In memoriam Professor of Practice Mikhail Balakshin
Balakshin was an internationally recognized expert in plant biomass chemistry and technology with a focus on lignin chemistry. Understanding and development of bio-based solutions to economic and environmental issues was at the core of his research. He had a vision to efficiently advance biomass valorization through product engineering for high-value applications.
Balakshin received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from St. Petersburg Forest Technical Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1991. He then worked as a postdoctoral researcher and senior research scientist in St. Petersburg, at North Carolina State University in the USA, and at BOKU in Austria.
Balakshin also had an international background in R&D technology development in the biorefinery and pulp and paper industries. He was an experienced manager of R&D departments and in bioprocessing pilot plants having worked in Canada and the USA.
His expertise resulted in many scholarly accomplishments. Balakshin held 21 patents, he published 4 book chapters and 47 articles in peer-reviewed journals and had over 4,160 citations.
Balakshin also contributed to the development of new bioproduct applications. Especially his deep knowledge in lignin characterization and modification was internationally recognized. He actively collaborated with industry and strengthened the collaboration between different fields within Aalto University. Supervising and mentoring undergraduate students, doctoral candidates and postdoctoral fellows was close to his heart. The staff of the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems as well as the whole of the Aalto community fondly remembers Mikhail as a highly valued colleague and friend.