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Richard Cogdell


  • Advisory Committee Chair
  • Bio-inspired Solar Energy




Since the early 1970s, Richard Cogdell has been involved in research on bacterial photosynthesis.

His work has increasingly focused on the early events of photosynthesis, light harvesting and energy transfer, and the structure and function of the pigment-protein complexes involved in these processes. A wide variety of experimental approaches have been used, including protein crystallography, fs and ps spectroscopy, single molecule spectroscopy and molecular biology. However, it was protein crystallography in 1995 that allowed Cogdell’s research group, in collaboration with two other groups, to determine the three-dimensional structure of a light-harvesting complex from the purple bacterium, Rhodopseudomas acidophila. Since then, Cogdell has collaborated with theoreticians and experimental physicists and chemists, to capitalize on this structural information and understand the full molecular details of the energy transfer reactions that take place during light harvesting.

Increasingly, Cogdell is concentrating on using the information gained from his structural and functional studies on the purple bacterial pigment-protein complexes to devise ways of using solar energy to produce fuels. To this end, he was a co-founder of the Glasgow Solar Fuels Initiative, which involves a wide range of collaborations both within the University of Glasgow and in the United States, Japan, Germany, Poland and Italy.


  • President of the International Society for Photosynthesis Research, 2013
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, 2011
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, 2009
  • Adjunct Professor of Ma Chung University, Indonesia, 2009
  • Fellow of the Royal Society, 2007

Relevant Publications

  • Fillol-Salom, A., Bacarizo, J., Alqasmi, M., Ciges-Tomas, J. R., Martínez-Rubio, R., Roszak, A. W., ... & Penadés, J. R. (2019). Hijacking the hijackers: Escherichia coli pathogenicity islands redirect helper phage packaging for their own benefit. Molecular cell, 75(5), 1020-1030. DOI: 10.1016/j.molcel.2019.06.017
  • Tiwari, V., Matutes, Y. A., Gardiner, A. T., Jansen, T. L., Cogdell, R. J., & Ogilvie, J. P. (2018). Spatially-resolved fluorescence-detected two-dimensional electronic spectroscopy probes varying excitonic structure in photosynthetic bacteria. Nature communications, 9(1), 1-10.DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-06619-x
  • Niedzwiedzki, D. M., Gardiner, A. T., Blankenship, R. E., & Cogdell, R. J. (2018). Energy transfer in purple bacterial photosynthetic units from cells grown in various light intensities. Photosynthesis research, 137(3), 389-402. DOI: 10.1007/s11120-018-0512-1
  • Nottoli, M., Jurinovich, S., Cupellini, L., Gardiner, A. T., Cogdell, R., & Mennucci, B. (2018). The role of charge-transfer states in the spectral tuning of antenna complexes of purple bacteria. Photosynthesis research, 137(2), 215-226. DOI: 10.1007/s11120-018-0492-1
  • Sonani, R. R., Gardiner, A., Rastogi, R. P., Cogdell, R., Robert, B., & Madamwar, D. (2018). Site, trigger, quenching mechanism and recovery of non-photochemical quenching in cyanobacteria: recent updates. Photosynthesis research, 137(2), 171-180. DOI: 10.1007/s11120-018-0498-8

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