Prof. Govindjee

Professor Emeritus
Biophysics, Biochemistry and Plant Biology
Department of Plant Biology
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Govindjee (now formally Govindjee Govindjee) currently works at the University of Illinois, at Urbana-Champaign; he is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Plant Biology, Department of Biochemistry and the Center of Biophysics & Quantitative Biology. He was a Lecturer in Botany, University of Allahabad, 1954-56; Fulbright Scholar and Graduate Fellow University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), 1956-60; Postdoctoral Fellow, National Institute of Health, USA, 1960-61; Assistant Professor, UIUC, 1961-65; Associate Professor, UIUC, 1965-1969; Professor, UIUC, 1969-99.

Govindjee’s outstanding contributions to photosynthesis research and education as well as his magnificent service to the photosynthesis community have been ongoing for over 60 years. Govindjee has done extensive research in the area of Photosynthesis: its Photochemistry, its Biochemistry, its Biophysics and its Molecular Biology. He retired in 1999. His current interest is in making plants, algae and cyanobacteria more productive; he has collaborations in China and India. He also lectures around the World on “Photosynthesis: Past, Present and Future” For publications, see:

His pioneering contributions on the two light reactions and the two pigment systems, particularly on the water-plastoquinone oxido-reductase, Photosystem II. His focus has been on excitation energy transfer; primary photochemistry, and the role of bicarbonate in electron and proton transfer. His major tools have been kinetics and spectroscopy (absorption and fluorescence), and he has provided an understanding of both thermoluminescence and delayed light emission in plants and algae. He pioneered the use of lifetime of fluorescence measurements to study the phenomenon of photoprotection in plants and algae. He, however, is both a generalist and a specialist all at the same time. He communicates very effectively his passion for photosynthesis to the novice as well as professionals. He has been a prolific author, outstanding lecturer and an editor par excellence. He is the founder not only of the Historical Corner of Photosynthesis Research, but of the highly valued Series Advances in Photosynthesis and Respiration Including Bioenergy and Related Processes. He reaches out to young people by distributing Z-scheme posters, presenting Awards of books, and through tri-annual articles on “Photosynthesis Web Resources”. At home, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he has established student Awards for Excellence in Biological Sciences


Distinguished Lecturer of the School of Life Sciences, UIUC (1978); President of the American Society for Photobiology (1980-1981); Fulbright Awardee (1956, 1997, 2012); Honorary President of the 2004 International Photosynthesis Congress (Montre’al, Canada); recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Rebeiz Foundation for Excellence in Basic Biology, 2006; recipient of the Communication Award of the International Society of Photosynthesis Research, 2007; and of the Liberal Arts and Sciences Lifetime Achievement Award of the UIUC, 2008. Honored at his 75th, 80th and 85th birthdays, by special issues of Photosynthesis Research; Advances in Photosynthesis and Respiration, and Photosynthetica, respectively. Also honored, with International Symposia, at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (2002), and at the University of Indore (2008), with the Prof. B.M. Johri Memorial Award of the Society of Plant Research, India, 2016; and, then, honored at the University of Hyderabad (2017) (8th International Conference on “Photosynthesis and Hydrogen Energy Research for Sustainability”); and at Rajasthan University, Udaipur (2017) (National Symposium on Photosynthesis).


Fellow of the American Association of Advancement of Science, 1976; Fellow and Life member of the National Academy of Sciences (India), 1979

Basics and Applications of Plant, Algal and Cyanobacterial Photosynthesis; Use of Chlorophyll a Fluorescence in predicting plant performance and productivity; Photosynthesis Education