Prof. Eva-Mari Aro

Research falls in several subprojects addressing (i) the structure/function relationships of photosynthetic pigment protein complexes in the thylakoid membrane, (ii) regulation mechanisms of light harvesting, excitation energy distribution and electron transfer reactions, involving the linear and cyclic electron transfer mode as well as the characterization of electron valves, (iii) the signaling cascades that initiate in the photosynthetic apparatus of the thylakoid membrane as a result of changing environmental cues and lead to reprogramming of nuclear gene expression and acclimation of the organism to a new environment. We aim at systems biology level understanding of the interacting bioenergetic networks and their role in regulating the growth and stress tolerance of photosynthetic organisms. Research includes a number of different oxygenic photosynthetic organisms, from cyanobacteria and algae to lower land plants (mosses and ferns), and both gymnosperms (spruce) and angiosperms (Arabidopsis among others) and addresses (iv) the evolution of photosynthetic regulation mechanisms that made the transfer of life from oceans to the land possible. (v) Applied photosynthesis research in the project focuses on efficient solar energy harnessing for biofuel and chemical production in "synthetic cell factories" using cyanobacteria as a production chassis.

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