleagues from the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center that resulted in an early step toward producing better plants for biofuels.

He was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2014 and was recently named an MSU Foundation Professor in recognition of his exceptional contributions to research and instruction.

“Taking up the responsibilities as director of the PRL represents a great opportunity for me to be actively engaged in moving plant sciences at MSU forward,” Benning said. “My experiences as a graduate student in the PRL during the 1980s and as a non-PRL MSU faculty member in recent years are providing me with a unique perspective in meeting current challenges and developing new initiatives in the plant sciences.

He succeeds Michael Thomashow, university distinguished professor of plant, soil and microbial sciences, and microbiology and molecular genetics.  Thomashow will be leading a new initiative to be announced this fall.

“I want to thank Professor Thomashow for his outstanding leadership of the PRL,” said Kirkpatrick. “The laboratory continues to thrive in large measure due to his leadership in hiring outstanding faculty and redirecting the lab’s research as the scientific focus of the DOE changed.”

To learn more about Benning’s recent research, watch a brief video.

–Val Osowski via MSU Today

 

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