Congratulations to Dr. Robert Blankenship of Washington University in St. Louis. Dr. Blankship will receive the ACS Midwest Award on Thursday October 22nd. Please join us that evening to hear a keynote address from Dr. Blankenship immediately proceeding the awards reception.
Robert Blankenship is the 71st recipient of the ACS Midwest Award. Bob was born and grew up in southeast Nebraska. He has a BS in Chemistry from Nebraska Wesleyan University, a PhD in Chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley and was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington in Seattle. He was a faculty member at Amherst College and then spent 21 years at Arizona State University. From 2002 until 2006 he was Chair of the ASU Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. In 2006 he moved to Washington University in St. Louis, where he is the Lucille P. Markey Distinguished Professor of Arts and Sciences in the Departments of Biology and Chemistry. In 2009 he became the Founding Director of the Photosynthetic Antenna Research Center (PARC), a DOE Energy Frontier Research Center. He has mentored thirty PhD students, twelve MS students, thirty three postdoctoral fellows and hundreds of undergraduate students. He has published 370 papers and has been awarded numerous honors and prizes.
Dr. Blankenship has spent his entire scientific career of more than 40 years researching the highly interdisciplinary subject of photosynthesis. This research has used a wide range of techniques including ultrafast optical spectroscopy, magnetic resonance and mass spectrometry as well as biochemistry, genomics and molecular evolutionary analysis. His research investigates energy transfer and electron transfer processes in photosynthetic antenna and reaction center complexes. One of the hallmarks of his research program is that it emphasizes studying the mechanism of energy storage in the complete range of known organisms that do photosynthesis, with the goal of discovering the essential aspects of how light energy is stored. One of his longstanding interests is unraveling the origin and early evolution of photosynthesis. Recent work focuses on how the efficiency of the photosynthetic process might be improved to help meet the energy and food needs of the world’s population.