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Prof Debra Mohnen
Dr Mohnen received her B.A. in biology from Lawrence University (Wisconsin) and her MS in botany and PhD in plant biology from the University of Illinois. Her PhD research was conducted at the Friedrich Miescher Institute in Basel, Switzerland. She held postdoctoral research associate positions at the USDA's Richard Russell Research Center and at the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center (CCRC) in Athens, GA where she won an NIH National Research Service Award for her postdoctoral research. She was appointed to the CCRC faculty in September 1990 and is currently Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and also adjunct faculty member in the Department of Plant Biology and member of the Plant Center at UGA.
Dr Mohnen has served on the Committee on the Status of Women in Plant Physiology of the American Society of Plant Physiologists, invited faculty sponsor for the UGA Association for Women in Science (AWIS), past member-at-large in the Cellulose and Renewable Materials Division of the American Chemical Society, and is currently a member of the Council for Chemical and Biochemical Sciences, Chemical Sciences, Geosciences, and Biosciences Division in the Office of Basic Energy Sciences, Office of Science, U.S. Department of Energy.
As Co-PI on the NSF-funded “Plant Cell Wall Biosynthesis Research Network” Dr Mohnen established the originally NSF-funded service “CarboSource Services”, that provides rare substrates for plant wall polysaccharide synthesis to the research community. Her research centers on the biosynthesis, function and structure of plant cell wall polysaccharides is supported by funding from the USDA, NSF and DOE. Her emphasis is on pectin biosynthesis and pectin function in plants and human health, and on the improvement of plant cell wall structure so as to improve the efficiency of conversion of plant wall biomass to biofuels. Dr. Mohnen was awarded the 2008 Bruce Stone Award by the Plant Polysaccharide Workshop for contributions and promising research in the area of Pectin Biosynthesis. She was Chair of the 2009 Plant Cell Walls Gordon Research Conference. Dr Mohnen is Activity Lead in Plant Cell Wall Biosynthesis Research and Focus Area Lead in Plant Biomass in the DOE-funded BioEnergy Science Center (BESC). She serves on scientific advisory boards for multiple bioenergy centers.