Contact: Diane Greenberg or Mona S. Rowe
Upton, NY - John Shanklin, a biochemist at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory, is one of 60 researchers from around the nation to be honored with the second annual Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. The award is the highest honor given by the U.S. government to outstanding scientists and engineers beginning their careers.
Ten government agencies nominate promising candidates for the award. The supporting agencies are: the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Transportation, and Veterans' Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency; the National Aeronautics and Space Administration; and the National Science Foundation.
In a press release issued by the White House, President Clinton commented, "These gifted young professionals exemplify the best of our science and technology community and will help set the scientific pace for the U.S. and the world in the years ahead. Their passion for discovery and their determination to explore new scientific frontiers will drive this nation forward and build a better America for the twenty-first century."
Dr. Shanklin is also one of five researchers who will receive the second annual Young Scientist Award issued by DOE's Office of Energy Research for extraordinary scientific and technical achievement.
Dr. Shanklin will receive his awards in Washington, D.C., on November 3. As a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, Dr. Shanklin can receive up to $500,000 over a five-year period to further his research.
"These awards are both a surprise and a great honor. I would like to thank the U.S. Department of Energy and Brookhaven National Laboratory for the outstanding opportunity they have given me to pursue my research goals," Dr. Shanklin said. "The unique academic environment here at Brookhaven allows researchers the freedom and support necessary tosuccessfully tackle significant scientific problems."
Dr. Shanklin and his collaborators have made significant progress in understanding desaturation, the process in which saturated fats are converted into unsaturated fats. Recently, they have used genetic techniques to improve the properties of desaturase, the enzyme plants use for this process. This work may have a substantial impact on the $80-billion-per-year market for plant oils. This basic research will affect many industries that depend on unsaturated plant oils, including the food, pharmaceutical and chemical companies.
Born in Manchester, England, John Shanklin earned his B.Sc. in biology in 1981 from the University of Lancaster, England. He came to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to earn his M.Sc. and Ph.D. in forestry and horticulture, in 1984 and 1988, respectively.
After three years as a postdoctoral fellow at the U.S. Department of Energy's Plant Research Laboratory at Michigan State University, he joined Brookhaven in 1992 as an assistant biochemist. He was named associate biochemist in 1994, and assumed his current title in 1996. Dr. Shanklin is also an adjunct professor at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
Brookhaven National Laboratory carries out basic and applied research in the physical, biomedical and enviornmental sciences and in selected energy technologies. Brookhaven is operated by Associated Universities, Inc., a nonprofit research management organization, under contract with the U.S. Department of Energy.
NOTE TO LOCAL EDITORS: John Shanklin is a resident of Shoreham, New York.