Photosynthesis is basis for our life on earth, providing oxygen, fixing carbon dioxide and thereby sustaining the production of food and renewable energy. Prognoses provide a dire outlook: by 2050, world food demands will greatly exceed global production. One current limitation for targeted improvement strategies of crop photosynthesis is our incomplete understanding of the molecular mechanisms that underlie photosynthesis under natural light conditions and interactions with environmental stresses.
To fill this gap in knowledge, my research team employs a unique interdisciplinary approach at the interface of physiology and modern biochemistry with a focus on spectroscopic plant phenotyping, genetics, molecular biology, protein biochemistry and biophysics. Using the model plant systems our goal is to define the molecular requirements for dynamic photosynthesis and finally apply this knowledge to enhance crop photosynthesis and biomass production. In this talk, I will summarize our approaches and focus on ion transport as a key player in the rapid response of photosynthesis to changes in light intensity.