Laboratory of Biophysics
Location: W. Ostwaldi Str 1, (D-wing, 1. foor), 50411 Tartu, Estonia
Employees of the laboratory
The Laboratory of Biophysics studies phenomena which lie on the borderline of biology and physics. More specifically, we are investigating how different protein complexes function, what is the interrelationship between the dynamical protein structure and their function, and how the external conditions such as temperature and pressure modify the properties of proteins.
Our main focus lies on the proteins that facilitate photosynthesis. A good example is the peripheral light-harvesting 2 (LH2) complex from the photosynthetic purple bacterium Rhodopseudomonas acidophila. This complex has developed a special manifold of energy states for very efficient harvesting of solar photons and transferring the light excitation energy along extensive biomembranes. For experimental studies, we utilize wide range of optical spectroscopies, which cover a broad set of wavelengths from ultraviolet to near-infrared. Among the laser spectroscopy techniques are differential fluorescence line-narrowing spectroscopy and picosecond time–resolved fluorescence spectroscopy (originally named picosecond spectrochronography), both of which were pioneered by the members of our lab. Our laboratory is also actively participating in neutron scattering research of membrane proteins and contributing into development of the ESS (European Spallation Source), a new and powerful neutron source. The obtained experimental results are widely interpreted through quantum mechanical modelling. This field of science is sometimes called quantum biology, because it searches for connections between life and quantum phenomena.
There is much to learn from the Nature for better and sustainable technology of future. The natural phenomena must just be observed, characterized, analysed, and interpreted from the right angle. For example, systems inspired by the study of photosynthesis in plants, algae, and bacteria are already being utilized to develop cheaper and “greener” solar panels.
The inherently complex nature of biosystems and bioprocesses calls for active teamwork with other laboratories all over the world. Our cooperation partners can be found in the USA, Australia, China, France, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Russia, Sweden, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, etc.
Our more detailed webpage can be found at utbiophys.eu .