Robert Rabson Award

The Robert Rabson Award, first given by the Society in 2012, recognizes Bob Rabson’s steadfast advocacy of plant biology through creation of funding programs in the Department of Energy for research in basic energy sciences. The award recognizes postdoctoral scholars and faculty-level early career scientists, whether or not members of the Society, in academic, government and corporate research institutions who have made excellent contributions in the area of bioenergy research. The award is made biennially to a researcher who is no more than ten years post-PhD on January 1st of the year of presentation, with consideration of breaks in career relative to this time-frame. The award recipient is given a monetary award and a one-year membership in the Society.

2024 Winner: Lydia Lam

Akita University, Akita, Japan

Lydia Lam is recognized for her repeated and important contributions to bioenergy-related research. Her work focuses on plant metabolism and how the structures and biochemicals that hold plant cell walls together are formed. In particular, her work on the tricin pathway has elucidated the function of a challenging part of plant metabolism that is closely connected to lignin biosynthesis. Lignin is a branched hydrocarbon polymer that provides strong connections between plant cells, and understanding lignin is critical for many aspects of bioenergy research. Lydia’s work has led to marked progress towards understanding the biochemistry of how plants produce biomass, and it provides hints about how we might tweak these pathways in the future to improve bioenergy production.


Matthew Hudson, Chair (2021-2026)
John Shanklin (2019-2024)
Christoff Benning (2023-2028)
Brent Brower-Toland (2023-2028)
Russ Johnson (2023-2028)
Sylvia Lee, Staff Liaison