As we teeter at the brink of a worldwide energy crisis, WSU scientists are leading the quest to harness the tremendous energy potential of green plants and algae. With new tools for exploring the intricacies of photosynthesis, researchers are finding new avenues for tapping the power of plants without compromising our food supply or damaging our environment.

What if we could see inside living plants and algae and easily assess their potential as food or fuel? Can plants and algae be bred or engineered to be more productive while reducing CO2 emissions? What if farmers could quickly determine the health of their crops and apply precise remedies to improve yields? Dr. David Kramer is at the forefront of this new revolution in plant science.


Featuring: David Kramer, Ph.D.

David Kramer’s research at WSU focuses on increasing plant productivity and redirecting photosynthetic energy toward new and efficient biochemical pathways in effort to harness bioenergy. A primary goal of his investigation of energy transduction is to understand how biochemical/biophysical reactions of photosynthesis work, individually and together, to define the “energy strategy” of plants and algae. To approach this goal, Dr. Kramer’s laboratory has developed an innovative and extensive “toolbox” of non-invasive instruments, spectroscopic techniques, and basic knowledge that enable observation of photosynthesis in living plants in real time. These tools are becoming widely used by researchers worldwide. Dr. Kramer’s research is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Energy, and various state, corporate, and nonprofit partners.

Now a professor and fellow in the Institute of Biological Chemistry within the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences at WSU, Dr. Kramer joined the University faculty in 1995. He is past chair of the Graduate Program in Molecular Plant Sciences and director of the Global Plant Sciences Initiative at WSU. Professor Kramer serves on the editorial board of Plant Cell and Environment and as coordinating editor of Photosynthesis Research. He earned his master’s degree in cell biology at the University of Dayton and his doctoral degree in biophysics at the University of Illinois, and secured fellowships with the McKnight Foundation and with NSF/NATO.