Neal Woodbury


Our laboratory works in three different but synergistic areas. The first, and longest standing, area is the very first reaction involved in the solar energy conversion process of photosynthesis. Here we do a combination of both mutagenesis, altering the photosynthetic apparatus in specific ways, and laser-pulsed spectroscopy, observing the energy and electron transfer reactions that are involved in the reactions that store light energy by monitoring the absorbance and fluorescence spectra as a function of time. The time scale of these reactions is very fast, on the order of picoseconds. What we are learning is that there is a diversity of chemistry that can take place in the protein pigment complexes that make up the photosynthetic apparatus and that this chemistry can be controlled by such things as redox potential changes in cofactors and the wavelength of the light used to initiate the reaction. We are both interested in understanding the role of these multiple chemical pathways in nature and in using this understanding as a framework for the design of molecular scale electronic devices. The second area is single molecule spectroscopy of DNA protein interactions, particularly the nucleosome. Here we are interested in understanding in detail the dynamics of DNA/nucleosome movement, particularly with respect to any effect that may have on transcription. Finally, we have become very interested in developing methods for high throughput rational design of molecules and patterned chemical surfaces. This is a matter of co-opting the chemistry developed in the DNA chip industry to make a variety of other chemical constructs in high densities on surfaces. This is being used to develop artificial ligands, catalysts and new materials.

Home Department : 
Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
Other Affiliations: 
Director, Center for BioOptical Nanotechnology
Personal Information
Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Degree Information: 
PhD, University of Washington, 1986
Area Of Study: 
Photosynthesis, Patterned Chemistry, Molecular Evolution, Single Molecule Spectroscopy, Ultrafast Spectroscopy


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