J. Martin Bollinger Jr., professor of chemistry and of biochemistry and molecular biology, has been named a recipient of the Eberly College of Science Distinguished Faculty Mentoring Award. The award was created in 2019 to honor faculty members in the college for their outstanding work in mentoring students, postdocs, and faculty.
A nominator said of Bollinger that “his mentoring is remarkable for its breadth, rigor, and diversity,” and that “no one has contributed more to the mentoring of our faculty,” in the Departments of Chemistry and of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Bollinger has been instrumental in recruiting and mentoring faculty, especially in Penn State’s metallobiochemistry group. Additionally, as chair of the faculty award committee in chemistry Bollinger has led or assisted in nominations that have led to numerous faculty awards.
Bollinger's research focuses on enzymes that use metal ions to catalyze—initiate or accelerate—reactions involving oxygen. The metal ions in these enzymes react with oxygen and form potent intermediates that break strong bonds between carbon and hydrogen atoms during biochemical transformations of organic compounds. Such biochemical transformations are central to the regulation of normal cellular physiology and to the development and progression of important human diseases. The central objective of his research, which he conducts jointly with Carsten Krebs, professor of chemistry and of biochemistry and molecular biology, is to elucidate the principles underlying nature's design of these amazing catalysts.
Bollinger’s previous awards and honors include the Camille and Henry Dreyfus New Faculty Award in 1995, the Searle Scholar Award in 1996, the Early Career Award by the Society of Biological Inorganic Chemistry (SBIC) in 2008, the Penn State Faculty Scholar Medal for Outstanding Achievement in 2009, and the Penn State Howard Palmer Mentoring Award for 2011 to 2012. In addition, he was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2010.
Prior to joining the faculty at Penn State, Bollinger was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School from 1993 to 1995. He earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry at Penn State in 1986 and a doctoral degree in biochemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1993.