Proteins for Light-Controlled Formation of Activated Oxygen

PhD defence, Friday October 13 2017, Michael Westberg.

2017.10.13 | Steffi Hjerrild Iversen

Michael Westberg

Illustration of the light-sensitive protein that produces singlet oxygen. A natural dye is bound inside the protein and transfers energy to oxygen. It this way oxygen, O2, is turned into singlet oxygen, 1O2.

During his PhD studies, Michael Westberg has investigated and designed new light-sensitive proteins that form singlet oxygen. Singlet oxygen is an activated form of oxygen that can initiate processes ranging from cell division to cell death. To understand these processes we must control the production of singlet oxygen in cells. This can be achieved by using light, dyes, and genetically encodable proteins in combination.     

A key result of the studies is the development of the first protein that efficiently produces singlet oxygen under physiologically relevant conditions. In the future, this new high-precision tool will, for example, be used to address fundamental questions regarding photodynamic cancer therapy.

The PhD degree was completed at the Department of Chemistry, Science and Technology, Aarhus University.

This résumé was prepared by the PhD student

Time: Friday 13 October 2017 at 13.15
Place: Building 1514, room 213, Auditorium I, Department of Chemistry, Langelandsgade 140, Aarhus University, 8000 Aarhus C.
Title of dissertation: Rational Design of Efficient Singlet Oxygen Photosensitizing Proteins
Contact information: Michael Westberg, e-mail:, tel.: +45 42729291
Members of the assessment committee:
Professor Aba Losi, Department of Mathematical, Physical and Computer Sciences, University of Parma, Italy
Professor Stephen R. Meech, School of Chemistry, University of East Anglia, United Kingdom
Professor Ove Christiansen (chair), Department of Chemistry, Aarhus University
Main supervisor: Professor Peter R. Ogilby, Department of Chemistry, Aarhus University
Language: The PhD dissertation will be defended in English

The defence is public.
The dissertation is available for reading at the Graduate School of Science and Technology/GSST,
Ny Munkegade 120, building 1520, rooms 128-134, 8000 Aarhus C.

PhD defence
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Revised 25.04.2018