UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Donald A. Bryant, Ernest C. Pollard Professor of Biotechnology, has been elected by the Fellows of the American Academy of Microbiology (AAM) to the Board of Governors. The three-year term is an elected position that is voted upon by the membership of AAM, the honorific arm of the American Society for Microbiology.
Bryant has received many other awards and honors throughout his career. He was the Daniel I. Arnon Lecturer at the University of California at Berkeley in 2012, and he was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2011. He received the Daniel R. Tershak Memorial Teaching Award from Penn State's Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2010 and, in 2006, he received a prize for the best basic research paper from the Rebeiz Foundation. In 1995, he was named a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. He has served as editor-in-chief of the journal Frontiers in Microbial Physiology and Metabolism. Throughout his years at Penn State he has mentored more than 45 graduate students and many undergraduate students.
Bryant's research focuses on photosynthesis in bacteria. His long-term objectives are to understand the structure, function, assembly and regulation of expression of the photosynthetic apparatuses of cyanobacteria and green-sulfur-bacteria. "Cyanobacteria produce oxygen as a by-product of photosynthesis, and green-sulfur bacteria can survive only in environments where oxygen is absent," Bryant said. "I find it interesting to study both the similarities and the differences between these two groups of organisms in terms of their physiologies and metabolisms."
Among the current research topics in Bryant's lab are the ecophysiology of bacteria that synthesize chlorophyll (chlorophototrophs) in hot-spring microbial mats, the application of genomic and systems biology approaches to phototrophic bacteria, gene regulation, photosynthetic physiology, and the structure and biogenesis of photosynthetic antenna systems. To investigate these topics, he uses two model organisms: a cyanobacterium, Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002, and Chlorobaculum tepidum, a green-sulfur bacterium.
Bryant joined the Penn State faculty in 1981 and in 1992 was appointed the Ernest C. Pollard Professor of Biotechnology. He currently holds a part-time appointment at Montana State University in Bozeman, as well. Bryant was a postdoctoral fellow at Cornell University from 1979 to 1981, and also completed a National Science Foundation/National Council for Scientific Research postdoctoral fellowship at the Pasteur Institute in Paris from 1977 to 1979. Bryant 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.