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School of Biological and Chemical Sciences

Photosynthesis, Bioenergetics and Microbial Physiology



Our research focuses on the chloroplasts of plants, algae and diatoms, their free-living relatives the cyanobacteria, and other prokaryotes. We explore the regulation of photosynthetic light-harvesting and electron transport, light perception and responses and prokaryotic cell biology and physiology. We aim to understand the dynamic processes occurring in bacteria and in eukaryotic organelles using approaches ranging from molecular dynamics simulations to imaging by fluorescence microscopy and electron microscopy, combined with spectroscopy, biochemistry and molecular genetics. We have links with industrial concerns including Opti-Sciences Inc and Heinz Walz GmbH.

Simulation of the interaction of light with a single 3 micron cell of the cyanobacterium Synechocystis 6803 showing how the cell acts as a microlens
Simulation of the interaction of light with a single 3 micron cell of the cyanobacterium Synechocystis 6803 showing how the cell acts as a microlens

Movement of cells of the cyanobacterium Synechocystis 6803 in response to light.


Researcher Title Department

Research Interests

Duffy, Dr Christopher Lecturer in Cellular and Molecular Biology Biochemistry

Light-harvesting, Photosynthesis, Computational Biology, Molecular physics, Xanthophylls

Engl, Dr Christoph Lecturer in Microbiology Biochemistry

Molecular cell biology, Bacterial adaptation, Ribosome function, Bacterial plant-growth promotion, Single-cell & single-molecule imaging

Hanke, Dr Guy Senior Lecturer in Plant Cell and Molecular Biology Biochemistry

Photosynthesis, Electron transport, Protein-protein interaction, Cell biology, Synthetic biology

Mullineaux, Prof Conrad

Professor of Microbiology, Head of Cell and Molecular Biology Department

Biochemistry Photosynthesis, Electron transport, Cyanobacteria, Fluorescence imaging, Membrane dynamics, Bacterial cell biology

Ruban, Prof Alexander

Professor in Biophysics Biochemistry

Photosynthesis, Light harvesting, Light adaptation memory, Structural dynamics, Genetics



Schorsch M, Kramer K, Goss T, Eisenhut M, Robinson N, Osman D, Wilde A, Sadaf S, Brückler H, Walder L, Scheibe R, Hase T, Hanke G (2018) A unique ferredoxin acts as a novel player in the low iron response of photosynthetic organisms. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA (in press)

Balevičius V, Fox K, Bricker W, Jurinovich S, Prandi I, Mennucci B, Duffy C (2017). Fine control of chlorophyll-carotenoid interactions defines the functionality of light-harvesting proteins in plants. Scientific Reports

Sacharz J, Giovagnetti V, Ungerer P, Mastrioanni G, Ruban A (2017). The xanthophyll cycle affects reversible PsbS-LHCII interactions to control non-photochemical quenching. Nature Plants

Engl C, Schaefer J, Kotta-Loizou I, Buck M (2016). Cellular and molecular phenotypes depending upon the RNA repair system RtcAB in Escherichia coli. Nucleic Acids Research

Schuergers N, Lenn T, Kampmann R, Meissner M, Esteves T, Temerinac-Ott M, Korvink J, Lowe A, Mullineaux C, Wilde A (2016). Cyanobacteria use micro-optics to sense light direction. eLife

Chmeliov J, Gelzinis A, Songaila E, Augulis R, Duffy C, Ruban A, Valkunas L (2016). The nature of self-regulation in photosynthetic light-harvesting antenna. Nature Plants

Aksentijević D, McAndrew D, Karlstädt A, Zervou S, Sebag-Montefiore L, Cross R, Douglas G, Regitz-Zagrosek V, Lopaschuk G, Neubauer S, Lygatea C (2014). Cardiac dysfunction and peri-weaning mortality in malonyl-coenzyme A decarboxylase (MCD) knockout mice as a consequence of restricting substrate plasticity. Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology