Anna Stikane

Advancing Biotechnologies for Fuel Generation: Exploiting Transmembrane Cytochromes for Solar Energy Conversion

I graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a BSc in Biological Sciences with an Honours in Biotechnology in 2015, and decided to pursue a PhD in Leeds supervised by Prof Lars Jeuken and Dr Kevin Critchley.

My research explores use of supramolecular (nano)architectures for using solar energy, which is our most abundant energy source and has enormous potential as a clean and economical energy supply. We wish to tap into this under-utilised source of power and address the direct conversion of solar energy to a renewable fuel; a major technological challenge of our time. This PhD project uses bottom-up synthetic biology principles to mimic the principles of plant photosynthesis. Hybrid systems are designed and built in which light-harvesting nanoparticles (e.g., TiO2 or quantum dots) are coupled to redox-active proteins and enzymes, combining the catalytic specificity of enzymes with the photo-stability and light-harvesting capabilities of semi-conducting nanoparticles for fuel production.