Benjamin Silliman Professor of Chemistry
Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry
Member of Yale faculty since 1982
Research Our research aims to define how nature has solved the difficult problem of efficient light-driven, four-electron oxidation of water to O2 and to use this understanding to develop new artificial processes for solar energy conversion. We use spectroscopic, biophysical and molecular biological methods to probe the structure and function of the redox centers, the kinetics and yields of electron-transfer reactions, and the chemistry of water oxidation in photosystem II. The studies on photosystem II provide insight into the design of artificial systems that split water. Toward this goal, we are investigating inorganic model complexes of the tetramanganese active site in photosystem II in collaboration with Professor Crabtree. The synergism between the inorganic and biological chemistry is an important aspect of this research and has yielded the first homogeneous oxomanganese water-oxidation catalyst. We are also working on a collaborative project to develop artificial processes that use solar energy for fuel production together with Professors Batista, Crabtree and Schmuttenmaer. Our aim is to use a bioinspired approach for solar fuel production based on our water-oxidation catalysts attached to nanostructured TiO2 (see figure).
B.S. University of Minnesota, 1976
Ph.D. California Institute of Technology, 1981
Miller Fellow, University of California, Berkeley, 1980-82
Searle Scholar, 1983-86
Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar, 1985-90
Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow, 1986-88
Elected Fellow of the AAAS, 1995
K.J. Young, L.A. Martini, R.L. Milot, R.C. Snoeberger III, V.S. Batista, C.A. Schmuttenmaer, R.H. Crabtree & G.W. Brudvig. Light-driven Water Oxidation for Solar Fuels. Coord. Chem. Rev. 2012, 256, 2503-2520.
R. Pokhrel, R.J. Service, R.J. Debus & G.W. Brudvig. Mutation of Lysine 317 in the D2 Subunit of Photosystem II Alters Chloride Binding and Proton Transport. Biochemistry 2013, 52, 4758-4773.
J.M. Thomsen, S.W. Sheehan, S.M. Hashmi, J. Campos, U. Hintermair, R.H. Crabtree & G.W. Brudvig. Electrochemical Activation of Cp* Iridium Complexes for Electrode-Driven Water-Oxidation Catalysis. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136, 13826-13834.
R. Pokhrel & G.W. Brudvig. Oxygen-Evolving Complex of Photosystem II: Correlating Structure with Spectroscopy. Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 2014, 16, 11812-11821.
M. Askerka, J. Wang, G.W. Brudvig & V.S. Batista. Structural Changes in the Oxygen-Evolving Complex of Photosystem II Induced by the S1 to S2 Transition: A Combined XRD and QM/MM Study. Biochemistry 2014, 53, 6860-6862.
C.F.A. Negre, K.J. Young, Ma.B. Oviedo, L.J. Allen, C.G. Sánchez, K.N. Jarzembska, J.B. Benedict, R.H. Crabtree, P. Coppens, G.W. Brudvig & V.S. Batista. Photoelectrochemical Hole Injection Revealed in Polyoxotitanate Nanocrystals Functionalized with Organic Adsorbates. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136, 16420-16429.