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LightWorks Inaugural Lecture Series
with Robert E. Blankenship, Ph.D.
Lucille P. Markey Distinguished Professor of Arts and Sciences
Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri

Photosynthetic Antennas: The First Step in Biological Solar Energy Conversion
February 21, 2013
3:45 p.m.
Biodesign Institute Auditorium

Panel Discussion: The Future of Bioenergy
February 21, 2013
6 p.m.
ASU SkySong, Convergence Room 150

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abstract: Photosynthetic Antennas: The First Step in Biological Solar Energy Conversion
This seminar will discuss how all photosynthetic organisms contain a light-gathering antenna system, which functions to collect light and deliver energy to the photosynthetic reaction center, where electron transfer processes store chemical energy. The talk will discuss the chlorosome antenna and the associated FMO protein that is an intermediate in energy transfer between the chlorosome and the reaction center in green sulfur bacteria. The Washington University PARC and its mission to understand natural, biohybrid and bioinspired antenna systems will be described in the context of the long-term goal of producing biofuels.

abstract: Panel Discussion: The Future of Bioenergy
The panel discussion following Blankenship’s seminar will focus on the first step in biological solar energy conversion. This panel will discuss the future of bioenergy, particularly in Arizona and the Southwest.

Panelists include (among others):

  • Robert Blankenship, Ph.D., Professor and Director of PARC at Washington University
  • Gary Dirks, Ph.D., Director of ASU LightWorks
  • Joan Koerber-Walker, President and CEO of Arizona BioIndustry Association

Reception to begin at 6 p.m. with panel following at 6:30 p.m.

biosketch: Robert E. Blankenship graduated from Nebraska Wesleyan University in 1970 with a B.S. degree in Chemistry. He earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry from University of California at Berkley in 1975 and was a postdoctoral fellow from 1976 to 1979 at the University of Washington in Seattle. He was a faculty member at Amherst College in Massachusetts from 1979-85 and moved to Arizona State University, where he was a faculty member for 21 years. In 2006, he moved to Washington University in St. Louis, where he is joint professor in the departments of Biology and Chemistry and the Lucille P. Markey Distinguished Professor in Arts and Sciences. He is the director of the Washington University Photosynthetic Antenna Research Center (PARC), one of the Department of Energy’s Energy Frontier Research Centers. Blankenship has spent his entire scientific career researching the highly interdisciplinary subject of photosynthesis using a wide range of techniques. His research investigates energy transfer and electron transfer processes in photosynthetic antenna and reaction center complexes with the goal of discovering the essential or irreducible aspects of how light energy is stored.

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