My work aspires to develop biological synthesis as the method of choice for the production of complex chemicals, replacing current organic chemistry methods, or extraction from plants, which are inefficient and detrimental to the environment.
To achieve this goal, I apply a multi-disciplinary approach that begins with the identification and characterization of biosynthetic enzymes, continues with the optimisation via engineering of the enzymatic activities involved, and concludes with the reconstruction of biosynthetic pathways in biological systems for the sustainable synthesis of valuable compounds.
My group has pioneered the development of tools and applications in the following areas of Biochemical Engineering:
• Identification, characterization, and optimization through protein engineering of enzymes involved in biosynthetic pathways of plant specialized metabolites.
• Metabolic engineering of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae for the bioproduction of high-value plant specialized metabolites, focusing on terpenoids, cannabinoids, and alkaloids.
• Production of non-canonical new-to-nature plant specialized metabolites by the combination of protein and metabolic engineering.
• Development of yeast-based whole-cell biosensors for the determination of plant specialized metabolites.
• Development of continuous mutagenesis-based in vivo directed evolution methods for the optimization of cell factories and biosynthetic enzymes.
Undervisnings- og vejledningsområder
I have a strong enthusiasm and a firm commitment to excellence in research-based teaching. I encourage the students and young scientists in my research group to build their scientific knowledge and develop independent scientific thinking, dare to think out-of-the-box, and follow their curiosity. I believe that the scientific training during the early years of a researcher’s education is formative for their future career. Therefore, I place special focus on inspiring young scientists to combine excellence and visionary thinking with hard work and dedication.