Lisa M. Balbes

Science Communications Manager


Lisa M. Balbes earned her Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and her undergraduate degrees in chemistry and psychology from Washington University in St. Louis. She spent several years as a computational chemist at Research Triangle Institute, conducting protein and small molecule modeling experiments in support of drug discovery. Since 1992, she has provided technical writing and editing services as Balbes Consultants, LLC, with clients including Washington University Medical School, Bausch and Lomb Surgical, SigmaAldrich, Stereotaxis, Pine Instrumentation, the US FDA, and many others. She has been an American Chemical Society volunteer career consultant since 1993, providing career management advice and information to literally thousands of scientists. She is the author of the book “Nontraditional Careers for Chemists: New Formulas in Chemistry”, published by Oxford University Press, and well over 200 published articles. She is an ACS certified master workshop facilitator, and an internationally invited speaker on various career topics, with almost 300 presentations to date. Dr. Balbes has served her local ACS section as chair (2002, Outstanding Local Section), career resource coordinator, scout clinic coordinator and councilor (2007-present). Nationally, she is currently serving on the Committee on Committees (elected 2020 - 2022), and formerly served on the Committee on Nominations and Elections (elected 2014-2019) and the Committee on Economic and Professional affairs (2007–2013, chair 2011-2013). She is a fellow of both the Royal Society of Chemistry (2013), and of the American Chemical Society (2017). In 2012, she received the E. Ann Nalley Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service for the Midwest Region, and in 2015 she received the Howard and Sally Peters Award from the ACS Division of Chemistry and the Law for significant contributions to alternative careers in chemistry. In 2016 she was named the Volunteer of the Year by the St Louis section of the ACS. Lisa and her husband, Mark, have two sons, both Eagle Scouts. Jack is a software engineer and programming instructor at Oasis Digital Solutions. Alex recently graduated from Washington University School of Law. Lisa is active with the Boy Scouts of America as an Assistant Scoutmaster for Troop 352, on the New Horizons District Advancement Committee and vice-chair of the Greater St Louis Area Council STEM Committee. She is on the national BSA STEM in Scouting Committee, and advisor for an annual week-long STEM @ the Summit program at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia. She staffed Wood Badge and has taught at the Philmont Training Center, and is a Silver Beaver recipient (2014) and Vigil member of the Order of the Arrow (2019). In 2017, she was the Director of STEM Quest at the National Scout Jamboree, and in 2019 she served as STEM Curriculum Developer for Centro Mondial at the World Scout Jamboree. She is currently serving as the Innovative Lead for the postponed 2021 National Scout Jamboree. She shares her office with two house rabbits, and has volunteered weekly at the local house rabbit shelter since 2005. Lisa has also won state and national awards for her needlework (including tatting, needlepoint, and petit point).

Food & Lifestyle

One Step Closer to a Higher Stearate Soybean Oil

Lisa M. Balbes|Jan 5, 2021

New research published in the Journal of Experimental Botany describes the discovery of new alleles that could lead to soybean varieties with higher stearate levels in the oil and good agronomics.  …


New Vision for Next Decade of Soybean, Plant Research

Lisa M. Balbes|Oct 22, 2020

In a recently released report entitled “Plant science decadal vision 2020-2030: Reimagining the potential of plants for a healthy and sustainable future,” more than 40…


Soybean Farmers Benefit from Nobel Prize-Winning Research

Lisa M. Balbes|Oct 15, 2020

Last week, the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Emmanuelle Charpentier (Max Planck Unit for the Science of Pathogens, Berlin, Germany) and Jennifer A. Doudna (University of…


Soybean Breeding for Drought Tolerance – COVID Style

Lisa M. Balbes|Jul 28, 2020

Due to COVID-19, soybean breeding researchers had to weigh, bag, and label seeds for 10,000 plots from their garages, dining room tables, and back porches.…