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.



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

Zhang JZ, Bombelli P, Sokol KP, et al., 2018, Photoelectrochemistry of Photosystem II &ITin Vitro&IT vs&IT in Vivo&IT, Journal of the American Chemical Society, Vol:140, ISSN:0002-7863, Pages:6-9

Davis GA, Rutherford AW, Kramer DM, 2017, Hacking the thylakoid proton motive force for improved photosynthesis: modulating ion flux rates that control proton motive force partitioning into Delta psi and Delta pH, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B-biological Sciences, Vol:372, ISSN:0962-8436

Lohmiller T, Krewald V, Sedoud A, et al., 2017, The First State in the Catalytic Cycle of the Water-Oxidizing Enzyme: Identification of a Water-Derived mu-Hydroxo Bridge, Journal of the American Chemical Society, Vol:139, ISSN:0002-7863, Pages:14412-14424

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

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