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The Ruban Laboratory at the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences at Queen Mary University of London focuses on the molecular mechanisms of light energy utilisation and management in the photosynthetic membrane.

sashaThe molecular mechanism of NPQ Light and Shade Confocal fluoursecnce microscope image of chloroplasts in Cytoplasmic hybrids of tobacco and h.niger

The major goal of the lab is to understand how biological matter is designed to conduct a variety of intimate physical processes accompanying photosynthetic energy conversion and how structural properties of the photosynthetic light harvesting proteins govern flexibility and efficiency of photosynthesis.

Alexander Ruban's research has contributed to the fundamental understanding of the molecular design of the photosynthetic light harvesting machinery. He postulated and later confirmed the key role of LHCII antenna aggregation in the major photoprotective process in the photosynthetic membrane, NPQ and introduced the concepts of light adaptation 'memory' via the allosteric action of the xanthophyll cycle, robust genetic design of the light harvesting antenna. He discovered the photoprotective molecular switch in the Photosystem II antenna which shortens the chlorophyll excited state lifetime protecting the thylakoid membrane from photo-oxidative damage and that dynamics of antenna proteins is tuned by the polarity and structure of bound xanthophyll co-factors. Recently he established that the main photoprotective process in plants, NPQ, has an economic nature and developed a novel methodology for assessment of the photoprotective effectiveness of NPQ.

The Ruban Laboratory employs the methodologies of plant physiology, biophysics, and biochemistry to unravel these problems.

Tobacco,  Niger and cytoplasmic hybrid PSII and LHCII Freeze Fracture faces observed by TEM Biophysical and Biochemical techniques Lutein in LHCII