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Govindjee Govindjee

Profile picture for Govindjee Govindjee

Contact Information

Mail to: 289 Morrill Hall
University of Illinois, U-C
505 South Goodwin Avenue
Urbana, IL 61801-3707
Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry
Professor Emeritus of Biophysics
Professor Emeritus of Plant Biology

Research Description

Oxygenic photosynthesis, history of photosynthesis research, and photosynthesis education

Biophysical, biochemical, physiological, and historical aspects of oxygenic photosynthesis; photochemistry and biophysical chemistry of reaction center chlorophyll a-complexes and of intact photosynthetic systems; mechanisms of primary photochemical events and oxygen evolution; pathways of electron and proton transport. Current research involves collaborative work with many laboratories in the World (including those at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona; Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi; College of Internet of Things Engineering, Wuxi; School of Environment, Nanjing University).

His current interest is on improving photosynthesis for the benefit of us all. However,  research on oxygenic photosynthesis continues, which includes its historical aspects (i) the controversy on the minimum quantum yield of photosynthesis between the Nobel-laureate Otto Warburg and Robert Emerson, discoverer of the concept of Photosynthetic Unit and the Emerson Enhancement Effect that led to the current picture of photosynthesis; (ii) the unique role of  CO2/ bicarbonate in Photosystem II, which he showed long ago to  function on the electron acceptor side of Photosystem II; and (iii) the use of chlorophyll a fluorescence in monitoring  photosynthesis and plant productivity. Contributions to Photosynthesis Education through updating Web sites and by guiding and mentoring the state-of-the-art advances in all aspects of photosynthesis and respiration are other major goals (Founding Series Editor, Advances in Photosynthesis and Respiration Including Bioenergy and Related Processes, Springer). This includes comprehensive molecular and integrated theoretical understanding of the photosynthetic reactions and their relationships to respiration, and now searching means to improve photosynthesis and plant productivity.



B.Sc. (Chemistry, Botany and Zoology) 1952 University of Allahabad
M.Sc. (Botany, specializing in Plant Physiology) 1954 University of Allahabad
Ph.D. (Biophysics, minors in Physics and Chemistry) 1960 University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Postdoc. 1960-1961 University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Highlighted Publications

For a list of all publications, see:

Representative Publications

Kandoi, D., K. Ruhil , G. Govindjee and B.C. Tripathy. 2022.  Overexpression of cytoplasmic C4 Flaveria bidentis carbonic anhydrase in C3 Arabidopsis thaliana increases amino acids, photosynthetic potential, and biomass. Plant Biotechnology Journal, Apr 25, ahead of print, pp. 1-15, PMID: 35467074DOI 10.1111/pbi.13830

Negi, S., Z. Perrine, N. Friedland, A.  Kumar, R. Tokutsu, J. Minagawa, R.Berg, A.  Barry, G. Govindjee and R. Sayre, R. 2020. Light regulation of light harvesting antenna size substantially enhances photosynthetic efficiency and biomass yield in green algae. The Plant Journal 103 (2): 584‒603.

Hamdani, S., N. Khan, S. Perveen , M. Qu, J. Jiang , G. Govindjee and X-G. Zhu. 2019. Changes in the photosynthesis properties and photoprotection capacity in rice (Oryza sativa) grown under red, blue, or white light. Photosynthesis Research 139:107-121; DOI 10.1007/s11120-018-0589-6.

Govindjee G., D. Shevela and L.O. Björn. 2017. Evolution of the Z-scheme of photosynthesis. Photosynthesis  Research  133:5-15; DOI 10.1007/s11120-016-0333-z

Najafpour, M.M., M.A. Tabrizi, B. Haghighi and G. Govindjee. 2013.  A 2-(2-hydroxyphenyl)-1H-benzimidazole-manganese oxide hybrid as a promising structural model for tyrosine 161/histidine 190-manganese cluster in Photosystem II. Dalton Transactions 42: 879-884; DOI: 10.1039/c2dt32236f.

Shevela, D., J.J. Eaton-Rye, J. R. Shen and G. Govindjee. 2012. Photosystem II and the unique role of bicarbonate: A historical perspective. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 1817: 1134-1151.

Zhu, X.-G., G. Govindjee, N.R.  Baker, E. deSturler, D.R. Ort and  S.P. Long. 2005. Chlorophyll a fluorescence induction kinetics in leaves predicted from a model describing each discrete step of excitation energy and electron transfer associated with Photosystem II. Planta 223: 114–133.

Xiong, J., S. Subramaniam and G. Govindjee. 1996. Modeling of the D1/D2 proteins and cofactors of the Photosystem II reaction center: Implications for herbicide and bicarbonate binding. Protein Science 5: 2054-2073.

Gilmore, A. M., T.L. Hazlett and  G. Govindjee. 1995. Xanthophyll cycle-dependent quenching of photosystem II chlorophyll a fluorescence: formation of a quenching complex with a short fluorescence lifetime. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA  92: 2273‒2277.

Govindjee, G., M. Van de Ven, C. Preston, M. Seibert and E. Gratton. 1990. Chlorophyll a fluorescence lifetime distributions in open and closed Photosystem II reaction center preparations: Analysis by multifrequency phase fluorometry. Biochimica et  Biophysica Acta 1015: 173-179.

Wasielewski, M. R., D.G. Johnson, M. Seibert and  G. Govindjee. 1989. Determination of the primary charge separation rate in isolated Photosystem II reaction centers with 500 femtosecond time resolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 86:  524‒548.

Rutherford, A. W., G. Govindjee and Y. Inoue, Y. 1984. Charge accumulation and photochemistry in leaves studied by thermoluminescence and delayed light emission. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 81:  1107‒1111.

DeVault, D., G. Govindjee and W. Arnold W. 1983. Energetics of photosynthetic glow peaks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 80: 983‒987.

Fenton, J. M., M.J. Pellin, G. Govindjee and K. Kaufmann, K. 1979. Primary photochemistry of the reaction center of Photosystem I. FEBS Letters 100:  1‒4. 

Wydrzynski, T., N. Zumbulyadis, P.G.  Schmidt, H.S. Gutowsky and G. Govindjee. 1976. Proton relaxation and charge accumulation during oxygen evolution in photosynthesis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 73: 1196‒1198.

Stemler, A., G.T. Babcock and  G. Govindjee. 1974. The effect of bicarbonate on photosynthetic oxygen evolution in flashing light in chloroplast fragments. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 71: 4679--4683.

Cho, F. and  G. Govindjee. 1970. Low temperature (4—77K) spectroscopy of Anacystis: Temperature dependence of energy transfer efficiency.  Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 216: 151-161.

Munday, J. C. Jr. and G. Govindjee, G. 1969. Light-induced changes in the fluorescence yield of chlorophyll a in vivo. III. The dip and the peak in the fluorescence transient of Chlorella pyrenoidosa. Biophysical Journal 9: 1‒21.

Govindjee, R., G. Govindjee and G. Hoch. 1964.  Emerson enhancement effect in chloroplast  reactions. Plant Physiology 39: 10-14.

Govindjee, G. and E. Rabinowitch 1960. Two forms of chlorophyll a in vivo with distinct photochemical function. Science 132: 355‒356.

In the news

  • University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign plant biology professor emeritus Govindjee is a recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Society of Photosynthesis Research, an honor he shares with Eva-Mari Aro, a professor emeritus of molecular plant biology at the University of...
  • The Departments of Biochemistry and Plant Biology are pleased to announce the creation of the Rabinowitch Lecture Series, which will feature guest speakers who have made key achievements in the two fields.
  • Congratulations to Govindjee, University of Illinois professor emeritus of biophysics, biochemistry, and plant biology, who delivered the 2022 Anton Lang Lecture at Michigan State University this spring.
  • CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – I am in Govindjee’s office suite and I don’t know where to look. Govindjee, a professor emeritus of plant biology who goes by the one name only, is a collector. There are layers of history here: artifacts and papers, books and photographs. There also are homemade scientific...
  • A career spanning six decades, over 400 papers, 25 graduate students, and numerous awards surely means a relaxing retirement? Not quite. Govindjee, at 86 years, is still dissecting the mechanisms of photosynthesis. He also collaborates with researchers across the globe to improve crops for food and...