Happy birthday, Olav!

On April 17th, our eldest lab member, Olav Keerberg celebrates his 80th birthday. Congrats!

Like our recently retired colleague, Tiit Pärnik, Olav has also worked in the same institution for almost 60 years in a row, since 1957. He was the head of Plant Physiology department from 1972 until Ülo took over in 2004. Olav was the one who initiated experimental studies on photosynthesis and its mechanisms in our institute.

Olav back in a day

Olav back in a day

Olav Keerberg is plant physiologist, a specialist in the research area dealing with regulation of the plant leaf CO2 exchange and of the photosynthetic carbon metabolism. In the laboratory of photosynthesis of the Department of Plant Physiology of the Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences of the Estonian University of Life Sciences under his supervision the regulatory processes have been studied on three levels:

  • dynamic regulation – fast, reversible responses of the biochemical system of photosynthesis to short term changes in the environment;
  • adaptative regulation – peculiarities and changes in the status of the system caused by growth conditions, which are mostly irreversible and;
  • genetic regulation – changes in the system caused by peculiarities of the genome of the species, by its artificial transformation and by conditions for its expression.
Olav now

Olav now

To quantify the parameters of plant leaf CO2 exchange and carbon metabolism the original radiogasometric and radiobiochemical methods have been designed in the laboratory. In recent studies by means of these methods (1) the short-term (cold shock) and long-term (cold acclimation) effects of low temperatures on the photosynthetic carbon metabolism and plant leaf respiration have been elucidated, (2) the parameters of photosynthetic carbon metabolism in different plant species and varieties (starch-deficient versus starch accumulating species, cultivars of wheat with different productivity, species with C3, C4 and C3-C4 type of photosynthesis) have been determined and (3) changes in photosynthetic carbon metabolism induced by genetic modification of the expression of specific photosynthetic enzymes have been ascertained. These studies belong to the research area of metabolomics. On the basis of differences and changes detected in the metabolism the corresponding differences in plant proteome and genome could be predicted.

Profile text from here.

Olav is still actively doing research and here are couple of his recent first-author publications:

Keerberg, O., Ivanova, H., Keerberg, H., Pärnik, T., Talts, P., & Gardeström, P. (2011). Quantitative analysis of photosynthetic carbon metabolism in protoplasts and intact leaves of barley. Determination of carbon fluxes and pool sizes of metabolites in different cellular compartments. Biosystems, 103(2), 291-301. (link to full text)

Keerberg, O., Pärnik, T., Ivanova, H., Bassüner, B., & Bauwe, H. (2014). C2 photosynthesis generates about 3-fold elevated leaf CO2 levels in the C3–C4 intermediate species Flaveria pubescens. Journal of experimental botany, eru239. (link to full text)

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One Response to Happy birthday, Olav!

  1. Pingback: In memoriam Olav Keerberg | Ülo Niinemets’ Lab

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