Christoph Benning

Christoph  Benning
  • MSU Foundation Professor
  • MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory
  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Plant Biology


Christoph Benning, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology and director of the MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory, is one of the world’s foremost experts in plant lipid metabolism.

Benning received his MS from Albert-Ludwigs Universitaet in Freiburg, Germany, and his PhD in genetics from Michigan State University. He came to MSU as an assistant professor in 1998 and was promoted to professor in 2005.

Benning has been working for more than 20 years on different aspects of lipid metabolism in photosynthetic organisms. Recently, he has applied genomic and genetic approaches to identify key regulatory factors and  enzymes required for triacylglycerol biosynthesis and turnover in microalgae, and led a collaborative effort with colleagues from the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center that resulted in a significant early step toward producing better plants for biofuels. Benning also has extensive experience as a journal editor and is currently the editor-in-chief of The Plant Journal. He has received many honors throughout his career, including being named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2014.