MABR Biochemistry Scientist Receives Galliard Medal

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Christoph Benning, MABR biochemistry and molecular biology researcher, received the Terry Galliard Award at the 19th International Symposium on Plant Lipids in Cairns, Australia.

Benning was recognized as an outstanding scientist who continues to make highly significant contributions to the field of plant lipid research. Benning and his research partners identified novel genes encoding enzymes of sulfolipid, galactolipid and betaine lipid biosynthesis in bacteria, plants and algae. His work enables scientists to understand the biosynthesis of these lipids.

Many of Benning’s findings have been patented, and some are beginning to be licensed to biotech companies for the development of novel crop plants. Benning has isolated the gene for a transcription factor regulating seed oil biosynthesis in plants. He discovered the remodeling of membranes following phosphate deprivation in plants and is working on uncovering the mechanisms of lipid trafficking in plant cells.

The Terry Galliard Award is named after the founding organizer of the International Symposia on Plant Lipids, which began in 1974 in Norwich, Great Britain. Galliard worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the laboratory of Paul Stumpf, one of the early centers of plant fatty acid and lipid research in the United States. Michigan State University’s John Ohlrogge was also a postdoc in the Stumpf laboratory and is a previous winner of the Galliard Medal.

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