Thomas D. Sharkey

Thomas D.   Sharkey
  • University Distinguished Professor
  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory


Thomas D. Sharkey, a plant biochemist, is a highly respected scientist who studies the biochemistry and biophysics that determine the exchange of gases between the biosphere and the atmosphere, a subject he has been investigating for more than 30 years. His research has led to significant advances in his field, including measurement of carbon dioxide concentration in leaves and the biophysical resistance to carbon dioxide diffusion within leaves. Sharkey is a faculty member in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the MSU-Department of Energy (DOE) Plant Research Laboratory (PRL), and is a founding member of the newly established Plant Resilience Institute at MSU.

Sharkey received his B.S. in biology from Lyman Briggs College and his Ph.D. in botany and plant pathology, all from MSU. After postdoctoral work in Australia, he spent five years at the Desert Research Institute in Reno before going on to spend 20 years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and was then recruited back to MSU in 2008 to become chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology—a position he held until April 2017.

Sharkey’s honors include election as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Society of Plant Biologists, and being named a Highly Cited Researcher by the Institute of Scientific Information.