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Research Fellows Directory

Nikolay Kornienko

Dr Nikolay Kornienko

Research Fellow


University of Cambridge

Research summary

I am currently a Royal Society Postdoctoral Newton Fellow at the University of Cambridge, studying biological energy converting processes. Before my time at Cambridge, I received my Ph.D in the University of California, Berkeley, working in the laboratory of Professor Peidong Yang. Prior to this, I attended the University of Pittsburgh, where I attained a B.S. in chemistry.

My overarching motivation is to discover and implement the chemistry necessary to transition to a sustainable energy-based society. Specifically, I am developing materials to convert solar energy to chemical fuels as an energy storage media. Transforming solar energy into chemical bonds requires efficient, synchronous function of multiple processes as well as a fundamental understanding of the underlying chemistry at work. Currently, catalysts that utilize solar-derived electricity to generate chemical fuels lack the performance necessary to render this technology practical. Within this framework, my research entails both the design of novel electrocatalytic materials and in situ spectroscopic investigations. The aim here is to establish an iterative cycle where novel materials are first synthesized and systematically tested then subsequently probed through spectroscopic methods to develop a comprehensive understanding of the materials' structure/function relationships. The lessons generated can then be feed into the next cycle of design, synthesis, and understanding to accelerate the rate at which the pressing challenges in energy and materials can be met.

My present research entails the applications of electroanalytical methodology combined with in situ spectroscopic approaches towards developing a comprehensive understanding of enzymatic catalysts. Specifically, I am probing the structure-function relationships of Photosystem II, the component responsible for absorbing light and oxidizing water in photosynthesis. The primary motivation for this line of research is do understand how Photosystem II, as a model system, performs solar-driven water oxidation with such high efficiency, and utilize these findings to improve man-made water oxidizing systems.

Interests and expertise (Subject groups)

Grants awarded

Hybrid Photosynthetic-Inorganic Systems for Solar Fuel Generation

Scheme: Newton International Fellowships

Dates: Jan 2017 - Dec 2018

Value: £99,000