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Lisa M. Utschig

Chemist (Photosynthesis)

Dr. Lisa Utschig is a Chemist at the U. S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory.


Lisa Utschig is a Chemist with the Solar Energy Conversion Group and Lead Principal Investigator - Natural Photosynthesis.


  • BA, Cornell College
  • PhD, Northwestern University
  • Enrico Fermi Scholar, Argonne National Laboratory

Recent Honors and Awards

  • Fellow, AAAS (2023)
  • Summer SOTM  AWIS-Chicago (2022)
  • University of Chicago Argonne, LLC Board of Governor’s Distinguished Performance Award (2020)
  • Women at the Forefront of Energy Research, ACS Energy Letters (2020)
  • Speaker, Presidential Symposium, 248th ACS National Meeting (2014)

Primary Research Interests

  • Investigation of photochemical energy conversion in natural photosynthetic systems
  • Development of innovative bioinorganic approaches to modify photosynthetic proteins for solar fuel production
  • Creation of novel biohybrid complexes for elucidating fundamental mechanisms of photosynthetic charge accumulation and  photocatalysis

Select Recent Publications

  1. Solar water splitting Pt-nanoparticle photosystem I thylakoid systems:  Catalyst identification, location and oligomeric structure”  Special Issue: Applied Photosynthesis:  Putting the Green into Green Energy” BBA Bioenergetics, 2023. DOI:10.1016/j.bbabio.2023.148974
  2. Biohybrid photosynthetic charge accumulation detected by flavin semiquinone formation in ferredoxin-NADP+ reductase”  Chemical Science, 2022DOI:10.1039/d2sc01546c
  3. Light-harvesting biohybrids for enhanced solar-to-chemical conversion technologies” Chem, 2022DOI:10.1016/j.chempr.2021.12.011
  4. Quantum sensing of electron transfer pathways in natural photosynthesis using time-resolved high-field EPR/ENDOR spectroscopy” J. Phys. Chem. B, 2021DOI:  10.1021/acs.jpcb.1c00946
  5. Preface to the special issue:  photosynthesis-inspired biohybrid and biomimetic systems”  Photosynthesis Research, 2020DOI: 10.1007/s11120-019-00703-z
  6. Women at the forefront of energy research:  A virtual issue” ACS Energy Letters, 2020DOI:  10.1021/acsenergylett.9b02695
  7. Interprotein electron transfer biohybrid system for photocatalytic H2 production” Photosynthesis Research, 2020.  DOI: 10.1007/s11120-019-00705-x
  8.  Spin-correlated radical pairs as quantum sensors of bidirectional ET mechanisms in Photosystem I”  J. Phys. Chem. B, 2019. DOI: 10.1021/acs/jpcb.9b06636
  9.  Z-scheme solar water splitting via self-assembly of photosystem I-catalyst hybrids in thylakoid membranes”  Chemical Science, 2018. DOI:10.1039/c8sc02841a
  10. Charge separation related to photocatalytic H2 production from a Ru-apoflavodoxin-Ni biohybrid”  ACS Energy Letters2017. DOI:10.1021/acsenergylett.6b00614
  11. Ru-protein-Co biohybrids designed for solar hydrogen production:  understanding electron transfer pathways related to photocatalytic function”  Chemical Science2016, 7, 7068-7078. 
  12. Modular homogeneous chromophore-catalyst assemblies”  Acc. Chem. Res. 2016, 49(5), 835-843.
  13. Light-driven hydrogen production from Photosystem I-catalyst hybrids” Curr. Opin. Chem. Biol. 2015, 25, 1-8.