Photoexcitable Membranes

Head of Department

Prof. Antoaneta Popova, PhD

  • E-mail:
  • Phone: (359) 2 9793681
  • Fax: (359) 2 8723787
  • Address: “Acad. G. Bonchev” Str., Block 21, Room 315
    Sofia 1113, Bulgaria


Main research topics

Mechanisms of light energy transduction in biological membranes (higher plants, green algae, cyanobacteria and their mutants); role of the structural organization of pigment-protein complexes, lipid composition and physicochemical properties of thylakoid membranes for the effectiveness of primary photosynthetic processes; pigment-lipid interactions in model membranes; mechanisms of adaptation of photosynthetic apparatus; role of lipid-protein interactions in response of photosynthetic organisms to environmental changes; involvement of reactive oxygen species in stress-induced inactivation processes; development of biosensors using photosynthetic membranes.

Research projects

Current projects

  1. Protection and adaptation of Paulownia under salt stress, Program for career development of young scientists, BAS 2017-2019
    Project leader: PhD student Martin Stefanov
    Scientific supervisor: Prof. Dr. Emilia Apostolova
  2. Potential evaluation of different plant species for phytoremediation of heavy metal pollution. Mechanisms of tolerance of the photosynthetic apparatus, Bilateral Agreements for Scientific Cooperation between the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and The Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece (2018-2019)
    Project coordinator from BAS: Assoc. Prof. A.G. Dobrikova
  3. Impact of excessive nitrogen and metal pollutions on plant defence mechanisms,
    Bilateral scientific and technical cooperation between the Republic Bulgaria and Slovak Republic
    Bulgarian National Science Fund: Project DNTS/Slovakia 01/10, 2016-2018
    Leader of the IBPhBME team: Prof. Emilia Apostolova
  4. Effect of high light intensity on the photosynthetic apparatus of two hybrid lines Paulownia grown in saline soils
    Program for career development of young scientists, BAS, ДФНП-138/12.05.2016, 2016-2017
    Young scientist: Martin Stefanov – PhD student
    Supervisor: Prof. Emilia Apostolova
  5. Effects of Chlorella vulgaris on the photosynthetic apparatus of the rice plants in terms of cadmium
    Program for career development of young scientists, BAS, ДФНП-137/12.05.2016, 2016-2017
    Young scientist: Ekaterina Yotsova – PhD student
    Supervisor: Prof. Emilia Apostolova
  6. Prenylquinones and carotenoids – potential mediators of tolerance of higher plants to combined light and temperature stress
    Ministry of Education, Yough and Science, Bulgarian-Swiss Investigation Programm, № IZEBZO-143169/1, 2012-2015
    Coordinator: Prof. Maya Velitchkova
  7. Effect of reduced carotenoid content for stability of photosynthetic apparatus towards high light intensity of Arabidopsis thaliana. Investigation in vivo,
    Project funded by BAS – BAS, 2015-2017
    Coordinator: Assoc. Prof. Antoaneta Popova
  8. Characterization of the process of photobleaching of photosynthetic pigments in thylakoid membranes of Arabidopsis thaliana, wt and carotenoid mutant lut2, under high light illumination
    Project funded by BAS – BAS, 2015-2017
    Coordinator: Assoc. Prof. Antoaneta Popova
  9. Effect of antioxidants and signaling molecules on the photosynthetic apparatus and its resistance to abiotic stress
    Project funded by BAS, 2015-2016
    Coordinator: Assoc. Prof. Anelia G. Dobrikova
  10. Adaptation mechanisms of photosynthetic apparatus to salinization
    Project funded by BAS, 2015-2017
    Coordinator: Prof. Dr. Emilia Apostolova
  11. Influence of temperature and light on the kinetics of transitions between state 1 and state 2 and their characteristics in vivo. Role of cytochrome b6f complex in their regulation.
    Project funded by BAS, 2014-2016
    Coordinator: Assoc. Prof. Radka Vladkova
  12. Possibilities for application of green algae for creation of biosensors for registration of herbicides and heavy metals
    Project funded by BAS – BAS, 2013-2015
    Coordinator: Prof. Emilia Apostolova

Past projects

International collaboration

  • Experimental Station “Aula Dei”, CSIC; Zaragoza, Spain
  • Institute of Plant Physiology, BRC, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Hungary
  • Max-Planck-Institute for Molecular Plant Physiology, Potsdam, Germany
  • Fakir Mohan University, Department of Biosciences and  Biotechnology, Balasore, India
  • University of Western Ontario, London, Canada

Lecture courses

  • Photoprocesses in biological membranes – PhD course by Prof. Dr. E. Apostolova
  • Biophysics of photosynthetic membranes – PhD course by Prof. Dr. M. Velitchkova

Selected publications

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