Archer’s annual STEM Symposium is an opportunity for Los Angeles high school students who have completed independent or small group projects in STEM to present their findings. Students are invited to present their research in the fields of molecular biology, chemistry, physics, and engineering.
The Archer RISE Award honors exceptional young women for their innovative scientific research or engineering design projects that further existing knowledge or develop solutions to pressing scientific challenges. Finalists for the RISE Award are noted in throughout the online program and will be awarded at lunch on May 21.
The goal of the project is to move genes for Photosystem II from the algae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii into E. coli bacteria for use as a hydrogen-producer and potential biofuel. PSII is capable of photo-electrolyzing water efficiently and inexpensively with sunlight. Within PSII, enzymes capture photons of light to energize electrons that are then transferred through a variety of coenzymes and cofactors to reduce plastoquinone to plastoquinol. The energized electrons are replaced by oxidizing water to form molecular oxygen and hydrogen ions, which can be used as fuel and for other uses. C. reinhardtii was selected due to its ability, under certain circumstances to switch from oxygen to hydrogen production. However, C. reinhardtii is slow-growing and difficult to manipulate relative to well-studied bacteria like E. coli, so we have begun the process of moving the core genes of PSII into E. coli, beginning with genes psbD and psbT.