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.



Kaucikas M, Nurnberg D, Dorlhiac G, et al., 2017, Femtosecond Visible Transient Absorption Spectroscopy of Chlorophyll f-Containing Photosystem I, Biophysical Journal, Vol:112, ISSN:0006-3495, Pages:234-249

Brinkert K, De Causmaecker S, Krieger-Liszkay A, et al., 2016, Bicarbonate-induced redox tuning in Photosystem II for regulation and protection, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol:113, ISSN:0027-8424, Pages:12144-12149

Brinkert K, Le Formal F, Li X, et al., 2016, Photocurrents from photosystem II in a metal oxide hybrid system: Electron transfer pathways, Biochimica Et Biophysica Acta-bioenergetics, Vol:1857, ISSN:0005-2728, Pages:1497-1505

Davis GA, Kanazawa A, Schoettler MA, et al., 2016, Limitations to photosynthesis by proton motive force-induced photosystem II photodamage, Elife, Vol:5, ISSN:2050-084X

MacKellar D, Lieber L, Norman JS, et al., 2016, Streptomyces thermoautotrophicus does not fix nitrogen, Scientific Reports, Vol:6, ISSN:2045-2322

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