Virginia Johnson Thesis Defense


“Assembly and Repair of Photosystem II” Wednesday, April 20, 20223:00 PM Rebstock Building Room 322

2022 Arnon Lecture

Dr. Pakrasi will be presenting on”Fast-growing cyanobacteria as call factories for sustainable bioproduction” at the  2022 Arnon Lecture at UC Berkeley. 2022 Arnon Lecture poster  

Midwest/Southeast Photosynthesis Conference 2021

The Pakrasi Lab is attending the 47th annual Midwest/Southeast Photosynthesis Conference Virtual meeting taking place October 22-23 2021 Patricia Walker and Annesha Sengupta will be presenting their talk “Engineering natural competence into the fast-growing cyanobacterium Synechococcus elongatus UTEX 2973″ Saturday morning. Virginia M. Johnson will present her poster: Psb27, a Photosystem II assembly protein, enables […]

NSF funds UTEX 2973 Development Project

The Pakrasi Lab recently received $1.7 million in funding from the National Science Foundation to redesign the genome of a fast-growing cyanobacterium, Synechococcus elongatus UTEX 2973. This project aims to reduce UTEX 2973’s genome and turn it into a green cellular factory for sustainable production of food, feed and fuels. The Washington University news outlet The […]

Pakrasi Lab’s newest post-doc

A warm welcome to Dr. Annesha Sengupta. Annesha completed her Ph.D. from the Department of Chemical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, India. She previously visited the lab as a graduate student while she studied and developed genome editing tools for a fast-growing cyanobacteria, Synechococcus elongatus PCC 11801, we are very excited to […]

Pakrasi Lab members present at the MWSE Photosynthesis meeting

Pakrasi Lab members attended the 46th Midwest/Southeast Photosynthesis meeting annual conference via Zoom, from October 23-24, 2020. Ginger Johnson presented her research in a talk titled A REVERSIBLY INDUCED CRISPRi SYSTEM TARGETING PHOTOSYSTEM II IN THE CYANOBACTERIUM SYNECHOCYSTIS SP. PCC 6803 Dr. Michelle Liberton and Dr. Anindita Bandyopadhyay, presented a research poster titled THE TRANSCRIPTIONAL […]

Pakrasi Lab Works from Home Amid COVID-19 Epidemic

Members of the Pakrasi Lab are continuing to do research from their home workstations in an effort to keep cyanobacteria innovation moving forward while practicing social distancing. While some lab members are analyzing data, others are putting together doctoral theses and writing manuscripts during this period. The lab plans to submit a few review papers […]

NSF funds research on nitrogen fixation

The Pakrasi Lab recently received $1.2 million in funding from the National Science Foundation to study the unicellular nitrogen-fixing cyanobacterium Cyanothece 51142. Cyanothece 51142 is an enigmatic species because it can perform both nitrogen fixation and photosynthesis in the same cell. Normally these two processes are mutually exclusive because the presence of oxygen interferes with nitrogen […]

Pakrasi Organizes US-Japan Binational Workshop on Photosynthesis

Himadri Pakrasi recently served as a co-organizer of the inaugural US-Japan Binational Workshop on Photosynthesis. The workshop was held in early October 2019 in Kyoto, Japan and featured presentations from scientists from the United States and Japan participating in photosynthesis research. Pakrasi worked alongside fellow co-organizers Professor Toshiharu Shikanai and Professor Krishna Niyogi to make […]

Nitrogen Project Publication Recognized in University News

The recent publication of Pakrasi Lab Postdoctoral Researcher Deng Liu’s manuscript Engineering Nitrogen Fixation Activity in an Oxygenic Phototroph in mBio has received recognition in the Washington University in St. Louis news journal theSource. The news article discusses the agricultural implications of the cyanobacterial strain generated in the paper with regard to fertilizer production. Click the link […]

Knoot Visits Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s HFIR Facility

  Postdoctoral Researcher Cory Knoot recently visited Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to perform experiments on the model cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803. Knoot used the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) facility’s Bio-SANS instrument to collect neutron scattering data. These data have provided valuable insight into Synechocystis 6803 thylakoid membrane structure. More information about this project is available on […]

Pakrasi Featured in Podcast

Himadri Pakrasi was recently interviewed for the Washington University Natural Sciences and Math Podcast. The episode, hosted by Claire Gauen, is entitled Amazing Creatures: Cyanobacteria and features the lab’s favorite organisms. The transcript and audio file of the podcast are available at

Water World

Work by postdoctoral research associate Daniel Weisz was recently highlighted in the Science and Technology section of the Washington University online publication The Source. The article by Tony Fitzpatrick is entitled “Water World” and describes the findings of Daniel’s work to map water channels in  Photosystem II. This work was recently published in Scientific Advances. The oxygen species […]

Examining Cellular Structure During Nitrogen Starvation

Pakrasi Lab research was recently highlighted on the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL) website. The article is entitled “Cyanobacterial Studies Examine Cellular Structure During Nitrogen Starvation,” and features a publication authored by Pakrasi Lab research associate Michelle Liberton and the ORNL team. Michelle performed experiments on the tBio-SANS instrument, beamline CG‑3, at […]

Sunblock for Bacteria

Research from the Pakrasi Lab was recently highlighted by Frontiers in Energy Research, the Energy Frontier Research Center’s newsletter. The article is entitled “Sunblock for Bacteria,” and features a publication authored by Pakrasi Lab graduate student Steven Chen. Steven worked with scientist Darek Niedzwiedzki, head of the Photosynthetic Antenna Research Center’s Ultrafast Laser Facility, to perform the […]

Probing an Unusual Nitrogen Fixing Symbiosis

Symbiotic relationships between unicellular microorganisms are essential components of global ecosystems. Recently, a unique marine symbiosis was discovered between a microalga and an uncultivated unicellular cyanobacterium called UCYN-A. Analyses of UCYN-A revealed extensive genome reduction in this organism, but the retention of an elaborate nitrogen-fixing cluster. UCYN-A lacks the genes for oxygen-evolving photosystem II and […]

42nd Annual Midwest/Southeast Photosynthesis Meeting

Last week the Pakrasi Lab made its annual journey to Turkey Run State Park in Marshall, Indiana to attend the 42nd Midwest/Southeast Photosynthesis Meeting. This year Deng Liu and Kristen Wendt gave oral presentations and Justin Ungerer, Po Chen Lin, Anindita Banerjee, and Cory Knoot presented posters. Kristen Wendt was awarded a prize for her […]

New Doctor in the Lab

Congratulations to the newly vetted Ph.D. in the lab, Dr. Amelia Nguyen! Amelia gave her thesis defense presentation, entitled “Use of Proteomics to Probe Dynamic Changes in Cyanobacteria,” on Friday August 26th. Pictures of the celebrations are now posted under the “Gallery” tab. In September, Amelia will be moving to Washington D.C. for a job in the […]

Returned Lab Member: Anindita Bandyopadhyay

The Pakrasi Lab is excited to announce the return of previous lab member and postdoctoral researcher Anindita Bandyopadhyay. Anindita rejoins us after spending three years in India and will be continuing her role as a postdoctoral researcher in the lab. Welcome Anindita! Home  

Photo Gallery Addition

With all of the lab happenings, it became clear that photo gallery was a necessary website addition. Check out our new “Gallery” tab, which is newly updated with 2016 Lab Picnic photos and Amelia’s Thesis Printing Adventure.