We engineer enzymes!
Biocatalysis is the use of enzymes to carry out defined chemical reactions under controlled conditions, in order to convert raw materials into commercially more valuable products. The high selectivity of enzymatic transformations, combined with the mild reaction conditions and the use of inexpensive reagents, represent sound advantages for biocatalysis. Our research is aimed at developing novel and efficient processes for synthesizing natural food additives and drug intermediates, as well as to study structure-function correlations of enzymes.
In order to tailor the enzymes for industrial conditions we employ protein engineering techniques. Among methods utilized are random mutation and selection coined Directed Evolution, rational design, data driven mutagenesis, and x-ray structural analysis. Projects in the lab include the synthesis of natural fragrance compounds using Bakers’ yeast, producing enantiopure sulfoxides using oxidizing enzymes, improving lipases for biodiesel production, and studying the structure-function correlations of tyrosinases.
Applied and molecular biocatalysis, exploitation of enzymes and whole cell systems for synthesis of drugs and nutraceuticals, directed evolution of enzymes, immobilized enzymes, enzymes in organic solvents.