Douglas D. Randall
B.S., South Dakota State University, 1965
Ph.D., Michigan State University, 1970
Douglas D. Randall is originally from South Dakota, where he attended South Dakota State University with B.S. in chemistry in 1965. Randall's first research was as an undergraduate working on insect metabolism at the USDA-ARS's North Grain Insects Research Laboratory. In 1970, he earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Michigan State University where he studied plant metabolism with N. E. Tolbert. In 1970 he was awarded an NIH postdoctoral fellowship to study regulation of mammalian enzyme complexes with L. J. Reed at the University of Texas-Austin. Randall joined the Agricultural Chemistry Department at the University of Missouri-Columbia (MU) in 1971. From 1981 to 2008 he was the founding director of the Interdisciplinary Plant Group at MU. He is currently Professor Emeritus, Thomas Jefferson Fellow, and Director Emeritus Interdisciplinary Plant Group at MU.
Randall's research has focused on plant metabolism, regulation of plant enzymes, and metabolic interactions between photosynthesis, photorespiration, and respiration. A primary theme of his research has been the study of the four species of alpha-ketoacid dehydrogenase complexes in plants. These fascinating multienzyme complexes (which comprise up to 200 proteins) occupy strategic positions in plant metabolism and are critical to energy production and oil biosynthesis. His research team was the first to characterize a plant enzyme regulated by reversible phosphorylation and also showed that this biochemical "metabolic switch" mechanism determines which pathway supports mitochondrial energy production during photosynthesis. This work led to the founding of a national working group to study protein phosphorylation in plants. His current research is directed at enhancing plant production of biodegradable plastics.
His interactions and collaborations with plant biology colleagues also led to the establishment of the Interdisciplinary Plant Group (IPG) at MU in 1981. Under Randall's leadership and MU's Food for 21st Century Program, the IPG has grown from nine to forty-five research teams. Randall was also instrumental in the establishment and design of the Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center at MU and the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis.
Randall has served on the editorial boards of a number of scientific publications, including Plant Physiology, Annual Reviews of Plant Physiology and Plant Molecular Biology, Protein Expression and Purification, Biochemical Archives, and Current Topics in Plant Biochemistry and Physiology. He is a former officer and chair of the Board of Trustees for the American Society of Plant Biologists. He has served on the Science Liaison Committee for the Danforth Plant Science Center and continues his efforts at all levels to facilitate interdisciplinary research and training.
Randall has been the recipient of a number of awards and honors, including the University of Missouri System's Thomas Jefferson Award and Professorship, MU's Wm H. Byler Distinguished Professor Award, South Dakota State University's Distinguished Alumni Award, Michigan State Biochemistry Department's John Boezi Alumni Award, and MU's Gold Chalk Teaching Award. He is a fellow of the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) and recently received the ASPB's Charles R. Barnes Life Membership Award. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 1973, he was chosen to be a member of the National Science Foundation's Great Barrier Reef expedition to study marine plant photorespiration.
Randall was appointed to the National Science Board in 2002 and reappointed in 2008.