South African Young Academy of Science

Tjaart Krüger

Tjaart Krüger

Prof. Tjaart Krüger is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Pretoria. He obtained his PhD (cum laude) in 2011 at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and after a postdoctoral fellowship at the same university he returned to South Africa in 2013 to establish his own research group in molecular biophysics. He is passionate about multidisciplinary research and his own research allows him to work at the confluence of physics, biology, chemistry, mathematics, statistics, and even information technology and engineering. His main research interest is to resolve the molecular details of energy transfer and regulation in the light-harvesting pigment-protein complexes of photosynthetic organisms and to control those processes using shaped light and metallic nanoparticles. To this end, he designs and builds specialised laser spectroscopy instruments.

He has published 40 scientific papers, many of which are in very high impact journals, 2 book chapters, an advanced textbook on optical spectroscopy, and several popular science articles. He has an extensive international collaborative network, which includes one of the 2014 Nobel Laureates in Chemistry. For his research outputs, Prof. Krüger has received several awards, including a fellowship from the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (2015), an NRF Y1 rating (2016), the University of Pretoria’s Exceptional Young Researcher’s Award (2018) and the Royal Academy of South Africa’s Meiring Naude Medal (2019). Since 2014 he has been the chair of the South African Biophysics Initiative. As the father of four children he loves to spend time with his family.