Ninth Annual Grant Winners 2008-2009
Dean Don Rosenblum, Ph.D. (FAR)
Dean Richard Dodge, Ph.D. (OSC)
Reza Razeghifard, Ph.D. (FAR)
Dimitrios Giarikos, Ph.D. (FAR-MST)
Jose Lopez, Ph.D. (OSC)
Design and Synthesis of Photoactive Peptides Based on Photosynthetic Proteins
The goal of this project is to design and synthesize photoactive peptides inspired by natural photosynthetic systems. Learning from photosynthetic reaction centers, we plan to synthesize dimeric chlorin pigments through organic chemistry and introduce them into peptides. Compounds such as quinones will be used as electron acceptors to allow repetitive light oxidations of the chlorin pigment. This will provide us with a powerful tool to exploit not only the significance of the local protein environment but also the significance of dimerization on the photo-activity of chlorin. The key advantage of our synthetic approach is that the peptide scaffold can be readily modified. Such photoactive peptides can then be incorporated into membranes and coupled to redox-requiring processes for biotechnological applications, such as artificial photosynthesis. The use of biochemical, biophysical and molecular biological techniques in this project will provide fertile ground for a multi-disciplinary training of students in NSU.