2.8 million euros for photosynthesis research
In the programme NWO Open Competition Domain Science - GROOT, twenty new consortia will start a large research project. This boost of more than 47 million euros will make new research possible in the science domain. Among the winners is the Nanoscale Regulators of Photosynthesis consortium in which Anjali Pandit takes part.
The consortium, consisting of biologists, physicists and chemists, will conduct research into a protein in plants that plays a role in photosynthesis. Plants depend on sunlight for their energy supply. With the use of an ingenious antenna system they use this light very efficiently but in bright sunlight the chances to induce photodamage increase substantially. Fortunately, plants can cope with these dangers with the use of a special protein called PsbS.
However, it is completely unknown how this protein does its job. A broad consortium of plant biologists, chemists and physicists from Leiden, Amsterdam, Wageningen and Groningen team up to investigate with advanced experimental and theoretical methods how PsbS can recognize the danger and set in motion a cascade of processes that lead to efficient photoprotection. In Leiden, the team of Dr. Anjali Pandit team will investigate the active switch of PsbS that turns on photoprotection. Herefore the protein will be produced and placed in a membrane-mimicking environment, followed by its structural characterization through spectroscopic methods, in particular NMR.
The insights that follow from the research program may be used to optimize the productivity of crop plants, and to increase their resilience to the adverse effects of climate change. In this way the research programme may contribute to global food security in the near future.
In the NWO Open Competition Domain Science - GROOT researchers can apply as a part of a consortium for curiosity-driven, fundamental research in the research fields of the NWO Domain Science.
The call is published once every two years.