The new family of proteins protects cyanobacteria from sunlight damage, and they are interesting for use in synthetic medical or renewable energy applications.
These ancient proteins will both add to our knowledge of the evolution of photosynthesis and open exciting doors to applications in fields like medicine and biotechnology.
PRL won two prizes at the 12th Workshop on Cyanobacteria, geared towards students and post docs. We interviewed our winners to find out what got them in science, and why their research is cool.
Han Bao wins Gordon Research Conference award
Han Bao has won one of three poster awards at the 2017 Gordon Research Conference on Photosynthesis.
This work is part of the Kerfeld lab’s research into creating new strategies for producing renewable energy and the development of optogenetic tools for medical applications. Optogenics is a new field that uses light to control aspects of cellular function in living beings.
“I am delighted to win to the poster Award again in GRC photosynthesis 2017,” Han says. “I really appreciate the recognition from the photosynthesis research community. It would not have been possible to achieve this without the help and support of my colleagues in the Kerfeld lab and at the PRL.”
“Han’s work is a terrific example of young woman making the most of her opportunities to learn diverse techniques at the PRL as a post-doc and combine them with the expertise she gained during her PhD,” says Cheryl Kerfeld, Hannah Distinguished Professor of Structural Bioengineering at the MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory. “Her identification and study of new families of the OCP has implications for biotechnology as well as contributing to the basic understanding of how photosynthesis works at the molecular level.”
Gordon Research Conferences is an organization that organizes over 365 prestigious international scientific conferences in different disciplines. The Photosynthesis GRC series brings together scientists with interests in solar energy conversion, energy and electron transport, and the molecular physiology of photosynthetic organisms, among others.
Han received her Ph.D. in Chemistry at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing. She then joined Robert Burnap’s lab at Oklahoma State University in 2012. Currently, she is a post-doc in the Kerfeld lab, where she studies the Orange Carotenoid Protein mediated non-photochemical quenching mechanism of cyanobacteria.
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