Over 3 billion years, cyanobacteria, green algae and higher plants have evolved intricate photosynthetic interfaces that tap into the huge energy resource of the sun to power the production of atmospheric oxygen and a wide range of biomolecules which collectively form biomass and supports our biosphere.

Objective/mission (The vision): To deliver a 3D pseudo-atomic resolution model of these intricate solar interfaces to support a program of structure guided design.

Research approach (The initiative): To collect molecular resolution/high contrast tomograms of thylakoid membrane networks which organise the molecular machinery of these photosynthetic interfaces. Using 3D edge detection, structural fingerprinting algorithms and molecular docking to deliver a 3D pseudo-atomic resolution model of these intricate solar interfaces.

Impacts and applications: Impacts include fundamental insights into the atomic structure and the 3D macromolecular organisation of the photosynthetic machinery and support the development of high efficiency solar industries.

Project members

Key contacts

Professor Ben Hankamer

Director, IMB Centre for Solar Biotechnology
Professorial Research Fellow - GL
Institute for Molecular Bioscience

Dr Ian Ross

Senior Biologist
Institute for Molecular Bioscience