Second annual Ljungdahl Lecture to be held at UGA on Oct. 1

Athens, Ga. – Harold L. Drake, professor of ecological microbiology at the University of Bayreuth in Germany, will deliver the second annual Lars G. Ljungdahl Lecture at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 1, in room C127 of the Davison Life Science Complex on the University of Georgia campus.

The event, named in honor of a long-time UGA faculty member, is open free to the public.

Drake’s lecture is entitled “Acetogens and Other Art Hidden in the Maze of Intermediary Ecosystem Metabolism.”

Funding for the lecture series was provided by Ljungdahl and his wife, Despy Karlas, who was a professor of piano and noted performer for decades with what is now the UGA Hugh Hodgson School of Music and who passed away in May.

Ljungdahl came to UGA in 1967 and immediately began building a reputation as an outstanding research scientist and teacher. As 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 at the same time served as a member ofthe State of Georgia Governor’s Advisory Council on Science and Technology, from 1992-1996.

Ljungdahl was editor-in-chief for the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology from 1986 through 1995 and director of the Georgia Biotechnology Center from 1994 to 2001. He also served as director of the Center for Biological Resource Recovery.

After earning a diploma from Stockholm City Technical School he began work full time at the Karolinska Institute as a technician and at the same time pursued studies toward a chemical engineering degree, which he obtained from Stockholm Technical Institute in 1945.

He worked as a research chemist at the Stockholm Brewery company from 1947-58, and then worked at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, where he finished his doctoral degree in 1964. At Case, he worked with the legendary Harland Wood, one of America’s most honored biochemists and co-discoverer with Ljungdahl of the so-called Wood-Ljungdahl Pathway, which involves carbon dioxide fixation and acetate synthesis.