Daniel Christoph Volke
Post-doctoral Researcher

Hi, I am Daniel! I am a post-doc in the SEM group working on expanding the synthetic biology toolbox for environmental bacteria and programming biofilm formation and dispersal in Pseudomonas putida for whole-cell biocatalysis.


My research ranges from establishing novel synthetic biology tools for metabolic engineering in Pseudomonas putida to program the formation of catalytic biofilms in P. putida. P. putida is an emerging bacterial chassis for industrial biotechnology due to its unique properties, which include high stress resistance and utilization of diverse carbon sources. The growing interest on applications of this environmental bacterium calls for novel tools for efficient and fast genetic and genome engineering. We are continuously expanding the portfolio of tools and broaden the existing toolbox, incorporating standardized and modular designs e.g. in novel expression systems and new genetic modules for controlling the intracellular redox balance. In the second research line, we are engineering the biofilm lifestyle of P. putida for whole-cell biocatalysis. Biofilms offer several advantages for bioproduction over traditional cultivation setups (based on planktonic cells), e.g. high resistance to both chemical and physical stress, cell immobilization, process stability and limited biomass production during biotransformations. Nevertheless, biofilms are rarely exploited for fermentations, mostly due to drawbacks regarding control of process parameters. Synthetic biology offers the opportunity to harness the benefits of both bacterial lifestyles. We are currently engineering a platform strain for catalytic biofilm-based fermentations, and using these designer biofilms for the biosynthesis of new-to-Nature products.