Robert L. Last

Robert L.  Last
  • Barnett Rosenberg Chair in Biological Science
  • Established through the MSU Foundation in honor of Dr. Barnett Rosenberg
  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • MSU AgBio Research


Robert L. Last, Barnett Rosenberg Professor in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, is a pioneer in using advanced, high-throughput genetic screening and analysis techniques to unlock the secrets of plant biochemistry. He is involved in several genomics projects to develop a systematic understanding of the regulation of biosynthetic pathways of importance to flowering plants and the animals that depend on them for sustenance. Last is also director for the National Institute of General Medical Sciences Graduate Training Program at MSU, and holds joint appointments in the Departments of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Plant Biology.

Last received a B.A. in chemistry from Ohio Wesleyan University, his Ph.D. in biological sciences from Carnegie-Mellon University, and was a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at the Whitehead Institute at MIT. Prior to joining MSU in 2004, he served as director of Discovery Genomics, Inc., professor at the Boyce Thompson Institute at Cornell University, and program director for the National Science Foundation.

Last has earned many honors throughout his career, including being named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Society of Plant Biologists in 2009. In 2017, he was elected president-elect of the American Society of Plant Biologists.