Sunlight is the ultimate
source of energy for most organisms on Earth. In plants, algae and cyanobacteria,
the energy of light is used to synthesize carbohydrates from CO2,
resulting in the byproduct of atmospheric O2.
My research group focuses on the study of Type I (iron-sulfur) reaction
centers, including Photosystem I of cyanobacteria (Figure 1.1)
and plants, and the reaction centers of the strictly anaerobic heliobacteria
and green sulfur bacteria. My students and I work to uncover the genes,
polypeptides, and cofactors that are involved in the structure, function,
and assembly of Type I reaction centers. To accomplish these goals, we
employ molecular biological techniques such as site-directed mutagenesis
and secondary suppressor screening, biochemical techniques such as resolution
and reconstitution of proteins and cofactors, and biophysical techniques
such as magnetic resonance spectroscopy and time-resolved optical spectroscopy.