Promoting new-to-industry bacteria to the level of cell factories. I combine metabolic engineering with synthetic biology for designing new CO2-based biorefineries.
My research at SEM focuses around the most abundant carboxylase on the planet (Rubisco). This enzyme fixes CO2, but shows an inherent oxygenase activity, which ultimately results in net carbon loss. Nevertheless, this reaction results in the production of 2-phosphoglycolate, which can be used as precursor of some industrially relevant compounds. By exploiting the rationale of growth-coupled design and selection, I aim at evolving Rubisco to increase its error rate and produce chemicals directly from CO2. Ultimately, I will engineering Cupriavidus necator as production host for the synthesis of such chemicals through the evolved Rubisco.