Louise Horsfall (co-chair)

Louise Horsfall is a lecturer in biotechnology within the multidisciplinary research centre for synthetic and system biology, SynthSys, at the University of Edinburgh. Research in the Horsfall lab seeks to employ synthetic biology tools to increase the energy efficiency and resource efficiency of applied biotechnology. Current challenges include the production of metallic nanoparticles and platform chemicals to incentivise the decontamination of waste, water and land by engineering microorganisms, adopting biological compartmentalisation methods and optimising enzymes and pathways. She is programme director of the MSc in Synthetic Biology and Biotechnology and teaches biotechnology to both undergraduates and postgraduates. She organises the section's 'Focus on…' meeting series.

email louise.horsfall[at] /lab website / twitter @lehorsfall.

Tim Overton (co-chair)

Tim Overton is a lecturer in biochemical engineering at the School of Chemical Engineering, The University of Birmingham. His research interests include fermentation development and intensification for the production of recombinant protein drugs and biopolymers, the use of engineered biofilms for biocatalysis and biotransformation, and the use of flow cytometry to monitor and optimise biological processes. He teaches fermentation, cell culture and systems and synthetic biology. He is director of MSc programmes in Biochemical Engineering and Advanced Chemical Engineering. He organises the EFB Applied Synthetic Biology meeting series.

email t.w.overton[at] / lab website / twitter @overtonlab.

Jon Marles-Wright (treasurer)

Jon Marles-Wright is a Senior Lecturer in Microbial Biotechnology in the School of Biology at the Newcastle University. He trained as a biochemist and structural biologist working on diverse projects from immune recognition of bacterial lipids, environmental sensors in Gram positive bacteria and plant cell wall degradation. His current research employs structural biology methods complemented with biochemistry, biophysics and synthetic biology tools to understand metabolic compartmentalisation in bacteria. Through an understanding of the basic biology and design principles of metabolic compartments, we hope to use these as synthetic biology platforms for the production of valuable natural products, and to refactor these systems for use as containers and scaffolds for biotechnology applications. Jon teaches subjects ranging from structural to synthetic biology and was a 2015 SynBio LEAP fellow.

email jon.marles-wright[at] / lab website / twitter @jmarlesw

Beatrice V Vetter (Communications Officer)

Beatrice Vetter is a Synthetic Biology PhD student in Prof Susan Rosser’s lab within the Centre for Synthetic and System Biology (SynthSys) at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, which she joined after receiving a first class BSc (Hons) degree in Biochemistry and Microbiology from the University of Strathclyde in 2013. Beatrice’s research is focused on increasing the efficiency of Microbial Electrochemical Technologies (MET) for wastewater treatment and energy recovery by investigating and fine-tuning exoelectrogenic bacteria.

Being the EFB’s youngest board member, Beatrice is responsible for composing the section’s quarterly newsletter, promoting section events and curating the section’s online presence including maintenance of the EBBS social media pages.

email Beatrice.Vetter[at] / SynthSys Profile / @Bea_Viv.

A Cecilia A Roque (Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal)

Cecília Roque is an Assistant Professor at Departamento de Química and head of the Biomolecular Engineering Lab at Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia, Universidade Nova de Lisboa. She holds a degree in Chemical Engineering (Major in Biotechnology) and a PhD in Biotechnology from Instituto Superior Técnico (Lisbon, PT). Cecília has been a Visiting Scholar at the University of Cambridge (UK) and at the Catholic University of America (US), a Post-doctoral researcher at the Institute of Biotechnology (University of Cambridge, UK) and at INESC-MN (PT). Her research work focus in Biotechnology and sits in the frontiers between chemistry, biology and engineering. Cecília is active on the development of affinity receptors towards important biopharmaceuticals, as well as on the design of smart-responsive platforms for bioseparation processes, biosensing and biomedical applications. Cecília has received several national and international awards and published over 47 papers in peer-reviewed journals.

Neil Dixon (University of Manchester, UK)

Dr. Neil Dixon is BBSRC David Phillips Research Fellow, based at the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology MIB, University of Manchester. His lab's research interests are to enhance current capacity and incorporate new capability into microbial cell hosts for a variety of biotechnological applications. This broad area of activity is currently focused on: i) Developing novel RNA-based gene expression devices, and SynBio circuits for tunable recombinant protein expression, to address secretion and co-expression challenges and facilitate upstream bioprocess optimization. ii) developing novel protein and RNA-based bio-sensors to detect substrates, co-factors and products of relevance to Industrial Biotechnology.

e-mail Neil.Dixon[at] / lab website

Jean Marie François (INSA-Toulouse, France)

Jean Marie Francois is PhD in Agronomy and Biological Chemistry from University of Louvain-La-Neuve (UCL) Belgium in 1988. He became full professor in Industrial Microbiology and Nanobiotechnology at Institut National des Sciences Appliquées/Toulouse in 1993 and reached the exceptional class in 2010. His research activities are focused on "Integrated Physiology and Functional Genomics" in microbial systems, with specific issues on regulation of microbial carbon and energy metabolism, cell wall biogenesis, and metabolic refactoring of microbial metabolism. He is author/co-authors of more than 180 peer reviewed paper and 15 patents. He is also cofounder DENDRIS SAS, a spin off dedicated to molecular diagnosis using state of the art micro and nanotechnologies.

Alexander Frey (Aalto University, Finland)

School of Chemical Technology, Aalto University. His research focuses on the rationale design of novel and improved production organisms harnessing state-of-the art synthetic biology tools in combination with computational biology and high throughput screening approaches. Yeast’s importance has led to it being well studied scientifically, and in recent years this has led it to being used in the production of not only food, but also pharmaceuticals, vaccines and secondary metabolites. His group uses nature as blueprint to redesign and tailor baker’s yeast as cell factories creating new ways to make “tried and tested” products – however in a more efficient way as in the existing production methods. He teaches many aspects important to modern biotechnology starting from the basics in genetics and microbiology to metabolic engineering, systems biology and rational design of production hosts.

Pengcheng Fu (University of Limerick, Ireland)

Pengcheng Fu is an adjunct biorefinery and bioenergy professor in the department of design and manufacturing, University of Limerick, Ireland and a professor in the college of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, Beijing University of Chemical Technology.
Dr. Fu received his undergraduate training in chemical engineering at Zhejing University, China in 1982. He obtained his M.S. degree in chemical engineering at Zhejing University in 1988 and his Ph.D. degree in biochemical engineering at University of Sydney, Australia in 1996, respectively. He then performed postdoctoral research in Kyushu Institute of Technology, Japan, University of Minnesota and University of California at San Diego during 1996–2000. Dr. Fu was employed by Diversa Corp (recently renamed Verenium, San Diego, CA) in 2001–2002. He joined the faculty at the Department of Molecular Biosciences and Bioengineering in the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 2002. He then joined the faculty in China University of Petroleum, Beijing in 2009. Dr. Fu joined the faculty in college of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, Beijing University of Chemical Technology in May 2013. Dr. Fu’s area of research interests include: Biofuels and Bioenergy, Metabolic Engineering, Functional Genomics, Bioprocess Control, Metabolomics/Metabolite Profiling, Systems Biology and Synthetic Biology. Dr. Fu has published scientific articles filed patents on synthetic biology and systems biology. Dr. Fu and Dr. Sven Panke from the ETH Zurich, Switzerland have edited a book entitled published by Wiley and Sons in 2009.

Jussi Jäntti (VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland)

Jussi Jäntti is leading the Synthetic biology research team in the Industrial Biotechnology division at the VTT Technical research Centre of Finland. His research focuses on the development of efficient microbial Cell factories for the sustainable production of chemicals and proteins. His team develops modelling approaches for the design and establishment of novel enzymatic pathways and regulatory genetic circuits. An important target of their work is to establish efficient genome engineering methods for industrially relevant organisms to speed up the process of Cell factory establishment. In addition to yeasts and filamentous fungi his team is also working on electrobiology investigating the possibilities to effectively use the concept of microbial electrosynthesis for industrial biotechnology.

Katrin Messerschmidt (University of Potsdam, Germany)

Katrin Messerschmidt is leading the Synthetic Biosystems research team in the biochemistry and Biology department of University of Potsdam, Germany. Her research focuses on the design and generation of an orthologous, light-inducible protein expression platform in yeast Sacchararomyces cerevisiae. She received her Biochemistry degree from University of Potsdam and a PhD in Biochemistry from the same University. Subsequently, she did a PostDoc research project in biotechnology and antibody technologies developing methods for the selection of antibody-producing bacteria and mammalian cells before joining the field of synthetic biology in 2013.

Marjan De Mey (Ghent University, Belgium)

Marjan De Mey obtained a PhD in Bioscience Engineering at Ghent University. She was visiting researcher at TU Delft (The Netherlands) and MIT (USA) and since 2011 she holds a position as professor in Metabolic Engineering at the faculty Bioscience Engineering of Ghent University where she leads the Metabolic Engineering group at the Laboratory for Industrial Biotechnology and Biocatalysis. Their research focuses on the development of novel tools and methods to fine tune metabolic pathways. They apply these tools to create custom designed microbes for the production of useful chemicals, special sugars and natural products from renewable resources. She is also affiliated researcher at the Laboratory of Metabolic Engineering and Bioinformatics at MIT where she is involved in the development of microbial production processes for terpenoids and monoethyleneglycol.

e-mail Marjan.demey[at] website

Peter Neubauer (TU Berlin, Germany)

Peter Neubauer is professor in bioprocess engineering at the Technische Universität Berlin (TU Berlin). Research in the Neubauer lab is directed to the development of robust bioprocesses with a focus on (i) bioprocess scale up und scale down strategies including two – and three-compartment scale-down reactors, (ii) process analytical technologies (PAT) for the characterisation of industrial scale bioprocesses in terms of the reactor inhomogeneities with the aim for improved bioprocess control and product quality, and (iii) the development of a high throughput technology platform for the automated consistent development of bioprocesses. He is cofounder of the company BioSilta which develops the EnBase® biocatalyst based substrate delivery systems for a seamless scaling of controlled growth conditions.

e-mail peter.neubauer[at] / lab website

Jens Schrader (DECHEMA –Forschungsinstitut, Germany)

Jens Schrader received his degree as a biotechnologist from Technical University of Braunschweig, Germany. He is member of the executive board of DECHEMA Research Institute, Frankfurt, a private foundation dedicated to interdisciplinary research for sustainable technologies. His research interest is the combination of metabolic and bioprocess engineering to develop novel microbial processes starting from renewable resources. His group focuses on the biotechnological synthesis of natural products, especially flavour and fragrance compounds and terpenoids. The group is also interested in industrial biotechnology based on "non-sugar" carbon sources such as glycerol and methanol and in bioelectrochemical syntheses. He is associate professor at Goethe University Frankfurt teaching in the master program molecular biotechnology.

email [email protected] / lab website

Urartu Seker (Bilkent University, Turkey)

Urartu Seker is an Assistant professor in Bilkent University- Materials Science and Nanotechnology Institute. Dr. Seker earned his PhD degree in Molecular Biology-Genetics and Biotechnology Program in Istanbul Technical University and in University of Washington (Visiting graduate student), in 2009. Upon completion of his PhD, he workedas a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Singapore Nanyang Technological University where he worked on developing biophotonic probes and devices using proteins -quantum dot nanoparticle hybrdis, from 2009-to 2011. Later, he worked as a postdoctoral research associate at MIT Synthetic Biology Research Center, and Research Laboratory of Electronics from 2011 to 2014. During his work at MIT Synthetic Biology Research Center he focused on designing living material systems using synthetic biology tools. Since 2014, he is working as an Assistant professor and leading Synthetic Biosystems Research Laboratory at Bilkent University. His research interests are: synthetic genetic regulation, living material systems, engineered biofilms, whole cell sensors, synthetic biology enabled synthesis of bio/nanomaterials and tissue engineering.

Barbara Di Ventura (University of Heidelberg, Germany)

Barbara gained a degree in Computer Science from the University of Rome “La Sapienza” after which she obtained a Ph.D. in molecular biology at the EMBL, Heidelberg. She is currently group leader at the BioQuant center, at the University of Heidelberg. Her team is interested in understanding the mechanisms used by cells to control processes in space and time using an interdisciplinary approach that combines molecular and cellular biology with synthetic biology and mathematical modeling. A special focus of the lab is optogenetics, that is, the use of light to externally control protein function and localization in individual living cells.

email Barbara.diventura[at] / lab website.

Martin Warren (University of Kent, UK)

Martin Warren is Professor of Biochemistry in the School of Biosciences at the University of Kent. He is well known for his research into the biosynthesis of modified tetrapyrroles, the so called pigments of life, such as hemes, chlorophylls and corrins (vitamin B12). His interest in vitamin B12 chemistry led to a study of how cobalamin is used for propanediol utilisation (pdu) in some bacteria, where remarkably the metabolic process is sequestered within a proteinaceous organelle called a bacterial micrcompartment, one of the largest protein-based complexes found in nature. He uses recombinant DNA technology and synthetic biology approaches to re-engineer pathways into organisms in which they do not naturally occur and redesigns them for enhanced performance.

Heleen De Wever (Flemish Institute of Technological Research - VITO - , Belgium)

Heleen De Wever is a Project Manager at the Flemish Institute of Technological Research (VITO) in Belgium and leads the Biotechnology team in the business unit Separation and Conversion Technology. The main research lines of the team are process intensification, valorization of biomass and CO2-to-product bioconversions. Technological approaches include the combination of separation technology with bioconversions for high cell density fermentations,in-situ product recovery, enzyme immobilization and/or selective product separation, tailoring of biomass towards defined oligomer fractions, and gas fermentations in explosion-proof conditions. Heleen is also involved in the MELiSSA project focussing on organic waste recycling and valorization in space conditions.

email heleen.dewever[at]


Tony Hitchcock (Cobra Biologics, UK)

Diethard Mattanovich (BOKU, Austria)

Victor de Lorenzo (CNB, Spain)

Jens Nielsen (Chalmers, Sweden)

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