Kris Niyogi

Kris Niyogi, a graduate of Oak Ridge High School, led more than 10 years of research in Berkeley, Calif., Which resulted in explanations of how green plants protect themselves from excessive sunlight. The job gave him an election in 2016 at the National Academy of Sciences.

Kris Niyogi

This prestigious honor was previously bestowed in 1998 on his mother, Audrey Stevens, a biochemist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. She discovered the enzyme that copies DNA into the RNA molecules it makes, including the sent RNA.

Applying the new understanding of plant photo protection mechanisms, Niyogi and his collaborators are identifying ways to help improve crop productivity.

Kris Niyogi with his parents, Salil Niyogi and Audrey Stevens, in Oak Ridge.  Like his father, Chris played football and, as a midfielder, was the co-captain of the Oak Ridge High School football team that won the state championship in 1982. Like his mother, Chris was elected to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences. .  Like both parents, he is an outstanding biological scientist.

“Much of the research in my lab is motivated by the need to increase and support food production this century to meet growing demand,” Niyogi said during his recent Community Lecture by Dick Smyser, sponsored by ORNL Friends. and held through Zoom. This was FORNL’s first Smyser lecture for 2021, which honors Smyser, the first editor of The Oak Ridger and an active member of FORNL.