“Photooxidative Polymerization of Pyrrole from Photosystem I Proteins” published in ACS Applied Polymer Materials, selected as VINSE Spotlight Publication
Joshua Passantino is a 2022 PhD graduate from the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering under the direction of Drs. Kane Jennings and David Cliffel. He is currently the Lead Electrochemist at Nth Cycle, an electrochemically focused green metals processing technology company based in Boston, Ma. His research at Vanderbilt was focused on exploring the applications of the photosynthetic protein, Photosystem I, for use in electrochemical energy systems and materials synthesis. In this recent publication carried out with the assistance of a VINSE summer NSF REU student, Alessia Williams, he performed the first documented use of Photosystem I to oxidatively polymerize a conducting polymer (polypyrrole), yielding a photoactive, conducting protein-polymer matrix. This process allows for facile integration of Photosystem I with conducting polymers, which is notoriously difficult because of connectivity issues between the polymers and proteins. Showing capability of Photosystem I to perform an oxidative polymerization lays the groundwork for future exploration into synthesis of a new class of protein-polymer conjugates with unique photoelectrochemical properties.