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Lars G. Ljungdahl Lectureship

Professor Emeritus Lars G. Ljungdahl joined the faculty of the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology in 1967, and remained closely associated with us until his passing in July 2023 at the age of 96 years. Professor Ljungdahl was a pioneer in the field of anaerobic metabolism, and made remarkable discoveries leading to what is now known as the Ljungdahl/Wood pathway, and about supramolecular cellulosome complexes that efficiently digest cellulose. To celebrate his accomplishments and his deep ties to the University of Georgia, his late wife Despy Karlas established, in 2007, an endowment that makes this annual lectureship possible.

Past Speakers

Dr. Stephen Ragsdale – 10/23/2009 – (University of Michigan) – Title: Nickel, the Carbon Cycle, and the Wood-Ljungdahl Pathway

Dr. Harold L. Drake – 10/01/2010 – (Universität Bayreuth, Lehrstuhl Ecological Microbiology) – Title: Acetogens and Other Art Hidden in the Maze of Intermediary Ecosystem Metabolism


Dr. Lee Lynd – 11/04/2011 – (Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College) – Title: Microbial cellulose utilization: Fundamentals, Biotechnology, and a Bit of History

Dr. Michael Russell – 11/9/2012 – (California Institute of Technology, Planetary Chemistry & Astrobiology, Jet Propulsion Laboratory) – Title: Beating the Wood–Ljungdahl Pathway to the Origin of Life

Dr. Mary Lidstrom – 10/4/2013 – (University of Washington, Department of Microbiology) – Title: Methanotrophy Revisited: From Natural Gas Biocatalysis to Greenhouse Gas Mitigation

Dr. Rudolf Kurt Thauer – 4/16/2015 – (Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology, Marburg, Germany) – Title: Flavin-based Electron Bifurcation, the Key to the Energy Metabolism of Acetogenic Bacteria

Dr. Volker Mueller – 03/25/2016 – (Goethe-University Frankfurt, Department of Molecular Microbiology and Bioenergetics) – Title: It Does Not Always Take Two to Tango: Dance of Metabolic Modules in Acetogenic Bacteria Allows Metabolic Flexibility and Survival 

Dr. Dianne Newman – 3/13/2017 – (CalTech, Departments of Biology and Geobiology) – Title: The Importance of Growing Slowly: Roles for Redox-Active "Antibiotics" in Microbial Survival and Development

Dr. Nick Lane – 4/27/2018 – (University College London, Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment) – Title: Energy and Matter at the Origin of Life

Dr. J. Gregory Ferry — 11/30/2018 — (Penn State University) — Title: Evolution of the Global Methane Cycle with Implications for Life on Earth and Mars

Dr. Michelle O'Malley  — 01/17/2020 — (University of California Santa Barbara) — Title: Exploiting Anaerobes for Biomass Breakdown and Sustainable Chemistry

Dr. Eugene V. Koonin — 12/10/2021 — (National Institutes of Health) — Title: The world of viruses and its evolution (with an appendix on SARS-CoV-2)

Dr. Jay Keasling — 06/01/2023 — (University of California, Berkeley) — Title: Production of Supply-limited Natural Product Therapeutics Using Engineered Yeast

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