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John Peters' lab Personnel

Febin Varghese

Research Associate


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



Research Interests

I am a Research Associate with a keen interest in the structure/function of energy-converting metalloenzymes.My doctoral research was conducted under the supervision of Professor Judy Hirst FRS, where I developed yeast and bacterial model systems for studying pathogenic mutations in complex I. During my year as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Imperial College London, I investigated the structure and biochemistry of a novel low-potential terminal oxidase (Anf3) 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. For this work, I was awarded the 2020 JBC Herbert Tabor Early Career Investigator Award.

At Washington State University, I’m using Structural Biology, Molecular Dynamics, Protein Biochemistry, and Analytical Chemistry to define the mechanistic determinants of catalytic bias in cofactor-based enzymatic oxidation-reduction reactions using [FeFe]-hydrogenases as a model system. Besides my work on hydrogenase, I also work on defining the mechanism of conformational gating of electron transfer in FixABCX, a flavin-based electron bifurcating complex.


2012 – 2016                PhD Biochemistry, Prof Judy Hirst, University of Cambridge, UK

2007 – 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, Mulder DW, Raugei S, Zadvornny OA, King PW, Peters JW, (2021). Catalytic bias in enzymatic metal co-factor based oxidation-reduction catalysis, Encyclopedia of Inorganic and Bioinorganic Chemistry.
  2. Varghese F, Zadvornyy OA, Peters JW, (2020). Bioenergetics Theory and Components: Flavin-based Electron Bifurcation. Encyclopedia of Biological Chemistry III, 130-142.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.