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 acting as a PI of the 'Photosynthetic microbes' team. Since 2017 I am a tenure-track Associated Professor of Molecular Plant Biology. Moreover, I am a chair of 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 a chair of 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. On the one hand, these routes can be thought of as necessary for the survival of cells under extreme changes in physiological conditions, whereas on the other hand, they can be thought of as a waste of photosynthetic electrons or reducing power and energy in a targeted biofuel or bio-industrial production system. Currently our team is investigating (i) the crosstalk between the main bioenergetics pathways, photosynthesis and respiration and 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:
- 2020-2023 EU FET-Open “Leaf-inspired nanocellulose frameworks for next generation photosynthetic cell-factories” (FuturoLEAF), Consortium of 6 partners, total funding 3M €;
- 2020-2022 Research project grant from the Novo Nordisk Foundation, “Photosynthetic cell factories for production of phenylpropanoids” (PhotoPro). Consortium with the University of Copenhagen (PI Poul Erik Jensen), 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”. Consortium with VTT, Aalto University, 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. ***