Lauri Nikkanen profile picture
Docent, Molecular Plant Biology
Academy Research Fellow, Molecular Plant Biology


Tykistökatu 6

Areas of expertise

bioenergetics of photosynthesis
redox regulation in cyanobacteria and in plant chloroplasts
CO2 fixation
protein-protein interactions


  • Title of Docent in Plant Biochemistry and Bioenergetics.
  • I obtained my MSc degree in Cell and molecular biology at the Department of Biology in University of Turku in 2013
  • PhD (with honours) from the Department of Biochemistry in University of Turku in 2018, working at the laboratory of Molecular plant biology under supervision of Prof. Eevi Rintamäki.
  • For my PhD thesis, I was awarded the thesis awards from both the Turku Finnish University Society and the University of Turku Doctoral Programme in Molecular Life Sciences.
  • In 2018-2023 I was a post-doctoral researcher in the research group led by Yagut Allahverdiyeva, studying the function and regulation of alternative electron transfer pathways of photosynthesis in cyanobacteria.
  • I also have a bachelor's degree in International Business and Marketing logistics from Satakunta University of Applied Sciences (2008).


Photosynthetic cyanobacteria are increasingly being used as solar-powered green cell factories for the sustainable production of biofuels and valuable chemicals. Understanding the regulatory mechanisms of photosynthesis is crucial for directing photosynthetic energy towards desired reactions. The electron transport reactions of photosynthesis generate a membrane potential over the thylakoid membrane, the proton motive force, which serves as the driving force for ATP synthesis and regulates protective mechanisms of the photosynthetic machinery. Therefore, the regulation of proton motive force is vital and is achieved by adjusting the proton conductivity of the ATP synthase, as well as by various ion channels and exchangers in the thylakoid membrane. My goal is to investigate these mechanisms in cyanobacteria and find ways to utilize this new knowledge to optimize the productivity of photosynthetic cell factories.

I am the principal investigator (PI) in a project funded by the Academy of Finland titled "Channelling photosynthesis: elucidating regulation of membrane potential in cyanobacteria" (2024-2027).


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Dissecting the interaction of photosynthetic electron transfer with mitochondrial signalling and hypoxic response in the Arabidopsis rcd1 mutant (2020)

Philosophical Transactions B: Biological Sciences
Shapiguzov A, Nikkanen L, Fitzpatrick D, Vainonen JP, Gossens R, Alseekh S, Aarabi F, Tiwari A, Blokhina O, Panzarova K, Benedikty Z, Tyystjärvi E, Fernie AR, Trtilek M, Aro EM, Rintamäki E, Kangasjärvi J,
(Vertaisarvioitu alkuperäisartikkeli tai data-artikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä (A1))