NMC: Dr. Richard Sayre To Give Keynote Lecture At May 3 Molecular Biophysics And Bioimaging Retreat

Dr. Richard Sayre/Photo Courtesy NMC

New Mexico Consortium Scientist Dr. Richard Sayre will be giving an invited Keynote Lecture for the Annual Molecular Biophysics and Bioimaging Retreat at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory on May 3 entitled “Remodeling Photosynthesis for Enhanced Carbon Capture and Sequestration”

Addressing the dual challenges of feeding a growing human population and mitigating atmospheric greenhouse gases will require substantial increases in biomass production and biological carbon capture, respectively. These challenges cannot be met by increasing arable lands used for agriculture since most arable land is already in agricultural production. Therefore, increased efficiencies in carbon fixation must be achieved to meet projected food, energy and carbon sequestration demands.

Theoretically, the efficiency of conversion of photosynthetically active solar energy into the chemical energy of reduced carbon can be as high as 11%. But in reality, the thermodynamic efficiency of photosynthesis in the field is only 1-2%. Thus, there are substantial opportunities to increase photosynthetic efficiencies.

Dr. Sayre’s group has explored three strategies to improve photosynthetic efficiency including, 1) optimizing the kinetics of photon conversion into charge separated states to mitigate electron transport constraints, 2) elevating carbon dioxide concentrations in the chloroplast to reduce photorespiratory carbon losses, and 3) discovering and modulating the expression of novel regulatory genes that globally impact carbon capture and biomass accumulation. Individually, each of these approaches has resulted in the development of targeted modifications that have led to 2-3-fold increases in carbon fixation and biomass accumulation in the field or under field-simulated conditions.

Additional effects of these modifications on photosynthetic efficiency have also been observed including enhanced light stress tolerance and increased water use efficiency. Finally, the research team will propose an integrated model for the biological sequestration of carbon to mitigate atmospheric carbon that has the potential to be scaled a commercially viable level.

This meeting will be held Wednesday May 3 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Registration for in-person attendance closes Monday, April 17:

Virtual attendance is open to all!

Please register in advance for the meeting at:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

About the New Mexico Consortium

The New Mexico Consortium (NMC) is an innovative effort to engage universities and industry in scientific research in the nation’s interest and to increase the role of Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in science, education and economic development. This non-profit corporation formed by the three New Mexico research universities focuses on facilitating collaborations at the Laboratory interface.

The NMC leverages capabilities at LANL, universities and industry and provides agile and accountable operations to execute joint initiatives. The NMC develops and manages self-sustaining research facilities to support these joint initiatives. Through the NMC, the universities and LANL have developed more effective models to advance our nations interests and increase the impact of scientific research on the local and national economy.

To learn more go to: https://newmexicoconsortium.org/