J. Clark Lagarias, a professor of molecular and cellular biology at the University of California at Davis, will present the 2009/2010 Ernest C. Pollard Lecture at 4 p.m. on March 29, in room 101 of the Althouse Laboratory on Penn State's University Park campus. This free public lecture, titled "One Photochemistry to Rule Them All: Spectral Diversity of Bilin-GAF Photosensors," will focus on a group of plant light-receptor proteins known as phytochromes, as well as on the biomedical applications of phytochromes, such as fluorescence imaging.
Lagarias is internationally known for his investigations of how plants perceive light. In particular, his research has focused on phytochromes and he and his students have developed tools for producing phytochromes in living cells. In addition, they have engineered phytochromes to make them fluoresce, which is a powerful tool for monitoring the interactions between proteins within living cells. Lagarias's research holds potential for improving crop yield through the modification of a plant's responsiveness to light. His work also may have biomedical, diagnostic and therapeutic applications.
Lagarias is the recipient of the 1999 Paul K. and Ruth R. Stumpf Professorship in Plant Biochemistry. In 2001, he was was elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences. Lagarias joined the faculty of the University of California at Davis in 1980. He earned bachelor's degrees in botany and chemistry in 1975 and a doctorate in chemistry in 1979, all from the University of California at Berkeley.
The Ernest C. Pollard Lecture is named in honor of the professor of physics who taught at Penn State from 1961 to 1971 and founded the Department of Biophysics. In 1979, the Department of Biophysics merged with the Department of Microbiology and Biochemistry to form the present Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. For more information or access assistance, contact Tamara Housel at 814-865-3072.