Visiting AddressRoom 2313
Institute of Biotechnology
tel: +358-9-191 58000
fax: +358-9-191 59920
email: click here
how to reach us
Postal AddressInstitute of Biotechnology
University of Helsinki
The main objective of our research is to gain mechanistic and structural understanding on both the temporal and spatial nanoscales of the two primary biological energy-transducing machines, Complex I and cytochrome oxidase (Complex IV).
Common to all aerobic organisms, these two macromolecular devices are key parts of the respiratory chain, which extracts energy at high efficiency and in a controlled fashion from the oxidation of hydrogen by dioxygen, thus converting this energy into an electrochemical gradient of protons across a lipid membrane. These devices have evolved during the past 2-3 billion years to utilize dioxygen (the waste product of photosynthesis) for controlled combustion of hydrogenated foodstuffs.
A truly interdisciplinary approach is taken that includes chemical, physical and computational technology, in addition to molecular and structural biology. We aim to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of energy transduction in these remarkable biological machines, and thereby to provide the foundations for future design and technology of biomimetic devices. In such devices the controlled oxidation of hydrogen by oxygen may be used to produce electricity in much the same way as in contemporary fuel cells, but on the scale of nanometres and based on the "nanotechnology of Nature".
© Ilya Belevich & Mårten Wikström