Since the early 1970's 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 / 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 that in 1995 allowed Richard'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 (see McDermot et al., 1995McDermot et al., 1995 ). Since then Richard has been collaborating with both experimental physicists and chemists, and several theoreticians to capitalise on this structural information to understand the full molecular details of the energy transfer reactions that take place during light harvesting.
He is now increasingly 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, together with Lee Cronin in Chemistry at Glasgow, has founded the Glasgow Solar Fuels Initiative. This work involves a wide range of collaborations both within the University and in the USA, Japan, Germany, Poland and Italy. McDermot et al., 1995