ASPS Life Member Dr Marshall (Hal) D Hatch

ASPS Life Member

Dr Marshall (Hal) D Hatch

Retired. Ex. Division of Plant Industry CSIRO, ACT


Research interests: Biochemistry and physiology of C4 photosynthesis

Hal Hatch graduated from Sydney University, B.Sc (Hon) in 1954 and subsequently completed a PhD at the same institution while working at CSIRO Plant Physiology Unit in Sydney, graduating in 1959. Hal traveled to the USA at the end of his PhD to post-doc in the Biochemistry Department at University of California then returned to Australia in 1961 to take up a position as Head of the Biochemistry Section at Colonial Sugar Refineries (CSR) David North Laboratories Brisbane. After a brief period in the University of Queensland and a 2 year return to CSR, Hal joined CSIRO Plant Industry Canberra in 1970 as a Chief Research Scientist and remained in that position until his retirement in 1997.

Hal’s scientific focus has primarily been on C4 photosynthesis, having been instrumental in the discovery of this pathway with his colleague Roger Slack, reported in their papers between 1966 and 1970. He has continued to be a major driving force in C4 photosynthesis research, publishing seminal papers on the biochemistry and physiology of the C4 photosynthetic mechanism (totaling more than 140 papers). In addition to his elucidation of the basic biochemical pathway of C4, including the 3 decarboxylation types, Hal has delved into the physics of the C4 concentrating mechanism, its efficiency and the interaction of this photosynthetic mechanism with the environment through enzyme regulation. Much of this work is now described in text books.

Hal is one of the most internationally recognized Australian plant scientists, having been awarded the Royal Society of NSW Clarke Medal, the Lemberg Medal (Australian Biochemical Soc), the Charles Kettering Award (American Soc Plant Physiologists), Rank Prize (J. Arthur Rank Group, UK), and the International Prize for Biology (Japan Soc Promotion of Science) and the Order of Australia. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, the Royal Society of the UK, and a Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Science. Hal has served on many editorial panels for international scientific journals including Australian Journal of Plant Physiology, Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Trends in Biochemical Sciences and Proceedings of the Royal Society. Hal is also a past president of ASPS, at that time the Australian Society of Plant Physiologists.