Stephen K. Herbert
Ph. D., University of Washington, 1988.
B.S., Seattle Pacific University 1980.
Associate Professor of Botany 1999.
Dr. Herbert's research interest is in how photosynthetic organisms accommodate changing environmental conditions. He currently directs two research projects in his laboratory. The first uses cyanobacteria to study antioxidants that are associated with the photosynthetic process. Photosynthesis generates reactive forms of oxygen as byproducts, especially under physiological duress. To defend against oxidative damage, photosynthetic cells have a robust antioxidant system. The goal of Dr. Herbert's oxidative stress project is to define the molecular sites that are damaged by reactive oxygen in photosynthetic cells and how they are protected by the various components of the antioxidant system. The second research project considers the occurrence and physiological value of the cyclic electron transport pathways of photosynthesis. The cyclic pathways occur in plants, algae, and cyanobacteria. They are proposed to contribute to ion transport and to protection against damage of the photosynthetic system by strong light. To define the physiological role of the cyclic paths, cyanobacterial mutants defective in cyclic electron transport are being evaluated for their sensitivity to environmental stresses.