Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

Barry Bruce

Contact Info

FacutlyBruceBarry Bruce, Ph.D.
Professor, BCMB

Office: Hesler 226, (865-974-4082)
Lab: Hesler 221-225, (865-974-3166, -3380)
Student Office: Hesler 222, (865-974-4517)

Lab Website:

Ph.D. Molecular Plant Biology, University of California, Berkeley

Research Statement

My lab works concurrently on two aspects of membrane biochemistry related to photosynthesis: chloroplast protein import and applied photosynthesis.

Chloroplast Protein Import

bruce_research1I have a long-standing interest in on the biogenesis of organelles and in particular the family of organelles specific to plants, known as plastids. This family includes a divers set of organelles that perform an extensive set of biochemical reactions including the process of photosynthesis, which takes place in chloroplasts. This diverse metabolic activity is the enabled via the import of several thousand nuclear encoded proteins from the cytosol. This targeting and import process is critical to many if not most of the key metabolic processes associated with plants. We are specifically interested in how chloroplast destined precursors are targeted, recognized and translocated into the plastid via two translocons, TIC and TOC, that are found in the chloroplast inner and outer envelope membranes, respectively. This process is mediated by selective recognition of the transit peptide by one or more of the TOC components. We are working to explain the biochemistry and biophysics of how these proteins are translocated across the plastid membranes.

Applied Photosynthesis

bruce_research2A second area of research is how we may exploit the ultra efficient process of solar energy capture and conversion of natural photosynthesis into hybrid devices that will provide either direct photovoltaic electricity or be stored in some form of fuel such as molecular hydrogen. To date we have help design build and characterize novel: 1) luminescent solar concentrators, 2) hybrid Bio-organic thin-film photovoltaic devices, 3) hydride bio-inorganic photovoltaic devices, and 4) bio-Pt hydrogen evolving nanoparticles.

Selected Publications

Li M, Semchonok DA, Boekema EJ, Bruce BD. (2014) Characterization and evolution of tetrameric photosystem I from the thermophilic cyanobacterium Chroococcidiopsis sp. TS-821. Plant Cell. 26: 1230-1245.

Nguyen K, Bruce BD. (2014) Growing green electricity: progress and strategies for use of photosystem I for sustainable photovoltaic energy conversion. Biochim Biophys Acta. doi: 10.1016/j.bbabio.2013.12.013. [Epub ahead of print]

Simmerman RF, Dave AM, Bruce BD. (2014) Structure and function of POTRA domains of Omp85/TPS superfamily. Int Rev Cell Mol Biol. 308:1-34.

Manocchi AK, Baker DR, Pendley SS, Nguyen K, Hurley MM, Bruce BD, Sumner JJ, Lundgren CA. (2013) Photocurrent generation from surface assembled photosystem I on alkanethiol modified electrodes. Langmuir. 29(7):2412-9.

Chotewutmontri P, Reddick LE, McWilliams DR, Campbell IM, Bruce BD. (2012) Differential transit peptide recognition during preprotein binding and translocation into flowering plant plastids. Plant Cell. 24(7):3040-59.

Iwuchukwu IJ, Vaughn M, Myers N, O’Neill H, Frymier P, Bruce BD. (2010) Self-organized photosynthetic nanoparticle for cell-free hydrogen production. Nat Nanotechnol. 5(1):73-9.