funding (since 2007)
Artificial Enzyme Modules as Tools in a Tailor-made Biosynthesis
ERC Consolidator Grant (European Research Council) N° 865885
In order to tackle some of the prime societal challenges of this century, science has to urgently provide effective tools addressing the redesign of chemical value chains through the exploitation of novel, bio-based raw materials, and the discovery and implementation of more resource-efficient production platforms. Nature will inevitably play a pivotal role in the imminent transformation of industrial strategies, and the recent bioeconomy approaches can only be regarded as initial step towards a sustainable future. Operating at the interface between chemistry and life sciences, my ABIONYS will fundamentally challenge the widely held distinction separating chemical from biosynthesis, and will deliver the first proof-of-concept where abiotic reactions act as productive puzzle pieces in biosynthetic arrangements.
On the basis of our previous ground-breaking discoveries on artificial enzyme functions, I will create a significantly extended toolbox of biocatalysis modules by applying protein-based interpretations of synthetically crucial but non-natural reactions i.e. transformations that are in no way biosynthetically encoded in living organisms. My research will exploit these tools in multi-enzyme cascades for the preparation of complex organic target structures, not only to highlight the great synthetic potential of these approaches, but also to lay the groundwork for in vivo implementations. Eventually, the knowledge gathered from enzyme discovery and cascade design will enable to create an unprecedented class of bioproduction systems, where the genetic incorporation of artificial enzyme functions into recombinant microbial host organisms will yield tailor-made cellular factories.
Combining classical organic synthesis strategies with the power of modern biotechnology, ABIONYS is going to transform the way we synthesize complex and functional building blocks by allowing us to encode organic chemistry thinking into living production platforms.