J. Martin Bollinger Jr., professor of chemistry and of biochemistry and molecular biology, has been named the Russell and Mildred Marker Professor of Natural Products Chemistry. The professorship encourages new levels of achievement among promising faculty and provides resources to pursue new lines of research or innovative teaching methods. The professorship was established by the late Russell Earl Marker, professor emeritus of chemistry at Penn State, whose pioneering synthetic methods revolutionized the steroid-hormone industry and opened the door to the current era of hormone therapies, including the birth-control pill.
Bollinger's research focuses on understanding how enzymes use metals in concert with oxygen to catalyze kinetically challenging reactions. Such biochemical transformations are central to the regulation of normal cellular physiology and to the development and progression of important human diseases. The core objective of his research, which he conducts jointly with Carsten Krebs, professor of chemistry and of biochemistry and molecular biology, is to elucidate the principles underlying nature's design of these catalysts.
Bollinger’s previous awards and honors include and the Penn State Eberly College of Science Distinguished Faculty Mentoring Award in 2021, the William C. Rose Award from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2021, the Penn State Howard Palmer Mentoring Award for 2011 to 2012, the Penn State Faculty Scholar Medal for Outstanding Achievement in 2009, the Early Career Award by the Society of Biological Inorganic Chemistry (SBIC) in 2008, the Searle Scholar Award in 1996, and the Camille and Henry Dreyfus New Faculty Award in 1995. He was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2010.
Prior to joining the faculty at Penn State, Bollinger was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School from 1993 to 1995. He earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry at Penn State in 1986 and a doctoral degree in biochemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1993.