Himadri Pakrasi

​Director of the International Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainability (InCEES)
Myron and Sonya Glassberg/Albert and Blanche Greensfelder Distinguished University Professor
research interests:
  • Biochemistry
  • Photosynthesis
  • Nitrogen Fixation
  • Systems and Synthetic Biology
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    contact info:

    mailing address:

    • Washington University
    • CB 1095
    • One Brookings Drive
    • St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
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    ​Professor Pakrasi conducts research in the broad areas of photosynthesis, systems biology and synthetic biology. He is deeply engaged in bridging research interests in physical and biological sciences.

    Himadri Pakrasi's current focus is on bioenergy production in cyanobacteria. His lab studies how cyanobacteria use solar energy to drive the chemistry of life. They work in many disciplines and have projects that focus on determining how the molecular machines that capture solar energy are assembled and maintained, how cyanobacteria respond to environmental changes at the systems level, and how to engineer new strains of cyanobacteria that are capable of channelling solar energy into biochemical production.

    Pakrasi participates in the following graduate programs:

    • Biochemistry Doctoral Program in the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences
    • Plant Biology Doctoral Program in the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences
    • Metabolic Engineering and Systems Biology Doctoral Program in the Department of Energy, Environment and Chemical Engineering


    Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
    Fellow, American Academy of Microbiology
    Wiley Fellow, Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
    Alexander von Humboldt Fellow, Munich University, Germany
    Distinguished Fellow, Biosciences Institute, Nagoya University, Japan
    Lady Davis Visiting Professor, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel

    recent courses

    Bioenergy (Bio 4830)

    A broad overview of the flow of energy, captured from sunlight during photosynthesis, in biological systems, and current approaches to utilize the metabolic potentials of microbes and plants to produce biofuels and other valuable chemical products. An overall emphasis is placed on the use of large-scale genomic, transcriptomic and metabolomic datasets in biochemistry. The topics covered include photosynthesis, central metabolism, structure and degradation of plant lignocellulose, and microbial production of liquid alcohol, biodiesel, hydrogen & other advanced fuels.

      Selected Publications

      Complete publications list with article text

      Ungerer, J. L. and Pakrasi, H. B. (2018) Adjustments of photosystem stoichiometry and electron transfer proteins are key for remarkably fast growth of the cyanobacterium Synechococcus elongatus UTEX 2973. mBio, 9: e02327-17

      Gopalakrishnan, S., Pakrasi, H. B. and Maranas, C. D. (2018) Elucidation of Photoautotrophic Carbon Flux Topology in Synechocystis PCC 6803 using Genome-scale Carbon Mapping Models. Metabolic Engineering, doi: 10.1016/j.ymben.2018.03.008

      Weisz, D. A., Gross, M. L. and Pakrasi, H. B. (2017) Reactive oxygen species leave a damage trail that reveals water channels in Photosystem II. Science Advances, 3(11): eaao3013. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aao3013

      Knoot, C. J., Ungerer, J. L., Wangikar, P. P. and Pakrasi, H. B. (2017) Cyanobacteria: Promising Biocatalysts for Sustainable Chemical Production. J. Biol. Chem. jbc.R117.815886. doi:10.1074/jbc.R117.815886

      Weisz, D. A., Liu, H., Zhang, H., Thangapandian, S., Tajkhorshid, E., Gross, M. L. and Pakrasi, H. B. (2017) Mass spectrometry-based cross-linking study shows that the Psb28 protein binds to cytochrome b559. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 114: 2224-2229.

      Lin, P.-C., Saha, R., Zhang, F. and Pakrasi, H. B. (2017) Metabolic engineering of the pentose phosphate pathway for enhanced limonene production in the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803. Scientific Rep., 7: 17503 | DOI:10.1038/s41598-017-17831-y