Biochemical engineering – Institut for Plante- og Miljøvidenskab - Københavns Universitet

Vores langsigtede vision er at fremme en bæredygtig levevis, ved at erstatte skadelig kemisk syntese og overhøstning af naturressourcer med biologisk syntese. Ved at fokusere på naturlige produkter, komplekse molekyler der anvendes som lægemidler, smagsstoffer eller farvestoffer, konstruerer vi mikroorganismer, alger eller planteceller til fremstilling af værdifulde forbindelser.

Ved at anvende principper for syntetisk biologi udvikler vi alsidige produktionsplatforme, der kan anvende udskiftelige, modulspecifikke komponenter til at reproducere og potentielt udvide den kemiske mangfoldighed, der findes i naturen.

Denne tilgang spænder over en bred vifte af aktiviteter, fra identifikation af biosyntetiske processer, til konstruktion af de involverede dele og optimering af deres "chassis".

Find mere information om gruppen i menuen under billedet.

Forskningstemaer

Three main research themes run across and unify our current research projects. These are:

1. Chemical diversity
We are exploring the modularity of our platforms to recreate and expand the diversity of chemical structures found in nature. In this effort we are focusing on the production of molecules with known biosynthetic origin, the discovery of missing biosynthetic steps for valuable compounds, and the development of methods for the synthesis and characterization of new-to-nature compounds.

2. Modularity
We are addressing the concept of modularity in synthetic biosystems at different levels: pathway, organellar, and organismal. In the process, we are developing concepts and tools for the modular reconstruction of pathways, the conversion of specific subcellular structures into dedicated modular microfactories, and the engineering of synthetic symbiotic systems.

3. Sensing
We are developing sensitive and versatile biosensors for the detection of extracellular or intracellular metabolites, with application in the regulation of pathway fluxes, the establishment of high-throughput assays for enzyme function (e.g. cytochrome P450s or terpene synthases), and the broader detection of molecules with environmental or medical significance.

Forskningsprojekter

  • Elucidating and reconstructing the biosynthesis of the anti-cancer agent Taxol. A paradigm for the production of structurally complex high-value compounds in cell factories (Supported by the Novo Nordisk Foundation).
  • Transforming yeast organelles into micro-factories for the modular assembly of complex biosynthetic pathways (Supported by the Novo Nordisk Foundation).
  • Improving metabolic channeling in engineered systems using natural biosynthetic complexes as a source of inspiration (In collaboration with Nikos Hatzakis - Supported by the European Commission – H2020 program).
  • Establishing a yeast cell factory for high-value triterpenoids (In collaboration with Soren Bak - supported by the Danish Foundation for Independent Research (IRFD) and the Novo Nordisk Foundation)
  • Applying retro-synthetic principles for the systematic reconstruction of custom biosynthetic pathways for high-value compounds.
  • Establishing intracellular and extracellular biosensors for the monitoring and regulation of pathway function (Supported by the European Commission – H2020 program).
  • A synthetic biology approach for the exploitation of marine natural products as pharmaceuticals or biofuels (Supported by the European Commission – H2020 program).
  • Engineering synthetic symbiosis to develop autotroph-heterotroph consortia that can harvest light to convert carbon dioxide to valuable compounds (Supported by the Villum Foundation).

Training opportunities for M.Sc. and B.Sc. students on these topics are currently available, contact soka@plen.ku.dk.

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