Richard Cogdell is the Director of the Institute for Molecular Cell and Systems Biology at the University of Glasglow, Scotland.
In 1995, Richard's research group, in collaboration with others, used protein crystallography to determine the three dimensional structure of a light-harvesting complex from the purple bacterium, Rhodospsedomas acidophilia.
This breakthrough led to two key elements in the understanding of bacterial photosynthesis. One, once you have established the structure you can understand its function. Two, this view of a light-harvesting complex attracted an interdisciplinary group of scientists from the fields such as chemistry, physics, mathematics and biology.
Richard's current challenge is to take the process of photosynthesis (using solar energy to make a fuel) and apply it to the world's energy needs in a sustainable manner.