Young Faculty：Associate Professor Keisuke Saito
Young Faculty / 034
Associate Professor Keisuke Saito, Ishikita lab, Department of Applied Chemistry
2008.03 PhD, Graduate School of Pure and Applied Sciences, University of Tsukuba
2008.04 Postdoctoral Fellow, Graduate School of Sciences, Osaka City University
2011.01 Postdoctoral Fellow, Career-Path Promotion Unit for Young Life Scientists, Kyoto University
2012.10 PRESTO resarcher, Japan Science and Technology Agency
2013.10 Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Sciences, Osaka University
2014.06 Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Engineering, the University of Tokyo (UTokyo)
2014.10 Assistant Professor, RCAST, UTokyo
2015.05 Lecturer, RCAST, UTokyo
2018.11 Associate Professor, RCAST, UTokyo
<About the Research>
Photosynthesis is a process used by plants to make energy and oxygen from the sun light, water and carbon oxide. The molecular mechanism how plants generate oxygen is still unclear. The oxygen evolving reaction is catalyzed by a protein molecule. Therefore, a key to understand the mechanism of the oxygen evolving should be found in the molecular structure of the protein. We study the molecular mechanism of photosynthesis by analyzing protein structures based on theoretical physics and chemistry with computers.
We study the following issues:
・How do photosynthetic organisms efficiently harvest and use the sun light? How can we improve the efficiency?
・What is the mechanism of the water splitting and the oxygen evolving reaction in plants?
・Why are electrons, protons and energy transferred to the determined direction in proteins?
As alternative and renewable energy sources, photosynthesis has attracted attention, e.g., “artificial photosynthesis” (mimicking the mechanism of natural photosynthesis) and “algaebiomass” (providing fuel by algae’s photosynthesis). To realize practical use of such photosynthetic energy sources, we are studying the mechanism of photosynthetic reactions in proteins of natural living things.