Homepage of John Kennis

Associate Professor (Universitair Hoofddocent)

M.Sci. Physics, University of Amsterdam, 1992
Ph.D. Biophysics (cum laude), Leiden University 1997
HFSP Long-term fellow 1998-2000, University of California at Berkeley
NWO-VIDI fellow 2004 - 2009
NWO-VICI fellow 2012
Lecturer of the Morino Foundation for the Promotion of Molecular Sciences (Japan) 2012

NEWS: MORINO LECTURESHIP I have been awarded the 2012 Morino Lectureship for the Promotion of Molecular Sciences, and will receive ¥ 1000,000 (€ 10.000) to travel to Japan and give the Morino Lecture on November 15 at the Nogaya Institute of Technology, followed by a series of lectures in Kyoto, Osaka, Nagoya, Hamamatsu and Tokyo. The Morino Lectureship was established in 1985 by the late Professor Yonezo Morino, a renowned Japanese molecular spectroscopist, to support and encourage young scientists in the field of molecular science. It was designed to give the opportunity for a foreign distinguished scientist to come to Japan  to instruct young scientists and students who are working in the frontier of various fields of molecular science.

NEWS: VICI GRANT The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research has awarded me a VICI fellowship for the research project 'Shedding light on the optogenetics toolbox'. I will use sophisticated laser techniques to determine the light activation mechanisms of photosensory proteins that have great potential for optogenetic application. The award (1.5 million Euro) will primarily be spent to appoint young researchers

RESEARCH STATEMENT My research involves the physico-chemical mechanisms of reception, storage and processing of photic energy and information in biology. To this end, advanced time-resolved spectroscopic methods are employed, such as ultrafast transient absorption, time-resolved IR spectroscopy, 2-dimensional IR spectroscopy, step-scan and rapid-scan FTIR and ultrafast Raman spectroscopy. Ongoing research projects are focused on light-driven signal transduction mediated by novel photoreceptors and the mechanisms of regulated light harvesting in natural and artificial photosynthesis.

Open positions click here for an open PhD position

Key publications

T. Mathes, J. Zhu, I.H.M. van Stokkum, M.L. Groot, P. Hegemann, J.T.M. Kennis
Hydrogen bond switching among flavin and amino acids determines the nature of proton-coupled electron transfer in BLUF photoreceptors
J. Phys. Chem. Lett. (2012) 3, 203-208 

M. Kloz, S. Pillai, G. Kodis, D. Gust, T.A. Moore, A. L. Moore, R. van Grondelle, J.T.M. Kennis
Carotenoid photoprotection in artificial photosynthetic antennas
J Am Chem Soc 133 (2011) 7007-7015

M. Kloz, R. van Grondelle, J.T.M. Kennis

Wavelength-modulated femtosecond stimulated Raman spectroscopy - approach towards automatic data processing.
Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 13 (2011) 18123-18133.

K.C. Toh, E.A. Stojkovic, I.H.M. van Stokkum, K. Moffat, J.T.M. Kennis
Proton transfer and hydrogen bond interactions determine fluorescence quantum yield and photochemical efficiency of bacteriophytochrome
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (USA) 107, (2010) 9170 - 9175

C. Bonetti, T. Mathes, I.H.M. van Stokkum, K.M. Mullen, M.L. Groot, R. van Grondelle, P. Hegemann, J.T.M. Kennis
Hydrogen bond switching among flavin and amino acid side chains in the BLUF photoreceptor observed by ultrafast infrared spectroscopy
Biophys. J. 95, 2008, pp. 4790 - 4802

A. Wilson, C. Punginelli, A. Gall, C. Bonetti, M. Alexandre, J.-M. Routaboul., C. A. Kerfeld, R. van Grondelle, B. Robert, J.T.M. Kennis, D. Kirilovsky
A photoactive carotenoid protein acting as light intensity sensor
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 105, 2008, p. 12075-12080

A.V. Ruban, R. Berera, C. Ilioaia, I.H.M. van Stokkum, J.T.M. Kennis, A.A. Pascal, H. van Amerongen, B. Robert, P. Horton, R. van Grondelle
Identification of a mechanism of photoprotective energy dissipation in higher plants
Nature 450, 2007, p. 575-579

J.T.M. Kennis and S. Crosson
A bacterial pathogen sees the light
Science 317, 2007, p. 1041-1042 (Perspective)

M. Gauden, I.H.M. van Stokkum, J.M. Key, D. Ch. Luhrs, R. van Grondelle, P. Hegemann, J.T.M. Kennis
Hydrogen bond switching through a radical pair mechanism in a flavin-binding photoreceptor
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 103, 2006, p. 10895-10900  (Open Access Article at http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/103/29/10895)

R. Berera, C. Herrero, I.H.M. van Stokkum, M. Vengris, G. Kodis, R.E. Palacios, H. van Amerongen, R. van Grondelle, D. Gust, T.A. Moore, A.L. Moore, J.T.M. Kennis
A simple artificial light-harvesting dyad as a model for excess energy dissipation in oxygenic photosynthesis
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 2006, 103, p. 5343-5348 (Open Access Article at http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/103/14/5343)

J.T.M. Kennis, D.S. Larsen, I.H.M. van Stokkum, M. Vengris, J.J. van Thor, R. van Grondelle
Uncovering the hidden ground state of green fluorescent protein
Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 101, 2004, p. 17988-17993

J.T.M. Kennis, I.H.M. van Stokkum, S. Crosson, M. Gauden, K. Moffat, R. van Grondelle
The LOV2 domain of phototropin: A reversible photochromic switch
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 126, 2004, p. 4512-4513

M. Gauden, S. Yeremenko, W. Laan, I.H.M. van Stokkum, J.A. Ihalainen, R. van Grondelle, K.J. Hellingwerf, J.T.M. Kennis
Photocycle of the flavin-binding photoreceptor AppA, a bacterial transcriptional anti-repressor of photosynthesis genes
Biochemistry 44, 2005, p. 3653-3662

J.T.M. Kennis, S. Crosson, M. Gauden, I.H.M. van Stokkum, K. Moffat, R. van Grondelle
Primary reactions of the LOV2 domain of phototropin, a plant blue-light photoreceptor
Biochemistry 42, 2003, p. 3385-3392

Contact Information

Biophysics Group
Department of Physics and Astronomy
Faculty of Sciences
VU University / LaserLaB Amsterdam
De Boelelaan 1081
1081HV Amsterdam

Phone +31 20 5987212
Fax +31 20 5987999
Email j.t.m.kennis(at)vu.nl

Research Interests

Curriculum vitae