Imperial College London

Professor Bill Rutherford FRS

Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Life Sciences

Chair in Biochemistry of Solar Energy



+44 (0)20 7594 5329a.rutherford Website




702Sir Ernst Chain BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





My career aim is to understand the water oxidising enzyme Photosystem II in terms of its mechanism, its assembly and its evolutionary relationships with other photosynthetic reaction centres. This enzyme has become the focus of attention because cheap water splitting catalysts are urgently needed in the energy sector for solar fuel production, electrolysis of water and the reverse reaction in fuel cells. My research has made major contributions to understanding this enzyme before it was either popular or profitable. Now that it is finally becoming both of those, I hope to continue to do more of the same. Not just because it might contribute to solving aspects of the energy crisis but also because understanding the enzyme, which put the energy into the biosphere, the oxygen into the atmosphere and thence changed the planet, is one of the greatest challenges in biology and chemistry. It is also a fun enzyme to work on.



Cardona Londono T, Sanchez-Baracaldo P, Rutherford AW, et al., Early Archean origin of Photosystem II, Geobiology, ISSN:1472-4669

Kornienko N, Zhang JZ, Sokol K, et al., 2018, Oxygenic Photoreactivity in Photosystem II Studied by Rotating Ring Disk Electrochemistry., J Am Chem Soc

Messant M, Timm S, Fantuzzi A, et al., 2018, Glycolate Induces Redox Tuning Of Photosystem II in Vivo: Study of a Photorespiration Mutant, Plant Physiology, Vol:177, ISSN:0032-0889, Pages:1277-1285

Nuernberg DJ, Morton J, Santabarbara S, et al., 2018, Photochemistry beyond the red limit in chlorophyll f-containing photosystems, Science, Vol:360, ISSN:0036-8075, Pages:1210-1213

Boussac A, Ugur I, Marion A, et al., 2018, The low spin - high spin equilibrium in the S-2-state of the water oxidizing enzyme, Biochimica Et Biophysica Acta-bioenergetics, Vol:1859, ISSN:0005-2728, Pages:342-356

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