Home > News and Events > 2017 News > Bryant receives D.C. White Research and Mentoring Award from the American Society for Microbiology

Bryant receives D.C. White Research and Mentoring Award from the American Society for Microbiology

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14 September 2017

Don BryantDonald A. Bryant, Ernest C. Pollard Professor of Biotechnology and Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Penn State, has been awarded the 2018 D.C. White Research and Mentoring Award by the American Society for Microbiology, the world’s oldest and largest life sciences organization. The award recognizes distinguished accomplishments in interdisciplinary and collaborative research as well as mentoring in microbiology.

In his research, Bryant applies biochemical, genetic, and systems biology approaches to study the gene regulation, physiology, and structure of bacteria that use photosynthesis to capture and convert light into biochemical energy. He is particularly interested in understanding photosynthesis in two groups of bacteria that differ in physiology and metabolism, in part because of their relationship with oxygen: cyanobacteria, which produce oxygen as a by-product of photosynthesis, and green bacteria, which can survive only in environments where oxygen is absent. Bryant has also investigated how the environment impacts the physiology of bacteria that synthesize chlorophyll -- a pigment that absorbs light in plants and bacteria that perform photosynthesis --in hot-spring microbial mats. Bryant has collaborated with nearly 100 scientists world-wide and his research has resulted in nearly 400 total research papers since 1975.

Bryant’s commitment to teaching and mentorship has been recognized in the past with the Daniel R. Tershak Memorial Teaching Award from the Penn State Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2010. Throughout his career, he has mentored 36 postdoctoral researchers, 53 graduate students, and many undergraduate students. Bryant was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology in 1995, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2011, and a member of the Board of Governors of the American Academy of Microbiology in 2012. He has served as the associate editor of Archives of Microbiology and Photosynthesis Research and as editor-in-chief of the journal Frontiers in Microbial Physiology and Metabolism, and is currently serving a second term on the editorial board of The Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Bryant joined the Penn State faculty in 1981 and was appointed the Ernest C. Pollard Professor of Biotechnology in 1992. He holds a part-time appointment at Montana State University and is currently a visiting professor in the Singapore Centre on Environmental Life Sciences Engineering at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Bryant completed a Department of Energy postdoctoral research fellowship at Cornell University in 1981 and a National Science Foundation / National Council for Scientific Research (CNRS) postdoctoral fellowship at the Pasteur Institute in Paris in 1979. He earned a doctoral degree in molecular biology at the University of California at Los Angeles in 1977 and a bachelor's degree in chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1972.

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