RUB » Junior Research Group Kourist

Rational Protein Design and Directed Evolution

Enzymes are the catalysts of nature. Evolution optimized them over millions of years to mediate a wide diversity of reactions in a multitude of biochemical pathways. The fact that enzymes are active in aqueous solution and at mild reaction conditions makes them highly desirable catalysts for environmentally benign processes. Due to their excellent selectivity, biocatalysts are widely applied for the synthesis of fine chemicals. Consequently, a considerable number of enzymatic processes have been implemented on industrial scale. Key success factors are the impressive developments in enzyme discovery and protein engineering, which offer new approaches on how enzymes are searched for, optimized and applied.

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Utilization of renewable resources

The development of sustainable exnergy and material production processes has been widely acknowledged as a key challenge for the 21st century. The dwindling of fossil resources and the increasing emission of greenhouse gases urge mankind to find new possibilities for the production of fuel and commodity chemicals. A solution to this problem would be the joint development of environmentally-friendly methods for the production of value-added products. This would demonstrate the benefits of a bio-based economy.

Our approach is the development of biotransformations for the targeted modification of lipids, including the conversion of fatty acids to hydroxy-acids and long-chain terminal olefines.