Water Oxidation in Photosystem II by Far-Infrared Spectroscopy

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(Last Updated On: October 21, 2017)
photosystem II

Different components of Photosystem II.
Source: Common Wikimedia

Ph.D. position in Biochemistry: Water Oxidation in Photosystem II studied by far-infrared FTIR Spectroscopy

For Biochemistry graduates, here is a great opportunity to continue their higher level of education and sharpen their research experience. Biochemistry graduates are highly encouraged to apply for this Ph.D. position.


Aix-Marseille University, France has announced this position. The given position was posted on May 8, 2015 (yesterday) on the jobs.sciencecareers.org website. This is a 3-year full-time position starting from October 2015. This position is suitable for the candidates with a master degree in Physical Sciences, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Molecular (life) Science and Physics. Candidates must also have a good command of English language skills.

They are offering the possibility of using highly advanced spectroscopic techniques like synchrotron radiation using several research stages at synchrotron SOLEL in the Paris Region. There will be a multidisciplinary approach combining Physical Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Biophysics to answer the very important biological question in a multidisciplinary research environment. They will provide training in working with biological materials. They also require a highly motivated candidate who is enthusiastic in solving biological problems using spectroscopic methods.

Short information about Photosystem II and the project detail

During photosynthesis, water is broken down into oxygen and hydrogen. This solar driven hydrogen production from such an abundant and cheap source (water) can be a promising way to produce renewable energy. All photosynthetic organisms from plant to Cyanobacteria have developed water splitting enzyme to oxidize water molecule into molecular oxygen, protons and electrons by using a visible light within the membrane proteins of the photosystem II.

The Mn4CaO5 cluster is an enzyme on which water oxidation takes place in a sequence of light-induced four steps. All these reactions occurring at this enzyme Mn4CaO5 cluster consists of a concerted electron and proton transfer, forming intermediate states to minimize activation energy for the process of water oxidation. Therefore, photosystem II can be a site for Bioengineering (bio-inspired solar energy converting applications.

Water splitting complex; Mn4CaO5 cluster

A recent study high-resolution 3D-structure of the photosystem II reveals that Mn-Ca cluster is arranged in a precise arrangement of the Mn-Ca cluster which is necessary for the water oxidation. In addition to this, using a combination of theoretical catalytic models with experimental data from the various spectroscopic techniques it has been possible to enumerate different oxidation states of the Mn during water oxidation.

According to which, a set of amino acids is most important in the catalytic mechanism giving hints on the proton transfer reaction involved in the extended hydrogen bonding network. However, there is an open question on how the position of reactive molecules is oriented and the mechanism of formation of the oxygen molecule itself as well as how the relaxation process proceeds at the Mn4CaO5 cluster involving spine-state transitions. The aim of this position is to address these questions by using far-infrared FTIR difference spectroscopy.

How to Apply

Visit the link to know more detail about the post as well as to apply for the post

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