Areas of expertise
I obtained a PhD degree in Azerbaijan. I have joined the Molecular Plant Biology group at the University of Turku as a postdoctoral research fellow in 2002. In 2009, I was awarded with a Docent title in the field of Bioenergetics. I have been acting as Principal Investigator at the Molecular Plant unit, University of Turku since 2010. Currently I am a full Professor of Basic and Applied Photosynthesis. Moreover, I am chairing the Nordic Center of Excellence “Towards Versatility of Aquatic Production Platforms: Unlocking the Value of Nordic Bioresources” (NordAqua, www.nordaqua.fi) funded by NordForsk (2017-2022) and the Biocity Turku Research Programme “Advanced Bioresources and Smart Bioproducts – Towards Sustainable Bioeconomy” (SmartBio, www.smartbio.fi).
I have been involved in teaching 'Advanced photosynthesis' and 'Bioenergetics' courses since 2009. Currently I am responsible for the 'Applied Photosynthesis' and 'Bio-based Finland' courses. Moreover, I am involved in the University of Turku Doctoral Programme (UTUGS) as a PhD supervisor.
My research interests have been mainly focused on plant, algal and cyanobacterial photosynthesis and the alternative electron-transport routes, which are heavily involved in regulation of photosynthesis. Currently our team is investigating (i) the alternative electron transport pathways in cyanobacteria and green algae; (ii) the distribution mechanisms of photosynthetic electrons to hydrogenases (or to nitrogenase in heterocytous cyanobacteria); (iii) development of artificial microfilms of algae and cyanobacteria entrapped in tailored polymeric matrices for increasing the light conversion efficiency toward product; (iv) biodiversity of Nordic cyanobacteria and algae for efficient waste-water remediation, for production of biofuels and high-value products.
Projects as Principal Investigator:
- 2021-2023 Research project grant from the Novo Nordisk Foundation, ”Advanced photosynthetic biocatalysts" (PhotoCat), consortium, total funding 4.000.000 DKK;
- 2020-2023 EU FET-Open “Leaf-inspired nanocellulose frameworks for next generation photosynthetic cell-factories” (FuturoLEAF), consortium, total funding 3M €;
- 2020-2022 Research project grant from the Novo Nordisk Foundation, “Photosynthetic cell factories for production of phenylpropanoids” (PhotoPro), consortium, total funding 3.800.000 DKK;
- 2020-2024 OPERA Global Cooperation Program of Japan (University of Tsukuba, AIST Japan and University of Turku);
- 2019-2023 Academy Project Funding “CO2 capturing leaf inspired biocatalyst from photosynthetic cells and lignocellulosic building blocks” (AlgaLEAF), consortium, total funding 987 834 €;
- 2018-2022 Academy Project Funding “Revisiting the photosynthetic electron transport chain opportunities for improved efficiency toward valuable sink”, 466 989 €;
*** We currently have open positions for a PhD student and a post-doctoral fellow. ***