It is with great sorrow that we mourn the passing of Prof. Jens Kossmann. He was an early pioneer of the use of molecular biology to study plant metabolism. His work both as a Ph.D student at the Institut für Genbiologische Forchung (Berlin, Germany) and then as a group leader at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology (Golm, Germany) led to major insights in the study of photosynthesis, plant cell wall and starch metabolism. He joined Stellenbosch University (SU) in 2004 as the director of the Institute for Plant Biotechnology (Department of Genetics, Faculty of AgriSciences), following on from his role as the head of the Plant Science Department at the Risø National Laboratory (Roskilde, Denmark).
He served SU with distinction as one of the earliest research chairs awarded by the South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI), a human intervention by the government of South Africa, led by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) and the National Research Foundation (NRF) founded in 2006. He also served as a distinguished Professor within the Faculty of AgriSciences. His staff and students will always remember his agile intellect and keen wit, along with his open-door policy availing himself to all for engaging scientific discussions. Jens left an indelible impression both internationally and within the South African landscape, with many of his former students going on to occupy positions of prominence in both the public and private sectors. He leaves behind his wife Elke and three children Laila, Mauritz and Moses.