Campus News

Fourth annual Ljungdahl Lecture to be held at UGA Nov. 9

Athens, Ga. – Michael Russell of Jet Propulsion Laboratory, known for his research on the emergence of life on wet, rocky, sunlight planets, will deliver the fourth annual University of Georgia Lars G. Ljungdahl Lecture Nov. 9 at 3:30 p.m. in room C127 of the Davison Life Science Building. The event is free and open to the public.

Russell is a member of the Planetary Chemistry Astrobiology Group at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and is on the California Institute of Technology faculty. His research interests focus on the emergence of life and oxygenic photosynthesis in the context of hydrothermal systems on wet, rocky, sunlit planets.

“With new planets orbiting distant stars being identified almost on a daily basis, anyone interested in the origins of life or new life forms will be interested Dr. Russell’s talk,” said Alan Przybyla, a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology in the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.

Among his many honors and achievements, Russell has been the Dixon Research Professor of Glasgow University in Scotland; a National Center for Scientific Research professor at the University of Grenoble, France; and a NASA senior research fellow.

The lecture is named in honor of a long-time and much-honored UGA faculty member, Lars G. Ljungdahl. He and his late wife, Despy Karlas, a professor of piano and noted performer with the now Hugh Hodgson School of Music, provided funding for the lecture series.

Ljungdahl came to UGA in 1967 and immediately began building a reputation as an outstanding research scientist and teacher. As the Georgia Power Distinguished Professor of Biotechnology, he received numerous honors, including fellowships in the American Academy of Microbiology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and foreign membership in the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences. He worked with the Georgia Research Alliance for 10 years and served as a member of the State of Georgia Governor’s Advisory Council on Science and Technology from 1992-96.

Ljungdahl was editor-in-chief for the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology from 1986-95 and director of the Georgia Biotechnology Center from 1994-2001. He also served as director of the Center for Biological Resource Recovery before his retirement.

For more information about the UGA department of biochemistry and molecular biology, see