Scientific Work Packages

From enzyme discovery to industrial implementation – creating novel biocatalysts for industrial and pharmaceutical biotechnology.
We combine basic research and applied engineering to deliver new synthetic routes to chemically relevant products in more efficient and cleaner ways than the present ones.

WP 1

Enzyme discovery and characterization of novel NN- and CCzymes

This WP addresses the scarcity of NN- and CCzymes by pioneering the systematic discovery of novel NN- and CCzymes as promiscuous biocatalysts that will be characterized, optimized and utilized for novel reaction chemistries.

Key Objectives:

(1) Expanding the scope of NNzymes by genome mining;

(2) Exploiting the catalytic promiscuity of 4-oxalocrotonate tautomerase (4-OT);

(3) Metagenomic bioprospecting and development of tailor-made CCzymes.

WP 2

Structure elucidation and enzyme engineering towards novel reactivities

The research in WP2 will address the existing knowledge gap on how the challenging formation of N-N bonds is achieved by NNzymes, and how promiscuous reactions can be leveraged from NN- and CCzymes, by integrating structural and mechanistic knowledge to steer engineering efforts towards novel activities.

Key Objectives:

(1) Elucidating crystal structures of novel NN- and CCzymes;

(2) Expanding mechanistic knowledge of NN- and CCzymes;

(3) Steering structure-inspired engineering and directed evolution towards tailored biocatalysts to induce or enhance promiscuous activities.

WP 3

Reaction engineering and biocatalytic applications

This WP addresses the scarcity of up-scaling studies involving NNzymes, and the yet not existing biocatalytic platforms combining novel reactivities of CC-and NNzymes for multi-functionalized product building. WP3 will thus demonstrate the synthetic potential of NN- and CCzymes in biocatalytic cascades for the synthesis of multi-functionalized products as pharmaceutically important building blocks to put them one step closer to industrial application.

Key Objectives:

(1) Pioneering biocatalytic cascades comprising the reactivities of NN- and CCzymes;

(2) Reaction modelling towards efficient cascade reactions;

(3) Optimization of operational conditions and reactor mode;

(4) Accessing highly functionalized products as pharmaceutically highly interesting precursors from simple precursors in cascades.