Robert E. Blankenship (USA)
Departments of Biology and Chemistry Washington University in St. Louis
St. Louis, Missouri 63130, USA

Current Address: 3536 S. Kachina Dr. Tempe, Arizona 85282, USA
Tel (480) 518-2871
Google Scholar:
ORCID ID: 0000-0003-0879-9489


University of California, Berkeley – Ph.D. in Chemistry, 1975

Nebraska Wesleyan University, Lincoln, Nebraska – B.S. in Chemistry with distinction, 1970



7/19–Present – Lucille P. Markey Distinguished Professor of Arts and Sciences, Emeritus, Departments of Biology and Chemistry, Washington University, St. Louis, MO

7/06–7/19 – Lucille P. Markey Distinguished Professor of Arts and Sciences, Departments of Biology and Chemistry, Washington University, St. Louis, MO

7/08–7/19 – Secondary Faculty Appointment, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Washington University, St. Louis, MO

7/06–Present – Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Emeritus, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ

7/02–6/06 – Chair, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ

7/88–6/06 – Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ

7/85–6/88 – Associate Professor of Chemistry, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ

7/79–6/85 – Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Amherst College, Amherst, MA

6/76–6/79 – Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Biochemistry, University of Washington, Seattle, WA with Prof. William Parson

8/75–12/75 – Assistant Professor of Chemistry, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon

1/75–7/75 & 1/76–5/76 – Postdoctoral Fellow, Lawrence Berkeley Lab., Berkeley, CA, with Prof. Kenneth Sauer

6/70–12/74 – Graduate Student, Department of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley, CA, Prof. Kenneth Sauer, Advisor


Director, Photosynthetic Antenna Research Center (PARC), a DOE Energy Frontier Research Center, Washington University in St. Louis, 2009–2018

Chair, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Arizona State University, 2002–2006

President, International Society for Photosynthesis Research, 2001–2004

Panel Manager, USDA Competitive Research Grants, Photosynthesis and Respiration Program, 1996

Director, Center for the Study of Early Events in Photosynthesis, Arizona State University, 1988–1991

Student Body President, Nebraska Wesleyan University, 1969–1970



Plenary Lecture, 18th International Congress on Photosynthesis Research, Rotarua, New Zealand, August 2-7, 2020 (postponed until 2022).

Session Chair, Light-Harvesting Workshop, Rotarua, New Zealand, July 30-August 1, 2020 (postponed until 2022).

Invited Speaker, Electron Transfer and Reaction Center Workshop, Rotarua, New Zealand, August 8-9, 2020 (postponed until 2022).

Keynote Lecture, Conference on Solar Energy to Biomass 2020: Optimization of Light Energy Conversion in Plants and Microalgae, Porto, Portugal, February 11-14, 2020.

Session Chair, Conference on Functional Dynamics—Visualizing Molecules in Action, Tempe, AZ, November 6-8, 2019.

Invited Speaker, John Lawrence Seminar Series in Biosciences, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, Berkeley, CA, October 1, 2019.

Session Chair and Discussion Leader, Gordon Research Conference on Photosynthesis. Newry, ME, July 21-26, 2019.

Invited Speaker, Carl Sagan Workshop, Caltech, Pasadena, CA, July 15-19, 2019.

Keynote Lecture, 16th International Symposium on Phototrophic Prokaryotes, Vancouver, BC, August 5-8, 2018.

Plenary Lecture, Western US Photosynthesis Conference, Biosphere 2, Oracle, AZ, January 4-7, 2018.



Recent Conferences Organized

Co-organizer, Midwest/Southeast Photosynthesis Conference, Turkey Run, IN, 2018

Co-organizer, Midwest/Southeast Photosynthesis Conference, Turkey Run, IN, 2017

Co-organizer, 16th International Congress on Photosynthesis Research, St. Louis, MO, 2013

Co-organizer, Conference on Photosynthetic Light Harvesting Systems, St. Louis, MO, 2013

Co-organizer, Workshop on Cyanobacteria, St. Louis, MO, 2013

Co-organizer, DOE Workshop on Efficiency of Photosynthesis, Albuquerque, NM, 2009


Recent Books and Editorial Service

Section Editor, Encyclopedia of Biological Chemistry, 3rd Ed., 2019–present

Associate Editor, Photosynthesis Research, 2018–present

Author, Molecular Mechanisms of Photosynthesis 2nd Edition, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK, 2014

Editorial Board, Biochemistry, 2001–2020

Consulting Editor, Advances in Photosynthesis and Respiration, 2009–present

Associate Editor, Frontiers in Microbial Physiology and Metabolism, 2011–2017

Author, Molecular Mechanisms of Photosynthesis, Blackwell Science, Oxford, UK, 2002

Editor, with M. Madigan and C. Bauer, Anoxygenic Photosynthetic Bacteria, Kluwer Academic Publishing, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, 1995


Recent Advisory Service

Scientific Advisory Board, DOE Energy Frontier Research Center for Bioinspired Light-Escalated Chemistry (BioLEC), Princeton University, 2018–present; Chair 2018–present

Scientific Advisory Board, DOE Energy Frontier Research Center for Biological Electron Transfer and Catalysis, Montana State University, 2014–present; Chair 2018-present

Scientific Advisory Board, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research program in Biology, Energy, Technology, 2014–2018; Chair 2014–2018

Committee of Visitors, Chemical Sciences, Geosciences, and Biosciences (CSGB) Division, DOE Basic Energy Sciences, Subpanel Lead on Photochemistry and Biochemistry, 2017

Society Service

President, International Society for Photosynthesis Research, 2001–2004

Executive Committee, International Society for Photosynthesis Research, 1995–2001

Local Arrangements Chairman, Biophysical Society Annual Meeting, Phoenix, AZ, 1988



Midwest Award, American Chemical Society, 2015

Lifetime Achievement Award, Rebeiz Foundation for Basic Research, 2013

Paper of the Year, Rebeiz Foundation for Basic Research, 2013

Communications Award, International Society of Photosynthesis Research, 2013

Fellow, American Academy of Microbiology, 2012

Charles F. Kettering Award for Excellence in Photosynthesis, American Society of Plant Biologists, 2008

Beatrice NE Educational Foundation Hall of Fame, 2008

Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2004



Excitation and electron transfer in photosynthetic systems

Origin and early evolution of photosynthesis and nitrogen fixation

Metalloenzymes involved in electron transfer and oxidative stress processes



Google Scholar (May 2020)

All                   Since 2015

Citations:                    31,690             11,953

h-index:                       78                    41

i10-index:                    314                  165


Web of Science (May 2020)

Results found: 455
Sum of the Times Cited: 19,500
Sum of Times Cited without self-citations: 17,819
Citing Articles: 11,926
Citing Articles without self-citations: 11,605
Average Citations per Item: 42.863
h-index: 66



  1. Khmelnitskiy A, Kell A, Reinot T, Saer RG, Blankenship RE and Jankowiak R (2018) Energy landscape of the intact and destabilized FMO antennas from tepidum and the L122Q mutant: Low temperature spectroscopy and modeling study. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 1859: 165-173. (R)


  1. Wolf BM, Magdaong NM, Roth R, Goodenough U and Blankenship RE (2018) Characterization of a newly isolated freshwater Eustigmatophyte alga capable of utilizing far-red light as its sole light source. Photosynthesis Research 135: 177-189. (R)


  1. Liu H, Lu Y, Wolf BM, Saer R, Orf GS, King JD and Blankenship RE (2018) Photoactivation and relaxation studies on the cyanobacterial OCP in the presence of copper ion. Photosynthesis Research 135: 143-147. (R)


  1. Chen M and Blankenship RE (2018) Pigments: general properties and biosynthes In: Light Harvesting in Photosynthesis. Roberta Croce; Rienk van Grondelle; Herbert van Amerongen; Ivo van Stokkum, Eds. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, pp 3-20. (IR)


  1. Maiuri M, Ostroumov EE, Saer RG, Blankenship RE and Scholes GD (2018) Coherent wavepackets in the FMO complex are robust to excitonic-structure perturbations by mutagenesis. Nature Chemistry 10: 177-183. (R)


  1. Hernández-Prieto MA, Postier B, Blankenship RE and Chen M (2018) Far-red light promotes biofilm formation but not chlorophyll d biosynthesis in the cyanobacterium Acaryochloris marina. Environmental Microbiology 20: 535–545. (R)


  1. Allodi MA, Otto JP, Sohail SH, Saer RG, Wood RE, Rolczynski BS, Massey SC, Ting P-C, Blankenship RE and Engel GS (2018) ­­Reactive oxygen species affect ultrafast exciton transport in photosynthetic pigment-protein complexes. Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters 9: 89–95. (R)


  1. Magdaong NCM and Blankenship RE (2018) Photoprotective excited state quenching mechanisms in diverse photosynthetic organisms. Journal of Biological Chemistry 293: 5018-5025. (R, IR)


  1. Ogren JI, Tong AL, Gordon SC, Chenu A, Lu Y, Blankenship RE, Cao J and Schlau-Cohen GS (2018) Impact of the lipid bilayer membrane on energy transfer kinetics in the photosynthetic protein LH2. Chemical Science 9: 3095-3104. (R)


  1. Blankenship RE, Brune DC and Olson J (2018) Remembering John M. Olson (1929-2017). Photosynthesis Research 137: 161-169. (IR)


  1. Stadnytskyi, V, Orf GS, Bankenship RE and Savikhin S (2018) Shot-noise limited time-resolved circular dichroism pump-probe spectrometer. Review of Scientific Instruments 89: 033184. (R)


  1. Xin Y, Shi Y, Niu T, Wang Q, Niu W, Huang X, Ding W, Yang L, Blankenship RE, Xu X, and Sun F (2018) Cryo-EM structure of the RC-LH core complex from an early branching photosynthetic prokaryote. Nature Communications 9: 1568. (R)


  1. Tang JK-H and Blankenship RE (2018) Photosynthetic Electron Transport. Enclyclopedia of Biophysics, 2nd, G. C. K Roberts, Ed., Springer, The Netherlands. (IR)


  1. Khmelnitskiy A, Saer R, Blankenship RE and Jankowiak R (2018) On the Excitonic Energy Landscape of the Y16F Mutant of the Chlorobium tepidum FMO Complex: High resolution spectroscopic and modeling studies. Journal of Physical Chemistry B 122: 3734-3743. (R)


  1. Lu Y, Goodson C, Blankenship RE, and Gross ML (2018) Primary and higher order structure of the reaction center from the purple phototrophic bacterium Blastochloris viridis: A test for native mass spectrometry. Journal of Proteome Research 17: 1615-1623. (R)


  1. Bar-Zvi S, Lahav A, Harris D, Niedzwiedzki DM, Blankenship RE and Adir N (2018) Structural heterogeneity leads to functional homogeneity in marina phycocyanin. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 1859: 544-553. (R)


  1. Niedzwiedzki DM, Gardiner AT, Blankenship RE and Cogdell RJ (2018) Energy transfer in purple bacterial photosynthetic units from cells grown in various light intensities. Photosynthesis Research 137: 389-402. (R)


  1. Niedzwiedzki DM and Blankenship RE (2018) Excited-state properties of the central-cis isomer of the carotenoid peridinin. Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics 649: 29-36. (R)


  1. Shah VB, Ferris C, Orf G, Kavadiya S, Ray J, Jun Y-S, Lee B, Blankenship RE, and Biswas P (2018) Supramolecular self-assembly of bacteriochlorophyll c molecules in aerosolized droplets to synthesize biomimetic chlorosomes. Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B 185: 161-168. (R)


  1. Magdaong NCM, Niedzwiedzki DM, Saer  RG, Goodson C, and Blankenship RE (2018) Excitation energy transfer kinetics and efficiency in phototrophic green sulfur bacteria. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 1859: 1180-1190. (R)


  1. Govindjee and Blankenship RE (2018) Martin D. Kamen, Whose Discovery of 14C Changed Plant Biology as Well as Archaeology. Plantae


  1. Saer RG, Schultz R, and Blankenship RE (2019) The influence of quaternary structure on the stability of Fenna-Matthews-Olson (FMO) antenna complexes. Photosynthesis Research 140: 39-49. (R)


  1. Niedzwiedzki DM, Bar-Zvi S, Blankenship RE, and Adir N (2019) Excitation energy migration in phycobilisomes from the cyanobacterium Acaryochloris marina. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 1860: 286-296. (R)


  1. Squires AH, Dahlberg PD, Magdaong NCM, Liu H, Blankenship RE, and Moerner WE (2019) Identification of two distinct binding sites for Orange Carotenoid Protein on the phycobilisome by single-molecule trapping and spectroscopy. Nature Communications 10: 1172. (R)


  1. Lu X, Selvaraj B, Ghimire-Rijal S, Orf GS, Blankenship RE, Meilleur F, Cuneo MJ and Myles DAA(2019) Neutron and X-ray analysis of the Fenna-Matthews-Olson photosynthetic antenna complex from Prosthecochloris aestuarii. Acta Crystallographica F 71: 171-175. (R)


  1. Niedzwiedzki DM, Wolf, BM, and Blankenship RE (2019) Excitation energy transfer in the far-red absorbing violaxanthin/vaucheriaxanthin chlorophyll a complex from the Eustigmatophyte Alga FP5. Photosynthesis Research 140: 337-354. (R)


  1. Liu H, Weisz DA, Zhang MM, Cheng M, Zhang B, Zhang H, Gerstenecker GS, Pakrasi HB, Gross ML, and Blankenship RE (2019) Phycobilisomes harbor FNRL in cyanobacteria. mBio 10: e00669-19 (R)


  1. Wolf BM and Blankenship RE (2019) Far-red light acclimation in diverse oxygenic photosynthetic organisms. Photosynthesis Research 142: 349-359. (R)


  1. Niedzwiedzki DM, Liu H, and Blankenship RE (2019) Excitation energy transfer in intact CpcL-phycobilisome from Synechocystis sp PCC. 6803. Journal of Physical Chemistry B 123: 4695-4704. (R)


  1. Lou W, Haijun Liu H, Wolf, Blankenship RE (2019) The role of copper in OCP-related photoprotection in cyanobacteria. Biochemistry 58: 3109-3115. (R)


  1. Weisz DA, Johnson VM, Niedzwiedzki DM, Shinn MK, Liu H, Klitzke CF, Gross ML, Blankenship RE, Lohman TM, Pakrasi HB (2019) A novel chlorophyll protein complex in the repair cycle of Photosystem II. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 116: 21907-21913. (R)


  1. Liu H and Blankenship RE (2019) On the interface of light-harvesting antenna complexes and reaction centers in oxygenic photosynthesis. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 1860: 148079. (IR, R)


  1. Jassas M, Goodson C, Blankenship RE, Jankowiak R, and Kell A (2019) On Excitation Energy Transfer within the Baseplate BChl a–CsmA Complex of Chloroflexus aurantiacus. Journal of Physical Chemistry B 123: 9786-9791. (R)


  1. Irgen-Gioro S, Gururangan K, Goodson C, Blankenship RE, and Harel E (2019) Electronic

coherence lifetimes of the Fenna-Matthews-Olson complex and light harvesting complex II. Chemical Science 10: 10503. (R)


  1. Ho M-Y, Niedzwiedzki DM, MacGregor-Chatwin C, Gerstenecker G, Hunter CN, Blankenship RE, and Bryant DA (2020) Extensive remodeling of the photosynthetic apparatus alters energy transfer among photosynthetic complexes when cyanobacteria acclimate to far-red light. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 1861: 148064. (R)


  1. Lou W, Niedzwiedzki DM, Blankenship RE, and Liu H (2020) Binding of red form of the orange carotenoid protein to phycobilisome is not sufficient for its function–Evidence of a third state of OCP in cyanobacterial non-photochemical quenching. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 1861: 148155. (R)


  1. Dewey ED, Stokes LM, Burchell BM, Shaffer KN, Huntington AM, Baker JM, Nadendla S, Giglio MG, Bender KS, Touchman JW, Blankenship RE, Madigan MT, Sattley WM (2020) Analysis of the complete genome of the alkaliphilic and phototrophic Firmicute Heliorestis convoluta strain HHT. Microorganisms 8: 313. (R)


  1. Zhang MM, Weisz DA, Pakrasi HB, Gross ML, Blankenship RE, and Liu H (2020) Structure of cyanobacterial phycobilisome core as revealed by structural modeling and chemical cross-linking. In Revision for Science Advances. (R)


  1. Shi Y, Xin Y, Wang C, Tang W, Blankenship RE, Sun F, and Xu X (2020) 3.3 Å cryo-EM structure of the photosynthetic Alternative Complex III from Roseiflexus castenholzii reveals a redox-coupled proton translocation mechanism. In Revision for Science Advances. (R)


  1. Sonani RR, Roszak AW, Liu H, Gross ML, Blankenship RE, Madamwar D, Cogdell RJ (2020) Revisiting high resolution crystal structure of Phormidium rubidum phycocyanin assisted by using mass spectrometry. Photosynthesis Research In Press.


B = Book; BR = Book Review; CP = Conference Proceedings; IR = Invited Review; R = Refereed; MM = Multimedia