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John Peters' lab Personnel

Febin Varghese

Research Associate


Washington State University
Institute of Biological Chemistry
299 Clark Hall
Pullman, WA 99164



Research Interests

After my MSci Biochemistry degree at the University of Birmingham, UK, I went on to do my PhD in the Mitochondrial Biology Unit at the University of Cambridge, UK. During my PhD, I developed bacterial and yeast model systems for studying pathogenic mutations in complex I. Following this, I did my postdoc at Imperial College London, UK, where I investigated the structure and function of Anf3, a novel low-potential terminal oxidase associated with the iron-only nitrogenase. Our work identified Anf3 to be a flavocytochome with terminal oxidase activity, which adds to the known mechanisms of nitrogenase oxygen protection, and has potential applications in heterologous nitrogenase expression.


At WSU, I hope to use structural biology to further understand the mechanisms by which oxygen-sensitive metalloenzymes such as hydrogenases and nitrogenases carry out their challenging chemical reactions.


2016                            PhD Biochemistry, Prof Judy Hirst, University of Cambridge, UK

2011                            MSci Biochemistry, University of Birmingham, UK

Research Experience

2019-present              Postdoctoral Research, Prof John Peters, Washington State University, WA, USA

2016-2017                   Postdoctoral Research, Dr James Murray and Prof Bill Rutherford, Imperial College                                                      London, UK

2011-2012                   Research Scientist, Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies, UK



  1. Varghese, F., Kabasakal, B., Cotton, C., Schumacher, J., Rutherford, A., Fantuzzi, A. and Murray, J. (2019). A low-potential terminal oxidase associated with the iron-only nitrogenase from the nitrogen-fixing bacterium Azotobacter vinelandii.Journal of Biological Chemistry, 294 (24), pp.9367-9376.


  1. Varghese, F., Blaza, J., Jones, A., Jarman, O. and Hirst, J. (2018). Deleting the IF1-like ζ subunit from Paracoccus denitrificans ATP synthase is not sufficient to activate ATP hydrolysis. Open Biology, 8 (1), p.170206


  1. Jones, A., Blaza, J., Varghese, F. and Hirst, J. (2017). Respiratory complex I in Bos taurus and Paracoccus denitrificans pumps four protons across the membrane for every NADH oxidized. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 292 (12), pp.4987-4995.


  1. Varghese, F., Atcheson, E., Bridges, H. and Hirst, J. (2015). Characterization of clinically identified mutations in NDUFV1, the flavin-binding subunit of respiratory complex I, using a yeast model system. Human Molecular Genetics, 24 (22), pp.6350-6360.