Novo Nordisk Fonden - Rational design of light-activated proteins based on the quantum computational microscope

Project: Private Foundations

Project Details


The use of light to obtain control over specific biological processes is a contemporary and competitive research field aimed at understanding fundamental light-initiated biological functions. Indeed, from a molecular point of view specific light-sensitive proteins are to a large degree responsible for many fundamental light-induced biological functions and processes.However,today, molecular understanding of the mechanisms underlying many light-induced biological functions is completely missing, and a grand challenge lies in unraveling the biophysics of how biomolecules work together in the processes ofcapturing, transportingandconverting energyoflightinto chemical and mechanical forms of energy, ultimately activating a certain macroscopic biological function. With this proposal we seek to develop a novel tool – the quantum computational microscope – aiming at establishing basic understanding of the connections between atomistic interactions andlight-induced biological functions controlled by proteins. Description of light-induced processes rely to a large degree on a quantum mechanical description of the process, but such a description is unfortunately today severely hampered due to a complete lack of suitable quantum mechanical formulations that can be applied to systems of the size we meet in biology, i.e. to molecular systems of the size of proteins.  The outcome of this project will change this current status by development of a novel computational scheme – a quantum computational microscope - designed exactly for describing quantum mechanical effects in biological materials, and further to detail how such quantum effects may be decisive for the function of light-induced functional biological materials.
Effective start/end date01/01/202031/12/2022