Jay Thelen honored with 2024 Distinguished Research Award 

Thelen is a professor of biochemistry.

Jay Thelen, professor, Biochemistry, has received the 2024 Distinguished Research Award.  

Thelen’s career highlights include establishing a successful research program focusing on understanding the regulation of de novo fatty acid biosynthesis in plants and algae. His research program excels in grantsmanship, scholarly activity and entrepreneurship, with notable achievements including over $18 million in extramural grants, 150 research publications and four licensed patents.

Jay Thelen
Jay Thelen

Thelen’s pioneering work in phosphoproteomics, particularly the development of the Kinase Client assay, has garnered international attention and significantly advanced understanding of plant signal transduction. Additionally, his research on fatty acid biosynthesis has practical implications for improving crop seed oil content. 

“Jay publishes in high impact journals including his most recent research on the regulation of de novo fatty acid biosynthesis in plants which was published in Nature Communications and demonstrates a novel form of regulation for the committed step for this pathway,” said nominator Gary Stacey, Curators’ Distinguished Professor, Plant Science and Technology. “Coupled with some of his other recent breakthroughs on the important enzyme complex, acetyl-CoA carboxylase, he is very close to making substantial, heritable increases in leaf and seed oil accumulation in crop plants. 

“Jay has been a key player in MU’s and CAFNR’s international reputation in Plant Biochemistry/Plant Biology. He exemplifies all aspects for which the Distinguished Research Professor Award stands. Jay Thelen is one of if not best scientists and researchers in the field of plant biochemistry in the world,” said Douglas Randall, professor emeritus, Biochemistry.