Creative Research Medal 2012
Michael Hahn, professor of plant biology, is a pioneer in research on plant cell walls. His laboratory has generated more than 150 new antibodies that recognize specific carbohydrate structures within plant cell walls, thereby quadrupling the number of such antibodies that exist worldwide. This antibody toolkit provides new tools to researchers and is available through the CarboSource stock center. These antibodies have made possible, for the first time, broad and comprehensive studies of plant cell wall biology. Hahn’s lab has developed a reliable robotized system that makes possible the rapid screening of cell wall/biomass samples for the presence of specific structures recognized by the antibodies in the toolkit. His lab also utilizes the antibodies for visualization of where cell wall structures are located in plant tissues, providing new insights into how walls change during plant development, and for observing how cell wall structure is altered during biomass processing for the production of biofuels and other products.