Gary Brudvig

Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry
Director, Yale Energy Sciences Institute
Member of Yale faculty since 1982

Photocatalytic cell with schematic of elementary processes.

Research Interests


Our research aims to define how nature has solved the difficult problem of efficient light-driven, four-electron oxidation of water to O2 and to use this understanding to develop new artificial processes for solar energy conversion. We use spectroscopic, biophysical and molecular biological methods to probe the structure and function of the redox centers, the kinetics and yields of electron-transfer reactions, and the chemistry of water oxidation in photosystem II. The studies on photosystem II provide insight into the design of artificial systems that split water. Toward this goal, we are investigating inorganic model complexes of the tetramanganese active site in photosystem II in collaboration with Professor Crabtree. The synergism between the inorganic and biological chemistry is an important aspect of this research and has yielded the first homogeneous oxomanganese water-oxidation catalyst. We are also working on a collaborative project to develop artificial processes that use solar energy for fuel production together with Professors Batista and Crabtree. Our aim is to use a bioinspired approach for solar fuel production based on our water-oxidation catalysts attached to nanostructured TiO2 (see figure).


B.S. University of Minnesota, 1976
Ph.D. California Institute of Technology, 1981
Miller Fellow, University of California, Berkeley, 1980-82


Searle Scholar, 1983-86
Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar, 1985-90
Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow, 1986-88
Elected Fellow of the AAAS, 1995
Outstanding Achievement Award, University of Minnesota, 2016
Elected Member, Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering, 2019
Graduate Mentor Award in the Natural Sciences, 2021

Recent Publications

Cryo-EM Structure of Monomeric Photosystem II from Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 Lacking the Water-Oxidation Complex”, Christopher J. Gisriel, Kaifeng Zhou, Hao-Li Huang, Richard J. Debus, Yong Xiong and Gary W. Brudvig, 2020, Joule 4, 2131-2148    

“Kinetic Modeling of Substrate-Water Exchange in Photosystem II”, Hao-Li Huang and Gary W. Brudvig, 2021, BBA Advances 1, 100014.    

K. J. Young, L. A. Martini, R. L. Milot, R. C. Snoeberger III, V. S. Batista, C. A. Schmuttenmaer, R. H. Crabtree & G. W. Brudvig. Light-driven Water Oxidation for Solar Fuels. Coord. Chem. Rev. 2012, 256, 2503-2520.

R. Pokhrel & G. W. Brudvig. Oxygen-Evolving Complex of Photosystem II: Correlating Structure with Spectroscopy. Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 2014, 16, 11812-11821.

S. W. Sheehan, J. M. Thomsen, U. Hintermair, R. H. Crabtree, G. W. Brudvig, & C. A. Schmuttenmaer. A Molecular Catalyst for Water Oxidation that Binds to Metal Oxide Surfaces. Nature Comm. 2015, 6, 6469.

K. J. Young, B. J. Brennan, R. Tagore, & G. W. Brudvig. Photosynthetic Water Oxidation: Insights from Manganese Model Chemistry. Accts. Chem. Res. 2015, 48, 567-574.

J. Jiang, J. R. Swierk, K. L. Materna, S. Hedström, S. H. Lee, R. H. Crabtree, C. A. Schmuttenmaer, V. S. Batista, & G. W. Brudvig. High-Potential Porphyrins Supported on SnO2 and TiO2 Surfaces for Photoelectrochemical Applications. J. Phys. Chem. 2016, C 120, 28971-28982.

M. Askerka, G. W. Brudvig, & V. S. Batista. The O2-Evolving Complex of Photosystem II: Recent Insights from Quantum Mechanics/Molecular Mechanics (QM/MM), Extended X-Ray Absorption Fine Structure (EXAFS), and Femtosecond X-Ray Crystallography Data. Accts. Chem. Res. 2017, 50, 41-48.