Домой      George Papageorgiou

George C. Papageorgiou

Director Emeritus of Research, National Center for Scientific Research (NCSR) “Demokritos”, Athens, Greece

Graduate of Anatolia College of Thessaloniki, of the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki (BS, Chemistry, 1958) and of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), IL, USA (PhD, Biophysics, 1968; thesis advisor: Govindjee; thesis title: Fluorescence induction in Chlorella pyrenoidosa and Anacystis nidulans and its relation to photophosphorylation; available on line at http://www.life.illinois.edu/govindjee/theses.html). Served in the Greek Army (as a reserve officer) and taught chemistry to students and university candidates. Appointed as a research scientist in the Photosynthesis Program of the Nuclear Research Center Demokritos by George Akoyunoglou, founder and director of the Program, the first such in Greece (1969); and retired from Demokritos in 2001.

In Demokritos, he served as research scientist, as head of the Program of Biophysics and Biotechnology of Membranes (which he founded), as Director of the Institute of Biology, and as a member of the Executive Council of NCSR, Demokritos. A founding member and Executive Board member of the Hellenic Biochemical and Biophysical Society; member of the American Chemical Society, and of the American Biophysical Society; member of European Expert Committee on Biomaterials of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization); representative of Greece to Advanced Studies Institutes program of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization); and member of the Editorial Board of the journal Photosynthetica.

Papageorgiou has made major contributions to the mechanism of how plants, algae and cyanobacteria optimize the use of the light they absorb by diverting part of it to photosynthesis, and by discarding the remainder as heat. To that end, he has studied how changes in the thylakoid membrane structure, both light-induced and ion-induced, regulate the dissipation of the unused energy of the absorbed photons. A second research area, which is highly pertinent to the current global issues, is related to the biotechnological utilization of photosynthesis for sustained production of reducing power and possibly of H2 gas. This research included ways and means to prolong photosynthetic activity by immobilizing membranes with bifunctional cross-linkers, and cells in externally cross-linked matrices. Further, Papageorgiou exploited osmolytes (e.g., glycine betaine) in stabilizing photosynthetic systems. Lastly, he developed a sensitive fluorimetric method, which allows an accurate determination of cytoplasm osmolality and of cell envelope permeability to water and solutes of cyano­bacteria. Papageorgiou is one of the major leading world authorities on the exploitation of chlorophyll fluorescence as a sensitive and intricate signal of various photosynthetic reaction not only in cyanobacteria and algae, but in plants as well (see Volume 19 (Chlorophyll Fluorescence: A Signature of Photosynthesis) of the Advances in Photosynthesis and Respiration, Springer, Dordrecht (published in 2004). He has published more than 120 outstanding research papers, and reviews, in top journals in his field including Biophysical Journal, Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, Photosynthesis Research, and Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B. 

During his scientific career he was fortunate to associate with many scientists, who are prominent not only in photosynthesis, bioenergetics, and biotechnology, but also in physical chemistry. They include Govindjee (his mentor; a lifelong association), Eugene Rabinowitch & Chris Sybesma (Biophysics, both at UIUC, USA); Lester Packer (Bioenergetics, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA); Joan Akoyunoglou (Biochemistry, NCSR Demokritos), David Hall (Biotechnology; University of London, King’s College); Thomas Dorfmüller (Physical Chemistry, University of Bielefeld, W. Germany); Prasanna Mohanty (Plant Physiology, J Nehru University, New Delhi, India), Sergio Papa (Bioenergetics, University of Bari, Italy); Daniel Thomas (Enzyme Biotechnology, Université de Technologie, Compiѐgne, France); Danuta Fraçkowiak (Biophysics, Poznan, Poland), Laszlo Szalay (Biophysics, University of Szeged, Hungary), Dana Sofrova (Biochemistry, Charles University, Chechoslovakia), Algis Piskarkas (Photophysics, Vilnius University, Lithuania), and Norio Murata (Biophysics and Molecular Biology, National Institute of Basic Biology (NIBB), Okazaki, Japan). After retirement, Papageorgiou has co-operated with Ondreij Prášil (Microbiology; Czech Academy of Sciences).

We would be amiss if we did not mention those who have benefitted from his mentorship at Demokritos. These include, in alphabetical order, the late Joan Isaakidou, Katerina Alygizaki-Zorba, Katerina Kalosaka, Thoula Lagoyanni, Nectarios Ladas, Georgia Sotiropoulou, Kostas Stamatakis, currently the head of the Membrane Biophysics and Biotechnology Program in Demokritos, and Merope Tsimilli-Michael.

We end this brief introduction of Papageorgiou by mentioning that he has also been active in organizing several Advanced Study Institutes, International Summer Schools and Conferences in Greece; he did this primarily with Lester Packer (USA) and Thanassis Evangelopoulos (Greece), but also with Achim Trebst (Germany), Martin Klingenberg (Germany), Peter Boeger (Germany), Karel Wirtz (Netherlands), and James (Jim) Barber (UK).