Washington, D.C.—The American Society for Plant Biology (ASPB) awarded Wolf B. Frommer, director of Carnegie’s Department of Plant Biology, the Lawrence Bogorad Award for Excellence in Plant Biology Research for “his major contributions in the development of fundamental tools and technologies essential for breakthrough discoveries that advance our understanding of glucose, sucrose, ammonium, amino acid, and nucleotide transport in plants.”
Frommer joined Carnegie’s Department of Plant Biology in 2003 as a staff member. Just four years later he became acting director of the department, a position that became permanent in 2009. Before coming to Carnegie, Frommer was a full professor and Chair of Plant Physiology at the Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen in Germany where he led a group of 80. He was also cofounder and director of the Center of Plant Molecular Biology in Tübingen, where he oversaw a staff of 150.
“Wolf develops novel technologies to address fundamental questions in plant science. These are a foundation for increasing the yield of crops and bolstering the world’s food supply,” remarked Carnegie president Richard A. Meserve. “His leadership has had an enormous impact on plant science. We are proud that his contributions have been recognized.”
Frommer believes that understanding the basic mechanisms of plant life can help us solve problems in agriculture, the environment and medicine, and can even provide understanding of human disease processes. He works to solve both fundamental and real-world problems. In addition to his basic research, Frommer was founder of the biotechnology company SYMPORE GmbH, in Tübingen, and was a founder and vice president of the Joint Bioenergy Institute’s Feedstocks Division, in Emeryville, CA. He was also a visiting faculty member at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories.
Among other innovations, Frommer and his team developed new so-called nano-sensors that, with advanced imaging methods, can measure metabolites in live plant and animal cells. This work helps to understand how plants distribute energy from leaves, the sites of photosynthesis, to roots and seeds.
Frommer has received two major scientific prizes, the highest German research award, the Gottfried-Wilhelm-Leibniz Prize in 1988, and the Körber Award for European Science in 2001. The latter recognized him as one of the most outstanding biologists in Europe. He is also a fellow of AAAS and has published more than 230 scientific papers. Frommer also has more than 30 patents or patent applications.
The Lawrence Bogorad Award for Excellence in Plant Biology Research was established by the ASPB in 2005 to honor Dr. Bogorad’s many contributions to plant biology, including his influential efforts to bring the techniques of molecular biology to bear on problems in plant biology; his groundbreaking research on chloroplast genetics, biogenesis, structure, and function; and his inspired teaching and mentoring. The award is a made biennially to a plant scientist whose work both illuminates the present and suggests paths to enlighten the future.
ASPB is a professional scientific society, headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, devoted to the advancement of the plant sciences worldwide. With a membership of some 4,500 plant scientists from throughout the United States and more than 50 other nations, the Society publishes two of the most widely cited plant science journals: The Plant Cell and Plant Physiology. For more information about ASPB, please visit http://www.aspb.org/. Also follow ASPB on Facebook at facebook.com/myASPB and on Twitter @ASPB.