Fourteenth Annual Grant Winners 2013-2014
Revealing the secret of photosynthetic proteins by making synthetic model systems
Don Rosenblum, Ph.D. (FAR)
Faculty and Students
Reza Razeghifard Ph.D. (FAR)
Dimitrios Giarikos, Ph.D. (FAR)
Mega Margupuram (FAR)
Plants have learned to capture solar energy and utilize it to make chemical energy through finely orchestrated electron-transfer events. Photosystems are responsible for generating the electron flow using their special photooxidizable chlorophylls. These chlorophylls are unique because of their interactions with each other and amino acids in the local protein environment. The purpose of this grant is to create a series of synthetic peptides complexed with chlorin dimers as model systems for natural photosystems. The goal is to use these proposed model systems to reveal how the photosystem proteins provide the special chlorophyll molecules their photooxidation ability. The synthesis of these photoactive peptides paves the way for the construction of more elaborate artificial photosynthetic systems.