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Research: Project 1

How photosynthesis works in vivo.

Ultimately, we aim to understand how the specific molecular mechanisms of the photosynthetic system determine how the plant survives and grows. This approach is enabled by our development of novel spectroscopic techniques that allow us to observe specific photosynthetic reactions both in isolated systems (which are easily manipulated), and in living plants. With these tools,we are now able to monitor many of the photosynthesis reactions in living plants under natural conditions. This allows us to test whether models developed on isolated systems truly operate in vivo. In some cases, such studies have led us to new conclusions about how enzymes operate at the molecular level. Finally, the technology developed through these efforts has potential applications in plant breeding and precision farming, by giving growers the ability to rapidly assess the physiological status of plants.