Stephen P. Long

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Stephen P. Long
Stephen P. Long.jpg
Born (1950-08-13) 13 August 1950 (age 68)
London, England
Other namesSteve Long
CitizenshipUnited States
Alma mater
Spouse(s)Ann Long
ChildrenPatrick Long and James Long
Scientific career

Stephen P. Long (born 13 August 1950) is an environmental plant physiologist, Fellow of the Royal Society and member of the National Academy of Sciences studying how to improve photosynthesis to increase the yield of food and biofuel crops.[5] He is the Ikenberry Endowed University Chair of Crop Sciences and Plant Biology at the University of Illinois and Distinguished Professor in Crop Sciences at Lancaster University. His work, published in Science,[6] proved that photosynthesis can be manipulated to increase plant productivity—an idea once considered the holy grail of plant biology.[7] Long has added to our understanding of the long-term impacts of climate change, such as rising levels of carbon dioxide and ozone on plants. He has briefed the US President, Vatican, as well as Bill Gates on food security and bioenergy.[8]

Early life and education[edit]

Long was born and raised in London, England. His high school biology teacher inspired him to study plants—and famines in the 1960s encouraged him to find avenues to increase agricultural productivity.[9] Long earned his bachelor's degree in agricultural botany from Reading University in 1972 and went on to earn a doctorate in plant environmental physiology from Leeds University in 1976. In 2007, Lancaster University honored Long's environmental research contributions with a doctorate of environmental science honoris causa.[10]


Long joined the faculty as a lecturer at the University of Essex in 1975 and went on to become a senior lecturer (1987) and reader (1988); he obtained full professorship in 1990. In 1999, he moved to the University of Illinois and was named the Robert Emerson Professor of Plant Biology and of Crop Sciences (1999–2008). Over his career, Long has worked at Tate & Lyle Ltd. Research Centre, the Smithsonian Institution (1989), the University of Vienna (1989–1990), and Brookhaven National Laboratory (1992–1999). In 2007, as the founding deputy director, Long helped launch the Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI), a 10-year, $500 million research project that was then the largest public-private partnership between the University of California at Berkeley, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the energy company BP. In 2008, he was named the Edward William and Jane Marr Gutgsell Endowed University Professor of Crop Sciences and Plant Biology. From 2010–2016, he also served as a Special U.S. Government Employee (SGE) advising for the biomass programs for the United States Department of Energy and United States Department of Agriculture.

In 2012, Long stepped down from leading the EBI to direct Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency (RIPE),[11] a $25-million-dollar research project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to engineer plants to photosynthesize more efficiently in order to sustainably increase worldwide food productivity. In 2017, the RIPE project received a $45 million reinvestment from the Gates Foundation, Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) and the UK Department for International Development.[12] Long has also served as the director of two ARPA-E-funded projects: Plants Engineered to Replace Oil in Sugarcane and Sweet Sorghum (PETROSS), 2013–2018[13] and Transportation Energy Resource from Renewable Agriculture – Mobile Energy-Crop Phenotyping Platform (TERRA-MEPP), 2015–2019.[14] He has also served as the deputy director of a third ARPA-E-funded project, Water Efficient Sorghum Technologies (WEST), 2016–2019.[15] In 2013, he was "selected from the faculty on the basis of their outstanding scholarship" and appointed as a Center for Advanced Studies (CAS) Professor at Illinois.[16] In 2014, he joined the faculty of the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, an interdisciplinary life sciences research institute at Illinois. In 2016, he became the Distinguished Professor in Crop Sciences FRS at Lancaster University. From 2017-2018, he served as the Newton Abraham Visiting Professor of Oxford University.[17] In 2018, he was amongst four Illinois faculty members selected for an Ikenberry Endowed Chair that is "deemed to be among the most distinguished honors on the campus".[18] In 2019, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.[19]

In addition, Long is the founding and chief editor of Global Change Biology,[20] the highest cited journal on climate change after Nature and Science according to the Science Citation Index (SCI).[21] He also founded GCB Bioenergy,[22] the most highly cited bioenergy journal and second most highly cited agronomy journal. In 2018, he launched a new journal in silico Plants (isP) through the Oxford University Press that will publish cross-disciplinary research at the interface between plant biology, mathematics and computer science.[23]


Long is the author of more than 400 scientific publications, including more than 250 peer-reviewed articles in journals such as Nature[24] and Science.[25][26][27] Of particular note, he discovered the most productive land plant known[28] (Echinochloa polystachya) and identified Miscanthus as a productive temperate plant, transforming it into a viable bioenergy crop in Europe and North America.[29] He also developed the "first dynamic model of the complete photosynthetic process."[30] Recent work by Long has centered on how to engineer plants to photosynthesize more efficiently to increase yields of food and bioenergy crops. Long was instrumental in the development of SoyFACE, the largest open-air laboratory in the word to evaluate the impact of future climatic conditions on crops.[31] In 2016, he proved that yield could be increased by computer-designed engineering; the results were published in Science,[32] covered by the New York Times,[33] and named one of the top scientific moments of 2016 by the Guardian.[34] Recently, Long led the team that engineered a crop that needs 25 percent less water—without compromising yield—by altering the expression of one gene that is found in all plants, as reported in Nature Communications.[35][36]


In 1972, Long received the University of Prize from the University of Reading. From 1972-1975, he served as a University Scholar at the University of Leeds. He is a recipient of the Andrew Mellon Foundation personal award (1998-2003) and the McNair Movement Award (2005). He has been recognized by Thomson Reuters as a highly cited researcher in the field of plant and animal science every year since 2005. In 2007, the American Association for the Advancement of Science elected Long as a fellow. He was also chosen to be the G.E. Blackman Lecturer at the University of Oxford and the Porter Alliance Lecturer at Imperial College in 2007. In 2008, he was named the Heilborn Lecturer at Northwestern University; the CMI Lecturer at Princeton University; the Industry Summer School Lecturer at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; the 9th Annual Woolhouse Lecturer for the Society for Experimental Biology; and Holden Botany Lecturer at Sutton Bonington Campus in 2008. In 2009, he was named a Fellow of the American Society of Plant Biologists. In 2010, he served as the BEGC Lecturer at Harvard University. In 2012, he served as an Invited Expert on Food Security for the President's Council of Advisors on Science Technology (PCAST). In 2012, he was also honored with the Charles F. Kettering Award for Excellence in Photosynthesis Research from the American Society of Plant Biologists and the Marsh Award for Climate Change Research from the British Ecological Society. Also in 2012, he became an Elected Fellow of Rothamsted Research, appointed to advise the director of the world's oldest agricultural experimental research station. In 2013, he served as the CeBiTec Annual Distinguished Lecturer at the Centrum für Biotechnologie and the 4th Annual Riley Memorial Lecturer for the World Food Prize and American Association for the Advancement of Science. He also received the Innovation Award from the International Society for Photosynthesis Research. In 2013, Long was named a Fellow of the Royal Society of London, the oldest continually operating society that honors leading scientists and engineers. In 2016, he became an Elected Fellow of Lincoln College at the University of Oxford. Long has also been named as one of “The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds" by Thomson Reuters.


  1. ^ "Steve Long". Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  2. ^ "STEPHEN P. LONG". Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  3. ^ "Professor Steve Long". Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  4. ^ "Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences NEWTON ABRAHAM VISITING PROFESSORSHIP". 15 June 2017. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  5. ^ "ResearcherID". Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  6. ^ Kromdijk, Johannes; Głowacka, Katarzyna; Leonelli, Lauriebeth; Gabilly, Stéphane T.; Iwai, Masakazu; Niyogi, Krishna K.; Long, Stephen P. (18 November 2016). "Improving photosynthesis and crop productivity by accelerating recovery from photoprotection". Science. 354 (6314): 857–861. doi:10.1126/science.aai8878. PMID 27856901. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  7. ^ "Research shows how to grow more cassava, one of the world's key food crops". 24 January 2017. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  8. ^ "Steve Long". Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  9. ^ "Campus Insights: Steve Long". YouTube. 17 March 2017. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  10. ^ "Stephen P. Long CV" (PDF). 15 June 2017. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  11. ^ "RIPE". Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  12. ^ "FFAR joins $45M project to boost crop yields through photosynthesis". Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  13. ^ "PETROSS". Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  14. ^ "TERRAMEPP". Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  15. ^ "WEST". Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  16. ^ "CAS Professors | CAS". Retrieved 13 August 2018.
  17. ^ "Newton-Abraham Visiting Professor". Retrieved 13 August 2018.
  18. ^ "Faculty members selected for distinguished chairs". Retrieved 13 August 2018.
  19. ^ "2019 NAS Election". Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  20. ^ "Global Change Biology". Global Change Biology. doi:10.1111/(ISSN)1365-2486.
  21. ^ "International Scientific Indexing: ISI". Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  22. ^ "GCB-Bioenergy". Gcb Bioenergy. doi:10.1111/(ISSN)1757-1707.
  23. ^ "in silico Plants (isP) launches – a computational plant science journal". 31 July 2018. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
  24. ^ Long, S. P.; Incoll, L. D.; Woolhouse, H. W. (16 October 1975). "C4 photosynthesis in plants from cool temperate regions, with particular reference to Spartina townsendii". Nature. 257 (5527): 622–624. doi:10.1038/257622a0.
  25. ^ Ort, D. R.; Long, S. P. (15 June 2017). "Limits on Yields in the Corn Belt". Science. 344 (6183): 484–485. doi:10.1126/science.1253884. PMID 24786071. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  26. ^ Somerville, C.; Youngs, H.; Taylor, C.; Davis, S. C.; Long, S. P. (13 August 2010). "Feedstocks for Lignocellulosic Biofuels". Science. 329 (5993): 790–792. doi:10.1126/science.1189268. PMID 20705851. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  27. ^ Long, S. P.; Ainsworth, E. A.; Leakey, A. D.; Nösberger, J.; Ort, D. R. (15 June 2017). "Food for Thought: Lower-Than-Expected Crop Yield Stimulation with Rising CO2 Concentrations". Science. 312 (5782): 1918–1921. CiteSeerX doi:10.1126/science.1114722. PMID 16809532. Retrieved 30 June 2006.
  28. ^ Piedade, M. T. F.; Junk, W. J.; Long, S. P. (1 August 1991). "The Productivity of the C_4 Grass Echinochloa Polystachya on the Amazon Floodplain". Ecology. 72 (4): 1456–1463. doi:10.2307/1941118. JSTOR 1941118.
  29. ^ "Steve Long". Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  30. ^ "Steve Long". Retrieved 20 June 2017.
  31. ^ "SoyFACE". Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  32. ^ Kromdijk, Johannes; Głowacka, Katarzyna; Leonelli, Lauriebeth; Gabilly, Stéphane T.; Iwai, Masakazu; Niyogi, Krishna K.; Long, Stephen P. (18 November 2016). "Improving photosynthesis and crop productivity by accelerating recovery from photoprotection". Science. 354 (6314): 857–861. doi:10.1126/science.aai8878. PMID 27856901. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  33. ^ Gillis, Justin (17 November 2016). "With an Eye on Hunger, Scientists See Promise in Genetic Tinkering of Plants". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 June 2017.
  34. ^ Sella, Andrea; Scott, Sophie; Czerski, Helen; Miodownik, Mark; Rutherford, Adam; Rees, Martin; Fong, Kevin; Hartley, Sue; Mace, Georgina; Bell, Vaughan; Piot, Peter; Edwards, Tamsin (18 December 2016). "The 12 key science moments of 2016". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 June 2017.
  35. ^ Głowacka, Katarzyna; Kromdijk, Johannes; Kucera, Katherine; Xie, Jiayang; Cavanagh, Amanda P.; Leonelli, Lauriebeth; Leakey, Andrew D. B.; Ort, Donald R.; Niyogi, Krishna K. (6 March 2018). "Photosystem II Subunit S overexpression increases the efficiency of water use in a field-grown crop". Nature Communications. 9 (1): 868. doi:10.1038/s41467-018-03231-x. ISSN 2041-1723. PMC 5840416. PMID 29511193.
  36. ^ Win, Thin Lei. "Rebooting food: Finding new ways to feed the future". U.S. Retrieved 13 August 2018.