Undergraduate researcher John Dorlon, now mentored by Ross Walker, has been awarded the highly competitive Lew Wentz Scholarship -- congratulations!!! This will provide support to develop a project studying the NDH-1 complexes involved in CO2 uptake during the next academic year and summer.

Anton Avramov successfully defended his Ph.D. thesis entitled: "Insight into the Light Driven Assembly of the Oxygen Evolving Complex of Photosystem II". His defense was a truly international event attracting an audience spanning the globe and contributing probing questions regarding his work. Congratulations!!!


Neil Miller successfully defended his Ph.D. thesis entitled: "Cyanobacterial cyclic electron flow drives proton pumping through Ndh-1 complexes ". He is already off to a postdoc in the Michael G. Thomas lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison--way to go Neil!

Freshman Research Scholar Logan Hill has joined the lab, he has joined John Dorlon in developing techniques to better understand the growth phenotypes of the engineered strains that they will be helping construct.

In spite of the rather depressing facts of the obvious COVID crisis, it was a remarkably productive year in the lab (and home office!), with Neil graduating and no less than four manuscripts published by us or in collaboration with our colleagues.  Moreover, we have a really excellent crop of undergrad researchers who managed to navigate the social distancing practices to conduct research--though not enough time in the lab as usually needed, projects are started and hopefully the seeds have been planted. 

Undergraduate researcher Sydney Markham, mentored by Clark Jett, has been awarded the highly competitive Niblack Scholarship -- congratulations!!!    This will provide support for her to develop a project studying the CO2 uptake protein, CupA, during the academic year and during next summer.

Dylan Fifield under the mentorship of Anton Avramov defended and handed in his his Honors Thesis entitled "CRISPR in Cyanobacteria: A System for Genomic Editing in Synechocystis" --Congratulations and good luck with your next assignment with the US Air Force!!!!

Welcome new graduate student Clark Jett!!!! Clark will be joining us to develop a master's thesis in the framework of our DOE-funded project on the function of the cyanobacterial CO2 concentrating mechanism (CCM).   


Anton Avramov participated in the 2019 Gordon Research Conference (GRC) and Gordon Research Seminar (GRS) on photosynthesis”; (July 20–26) where he received a best poster award for his presention of his work “The competition between Mn2+ and Ca>2+ for Ca2+ binding site during the photoassembly of Photosystem II"--congrats to Anton!

Dylan Fifield, C/Col, AFROTC has commtted to producing an Honor Thesis, along with Freshman Research Scholar, John Dorlon, they are cooperating with Anton Avramov to develop a CRISPR genome editing system.

The lab particpated in the 13th Workshop on Cyanobacteria in Boulder, Colorado (June 6-9). This exciting meeting, subtitled: "Sustainability, Energy, and Environment Complex" involved presentations from top scientists from around the world. Neil Miller won best oral presentation for his graduate work in a talk entitled: "Cyanobacterial NDH-1 complexes contribute to the formation of ΔpH across the thylakoid membrane"--congratulations Neil!!  Welcome undergrad researchers! Allen Coburn, Dylan Fifield (AFROTC), Sydney Markham (OK-LSAMP Scholar) have joined the lab.  They will be working with the graduate students to develop independent research projects. 

Rob participated presented researc h and served as a scientific judge of the 2019 Annual Research Symposium (March 13-14) at Alabama State University in Montgomery, AL.

We are very fortunate to have Prof. George Espie of the University of Toronto spend six weeks with us as part of his sabbatical. A world expert in the CO2 concentrating mechanism (CCM), George is working with us on an intriguing carbonic anhydrase that he and his colleagues recently showed have a regulatiory role in the CCM.

Rachel Martin completed her undergraduate degree in Microbiology & Molecular Genetics Major! She has been part of the lab group as a research assistant graduated, and has just begun work in an eye clinic, and is applying to Optometry Program.


Busy week for Anton Avramov: He passed his qualifying exam (Oct 23) to advance to Ph.D. candidacy and has won the best graduate research poster at the 44th Annual Midwest/Southeast Photosynthesis Meeting (Oct 26-28) at the Turkey Run State Park in Marshall, Indiana--again based upon his new finding on the photoassembly of the Mn cluster using mutants. On both counts, Big congratulations Anton!

Juliana Artier has successfully defended her Ph.D. thesis entitled: Structure-function studies of CO2 uptake complex in cyanobacteria following her lecture given to the department April 25. Congratulations on the strong presentation and good luck on the last few experiments!

Undergraduate researcher Avery Dutcher, mentored by Neil Miller, has been awarded the highly competitive Lew Wentz Scholarship -- congratulations!!! This will provide support to for reserch in our lab duyring the academic year and during the summer with mentorship by graduate student Neil Miller.

Anton Avramov has won the MMG poster presentation second place in the Departmental symposium based upon his new finding on the photoassembly of the Mn cluster using mutants. Congratulations Anton!

Rob Burnap is recognized as an Einstein Scholar with the Einstein Foundation enabling continued collaboration on solar energy and the evolution of photosynthetic reaction centers the Free University in Berlin, Germany. The award will enable travel to Berlin for Rob and his students to pursue research with German colleagues.

Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) Dr. Jessica Sigle a physical sciences teacher from Cushing, Oklahoma and Pre-service Teacher, Nichole Jones (OSU, Chemistry Junior) performed resesarch into the molecular genetics and biochemistry of the basic light-harvesting mechanism of photosynthesis in cyanobacteria. Besides performing challenging research, Jessica and Nichole produced a full set of instructional activites in topics, such as light absorption, that will be implemented as part of the curriculum of their classes.

Rob Burnap elected as Fellow in the American Academy of Microbiology of the American Society of Microbiology (ASM). He will travel to New Orleans to the annual meeting of the Society to receive the award on June 2.

Juliana Artier won the Edward A. Grula Graduate Fellowship and the College Summer Fellowship on Dissertation Writing.


Visiting scientist Dr. Stephan Klähn, who worked with Juliana Artier and Neil Miller in our lab. He presented another the second Vennerberg Lecture departmental seminar and met with interested students faculty on the role of small regulatory RNAs that bind ligands and act as regulatory switches. Congratulation to him as he returned to Germany taking a new position as Group leader in the Department of Solar Materials at Helmholtz Insitute in Leipzig.

Freshman Research Scholar Avery Dutcher has joined the lab--Welecome! She will be developing a project on the mechanisms of CO2 uptake in cyanobacteria in collaboration with graudate student Neil Miller. 

Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) Cara Stephens (8th Grade Science, Cimarron Middle School, Edmond, OK) and Pre-service Teacher, Nichole Jones (OSU, Chemistry Junior) performed research into the assembly of the metal center of water oxidation. The five week research experience was coupled with pedagogy activities under the guidance of Prof. Julie Angle of the OSU College of Education. Besides performing challenging research, Cara and Nichole produced a full set of instructional activites in topics, such as light absorption, that will be implemented as part of the curriculum of their classes.

Rob Burnap elected as Fellow in the American Academy of Microbiology of the American Society of Microbiology (ASM). He will travel to New Orleans to the annual meeting of the Society to receive the award on June 2.

Juliana Artier won the Edward A. Grula Graduate Fellowship and the College Summer Fellowship on Dissertation Writing.

Prof. Brett Baker, Assistant Professor of the The University of Texas Marine Science Institute gave the first Vennerberg Lecture. His presentation, entitled "Metagenomic explorations to new branches on the tree of life" giving exciting new insight into microbial diversity the evolution of eukaryotic cells that he and his Swedish colleagues recently published in the journal Nature.


Ph.D Awarded! Congratulations, Steven Holland is now Dr. Steven C Holland. Steven continued as a postdoc finishing experiments on the PSII water-oxidation complex, and has now taken a postdoctoral position at Arizona State University in the lab of Prof. Xuan Wang

International cooperation: Rob Burnap worked on sabbatical in Berlin, Germany. He performed experimental work (principally delayed fluorescence kinetic analysis of PSII mutants) and re-wrote the LabView code for our high-speed oxygen electrodes while in the lab of Prof. Holger Dau at Freie Universität. He also worked on bioinformatic modeling of cyanobacterial growth and bioenergetics with Dr. Ralf Steuer, Institute for Theoretical Biology of the Humboldt-Universität. Many thanks for the his hosts and their students for the efficient research environment and their warm hospitality. It would not have been possible without funds from the Trey Vennerberg endowment . Vielen Dank!

Scientific meeting organized: We were co-organizers of the the 12th Workshop on Cyanobacteria. This NSF and DOE-BES sponsored conference focused on providing young scientists with the opportunity to present and discuss their work. Keynote lectures, providing a broader overview, were given by Shota Atsumi, University of California – Davis; Devaki Bhaya, Carnegie Institution for Science; Cheryl Kerfeld, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory / Michigan State University; Jack Meeks, University of California – Davis; and Himadri Pakrasi, Washington University.


Research Experiences for Teachers (RET):High School teacher, Christopher Storm (Newkirk HS) and pre-service teacher and OSU Chemistry Major Ashley Cast performed research into the assemply of metal clusters in the photosynthetic mechanism as participants in a 5-week, National Science Foundation Supported Research Experiences for Teachers program.

Cooperation with DOE National Lab: Dr. Melissa Cano of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), visited to collaborate with Steven Holland, Juliana Artier, and Neil Miller, studying the photosynthetic characteristics of cyanobacteria strains engineered for 'Green Chemistry' compound production.


Undergraduate, Ian Maloney, successfully defends Honor's Thesis entitled "Langer-Geidion Syndrome: A Case Study Exemplifying Potentials and Challenges of Medicine in the Post-Genomic Era"

Dr. Han Bao recognized for her research at the Gordon Research Conference on Photosynthesis, subtitled “From Evolution of Fundamental Mechanisms to Radical Re-Engineering.” held in Vermont, Aug 10–15, 2014. She presented biophysical studies of H2O oxidation mutants using careful polarographic analysis in combination with temperature, pH, and deuterium isotope manipulations. This has revealed a new kinetic step that becomes rate determining in the mutant photoenzyme. This step is interpreted to be a molecular rearrangement that poises the reactants immediately prior to dioxygen formation.

Entire lab group presented the research at the Midwest Photosynthesis Meeting at Turkey Run State Park Lodge in Indiana.

Vaughn O. Vennerberg visited campus, which included a tour of the lab and a chance to discuss the research being conducted with the group.

New collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to understand the photosynthetic physiology of cyanobacterial strains engineered to produce ethylene.

New Ph.D. student, Neil Miller has joined the lab.

Undergraduate researcher and Wentz Scholar Alyson Colin will enter the Ph.D. program in Chemistry at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, GA Fall 2014.

Undergraduate researcher Curtis Bacon will enter the Ph.D. program in Biological Chemistry at the Univ. Texas Southwest Medical Center Fall 2014.


New paper on water oxidation: Dilbeck PL, Bao H, Neveau, Burnap RL. Perturbing the water cavity surrounding the manganese cluster by mutating the residue D1-Valine 185 has a strong effect on the water oxidation mechanism of Photosystem II. , Biochemistry [Epub ahead of print]

Rob Burnap has been named the Vaughn O. Vennerberg II Chair of Bioinformatics and Molecular Genetics. Vennerberg is an OSU alumnus and philanthropist supporting a number of progressive efforts in and outside of academia. This particular funding will support fundamental research into genome-enabled studies such as metabolic reconstruction to predict metabolic phenotypes.

Another new Ph.D.: Aparna Nagarajan has sucessfully defended her thesis: "Insights into the maintenance and repair of photosystem II, a dynamic membrane protein complex"

New Ph.D.: Preston L. Dilbeck has successfully defended his thesis entitled: "Second sphere ligands of the manganese cluster modulate the water oxidation mechanism of photosystem II"

Shawn's work on the control of carbon concentration mechanism gene expression has been published in the open source journal PLoS One.


New Book: Functional Genomics & Evolution of Photosynthetic Systems

Includes a chapter from Aparna's thesis work involving a bioinformatic analysis of photosystem II structure and evolution.

Preston's analysis of a mutant defective in the proton transfer pathway from the water oxidation has been accepted in Biochemistry


Prof. Holger Dau of the Free University of Berlin has visited the lab for discussion on collaborative research.

Aparna Nagarajan’s work to engineer the parallel expression of alternate forms of the D1 protein for analysis of photoinhibition repair was accepted for publication.


Rob Burnap has returned from his postion as Program Director of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry at the National Science Foundation.