Reuben Peters, professor in Iowa State University’s Roy J. Carver Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology (BBMB), was selected as a Roy J. Carver Professor of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology by Beate Schmittmann, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Daniel J. Robison, Endowed Dean’s Chair of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
The professorship, created by the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust to support research in biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology, is part of a broad net of support that promotes innovative scholarship and discovery in these fields.
Peters, a faculty member at Iowa State since 2002, is known throughout the world for his collaborative research which integrates multiple disciplines. He is also highly regarded for his commitment to mentoring both graduate and undergraduate students in research and career exploration within and outside of academia. He created one of Iowa State’s first learning communities for graduate students.
Peters and his group study biosynthetic pathways for terpenoid natural products, focusing on the biomolecular enzymatic structure-function relationships underlying the relevant catalytic activity, as well as the biological activities exhibited by the resulting compounds. His research impacts both human and plant health, improving both crop production and protection, including natural antibiotics for plants, as well as terpenoids of pharmaceutical interest.
“Dr. Peters epitomizes what is expected of an outstanding university citizen,” said Kristen Johansen, Roy J. Carver Professor of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology, and chair of the Roy J. Carver Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology. “His research program is superb and elevates the status of ISU nationally and internationally – and his attention and care to graduate student training is second-to-none.”
Peters has secured grant funding from prominent agencies such as the U.S. National Institute of Health’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences, the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In 2015 he was named a fellow of the American Association of the Advancement of Science. Peters has also been awarded an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship, among other honors, including the Phytochemical Society of North America’s Neish Young Investigator Award, the LAS Mid-Career Research Award and the LAS Graduate Mentoring Award.
The Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust in Muscatine, Iowa, is one of the largest private philanthropic foundations in the state of Iowa, with assets of more than $325 million and annual grant distributions of nearly $16 million. It was created through the will of Roy J. Carver, a Muscatine industrialist and philanthropist, who died in 1981.
The Iowa State University Roy J. Carver Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology is jointly administered by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. It offers bachelor’s through doctoral level degrees in biochemistry and biophysics, and also provides graduate degrees in several interdisciplinary majors.