Light-Activated Molecular Wires and Solar Fuels
Many metalloproteins resemble molecular wires. Chains of redox active transition metal containing cofactors conduct electrons through poly-peptide matrices. Labeling such proteins with synthetic photosensitisers allows light-driven electron injection into the proteins. We are using this strategy to gain fundamental insight into electron transfer in multiheme cytochromes and to inspire approaches to solar fuel production.
Biochemistry Underpinning the Biogeochemical
Cycling of Fe, S and N.
Bacteria live in amazing and often apparently hostile environments. This is possible because they gain energy from redox transformations of inorganic forms of nitrogen, sulfur and iron that are present in those environments. We purify the proteins that catalyse these reactions. We define their structures and electron transfer properties to better understand how these proteins contribute to bacterial metabolism related to health and infection, electricity production by microbial fuel cells and mineral/nutrient cycling in anoxic sediments.
Protein Film Electrochemistry and Spectroscopy
Exquisite insights into electron transfer properties of purified metalloproteins are available when they are adsorbed as electro-active films on electrode materials. A defined voltage is applied to the electrode and the resulting flow of current quantified that electron transfer providing unique insight into redox catalysis, inhibition, activation and reduction potentials. Simultaneous spectroscopy of the adsorbed protein provides direct insight into the identity of the redox active cofactors.