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Paul King

Scientist VI-Manager | 303-384-6277

Research Interests

Paul King's research interests are broadly in the study of photobiological and artificial photosynthetic systems for converting solar energy into biofuels. Specific areas of interest include using molecular, biochemical and biophysical techniques to investigate the catalytic mechanisms and structure-function of hydrogenases; bioenergetics of hydrogen metabolism in model green algae and anaerobes; and the photochemical processes that control photon conversion to reduced chemicals in enzyme-based hybrid complexes. These efforts seek to develop a fundamental understanding of the mechanisms underlying energy transduction networks in photobiological and photochemical systems. King's long-term goal is to apply knowledge on the basic principles of biological energy conversion towards advancing solar conversion technologies for renewable energy applications.

Affiliated Research Programs

  • Photobiohybrid Solar Fuels, DOE-Basic Energy Sciences (PI)

  • Biologocal Electron Transfer and Catalysis (BETCy) EFRC, DOE-Basic Energy Sciences (coPI)

Areas of Expertise

  • Microbial Hydrogen Metabolism

  • Hydrogenases

    • Expression and Purification

    • Kinetics and Reaction Mechanisms

    • Biophysical and Biochemical Characterization

  • Anaerobic Biochemistry and Bioenergetics

  • Enzyme-based Photochemical Conversion

  • Photobiological Hydrogen Production


  • Ph.D., Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Georgia-Athens, 2001

  • M.S., Bacteriology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1989

  • B.S., Bacteriology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1982

Professional Experience

  • Scientist VI-Manager, Photobiology Group, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), National Biosciences Center (NBC), 2012present

  • Scientist IV/V, Photobiology Group, NREL, NBC, 20102012

  • Scientist, Photobiology Group, NREL, NBC, 20042010

  • Postdoctoral Associate, Photobiology Group, NREL, NBC, 20012004

Featured Publications

  1. "Functional Studies of [FeFe] Hydrogenase Maturation in an Escherichia coli Biosynthetic System," Journal of Bacteriology (2006)


  1. "Controlled Assembly of Hydrogenase-CdTe Nanocrystal Hybrids for Solar Hydrogen Production," Journal of the American Chemical Society (2010)


  1. "Investigations on the Role of Proton-Coupled Electron Transfer in Hydrogen Activation by [FeFe]-Hydrogenase," Journal of the Americal Chemical Society (2014)


  1. "[FeFe]- and [NiFe]-hydrogenase Diversity, Mechanism, and Maturation," Biochimica et Biophysica Acta—Molecular Cell Research (2015)


  2. "The Electron Bifurcating FixABCX Protein Complex from Azotobacter vinelandii: Generation of Low-Potential Reducing Equivalents for Nitrogenase Catalysis," Biochemistry (2017)

  3. "Activation Thermodynamics and H/D Kinetic Isotope Effect of the Hox to HredH+ Transition in [FeFe] Hydrogenase," Journal of the Americal Chemical Society (2017) 

View all NREL Publications for Paul W. King.

Please contact me with research questions, ideas for collaborations, and questions about the Photobiology Group and BETCy EFRC work at NREL. Please do NOT contact me directly for jobs—see instead information on NREL's Director's Postdoctoral Fellowship program or on NREL Careers in general.