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Samer Gozem

Assistant Professor
Education

B.Sc. (2008) Summa Cum Laude: American University of Beirut.
Ph.D. (2013): Bowling Green State University.
Postdoc (2014—2017): University of Southern California.
Assistant Professor (2017—present): Georgia State University.

Specializations

Areas of training: Multiscale (quantum mechanical/molecular mechanical) modeling, light-responsive proteins, electronic structure, molecular dynamics, photochemistry, photoionization, bioinformatics and proteomics, programming.

Biography

Modeling of Photochemical and Photobiological processes.

Research Interests:

Light-responsive proteins have evolved to use light efficiently to drive complex processes ranging from photosynthesis to vision. The versatility, selectivity, and efficiency of these photobiological systems serve as an inspiration for technology, driving efforts to develop light-harvesting systems for solar energy applications, lightdriven water splitting catalysts for solar energy storage, fluorescent probes for bioimaging, optogenetics tools, photodynamic therapies, and more. To learn from natural light-responsive proteins, however, we need to develop a fundamental understanding of how such systems operate on a molecular level. This requires investigating the lightinduced chemical events that occur upon light excitation. Often, this also requires an understanding of how the nuclei and electrons respond to being excited by light. We develop and employ computer models of chemical and biological systems to understand how they respond to light. These models are usually rooted in quantum mechanical and/or classical theories and methods. Ultimately, one of our main goals is to derive structure-function relations in photoreceptor proteins that can aid in the design of new light-responsive proteins with potential applications in biotechnology. For example, we are investigating light-induced events in flavoproteins like  lightoxygen- voltage (LOV) sensing domains.

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Publications

A full list of publications is available on our website. Here are some representative topics:
1. Gozem S. Mirzakulova E, Schapiro I, Melaccio F, Glusac KD, Olivucci M. A Conical Intersection Controls the Deactivation of the Bacterial Luciferase Fluorophore. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 53, 9870–9875. 2014.
2. Gozem S, Luk HL, Schapiro I, Olivucci M. Theory and Simulation of the Ultrafast Double-Bond Isomerization of Biological Chromophores. Chem. Rev. 117, 13502–13565. 2017.
3. Gozem S, Schapiro I, Ferre N, Olivucci M. The Molecular Mechanism of Thermal Noise in Rod Photoreceptors. Science. 137, 1225–1228. 2012.
4. Gozem S, Gunina AO, Ichino T, Osborn DL, Stanton JF, Krylov AI. Photoelectron Wave Function in Photoionization: Plane wave or Coulomb wave? J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 6, 4532–4540. 2015.