María Maldonado

Maria Maldonado headshot

Position Title
Assistant Professor

  • Plant Biology
31A Briggs Hall

Research Interests

In order to survive, photosynthetic organisms need two essential energy-producing processes: photosynthesis and respiration. Given that photosynthetic organisms are at the base of most food chains, these two fundamental processes fuel most life on Earth. Moreover, the balance between these two processes determines how much the organism can grow and how much carbon dioxide is captured or released. Therefore, understanding both of these processes has significant implications for agricultural productivity and atmospheric composition.

Although we know much about photosynthesis, the biochemical and biophysical basis of respiration in photosynthetic organisms has remained under-explored. In our lab, our goal is to widen and deepen our understanding of respiration in photosynthetic organisms. To do this, we use biochemical, biophysical and structural biology approaches to study the respiratory complexes and supercomplexes of model plants, crops, green algae and non-green algae. Our motivation is to both expand our knowledge of this fundamental biological process and to set the basis for new strategies for food security and the mitigation of climate change.

Graduate Program Affiliations

Education and Degree(s)
  • 2006 B.A. Hons Natural Sciences (Biochemistry), University of Cambridge
  • 2007 M.Sci. Natural Sciences (Biochemistry), University of Cambridge
  • 2012 Ph.D. Molecular and Cellular Biology, The Rockefeller University
  • 2013 M.Phil. Bioscience Enterprise (Distinction), University of Cambridge
  • 2018-22 Postdoc Biochemistry and Structural Biology, University of California, Davis