Our department gathers scientists interested in investigating molecular mechanisms of operation of biological complex systems using advanced spectroscopic approaches – mainly time-resolved optical spectroscopy and electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR), as well as theoretical approaches – quantum mechanical calculations and mathematical modelling. Our main research themes aim to develop an understanding of the function and regulation of key redox enzymes engaged in biological energy conversion. These include membrane complexes of mitochondrial respiration, plant photosynthesis and various prokaryotic electron transfer systems.
In brief, these systems are designed to couple electron transfer reactions with proton translocation across bioenergetic membrane to build up protonmotive force that powers cellular ATP synthesis. They consist of multi-subunit and multi-cofactor membranous metalloproteins connected functionally by mobile electron/proton carriers within membrane and outside of it. We thus ask fundamental questions related to electron and proton transfers, molecular architecture and thermodynamic properties of metal centers, protein dynamics, dynamics of protein-protein interactions and other macromolecular interactions, as well as the chemistry of catalytic redox reactions. We want to understand not only the mechanisms that secure energy-conserving reactions but also how these beneficial reactions are separated from energy-wasting short-circuits or leaks of electrons that can lead to generation of reactive oxygen species.
We also develop new techniques, hardware, and software, to provide specialized methodological support in solving particular scientific issues.