Biochemical engineering – University of Copenhagen


Biological synthesis for sustainable living

Our long term vision is to promote sustainable living by replacing harmful chemical synthesis and over-harvesting of natural resources with biological synthesis. As an immediate goal, we are focusing on natural products, the complex molecules used as pharmaceuticals, flavors, fragrances, or biofuels. To facilitate the identification, characterization and application of natural products, we engineer microorganisms for the production of high-value compounds. By applying synthetic biology principles, we develop versatile microbial platforms that can accept standardized and exchangeable module-specific parts to reproduce and potentially expand the natural chemical diversity. This approach spans a wide range of activities, from the identification of the biosynthetic pathways, to the engineering of the parts involved, and the optimization of the “chassis”.

Current research topics include:

  • Improving metabolic channeling in engineered systems using natural metabolons as a source of inspiration.
  • Transforming yeast organelles into micro-factories for the modular assembly of complex biosynthetic pathways.
  • Applying retro-synthetic principles for the systematic reconstruction of custom biosynthetic pathways for high-value compounds.
  • Establishing a yeast cell factory for the production of carmine, one of the most popular natural red dyes currently used in the food industry (in collaboration      with Chr. Hansen).

Training opportunities for M.Sc. and B.Sc. students on these topics are currently available (contact: