‘Powered by Plants’ to be Focus of Oct. 6 Biology Seminar

The Rogers State University Department of Biology will be hosting an Oct. 6 special seminar about the use of plant-based photosynthesis processes to provide future energy sources.

Dr. Gabriel LeBlanc, Wellspring Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Tulsa, will be presenting “Powered by Plants!: Biohybrid Electrodes Based on Photosystem I for Solar Energy Conversion” during a biology seminar at 11:30 a.m., Friday, Oct. 6, in Loshbaugh Hall, Room 111. Admission is free and open to the public.

LeBlanc will present his research into the Photosystem I, a nanoscale protein complex found in most organisms that perform oxygenic photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the process by which plants, algae, and some bacteria convert Earth’s most abundant energy source (solar radiation from the sun) into stored energy. Recent research has found increased efficiencies while using these natural processes in combination with biohybrids containing both biological and non-biological components.

LeBlanc joined the TU faculty in 2015 after earning his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt and a bachelor’s degree from Lyon College, both in chemistry. LeBlanc’s current research interests involve the investigation of how electricity can be utilized to alter the physical properties of biomaterials and nanomaterials for applications ranging from alternative energy to new biosensor detection platforms. He and a team of graduate students are exploring interdisciplinary approaches regarding the interface between electrochemistry and materials science.