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Technical University Berlin (TU Berlin)

Within the Technical University Berlin the following institutes participate in the student exchange program:

Practical topics include

  • Biotechnology & biological chemistry (bacterial & fungal cell culture, medicinal chemistry, natural product chemistry, pathway engineering, synthetic biology)

Prof. Roderich Süßmuth

The coordinator Roderich Süßmuth studied chemistry at the University of Tübingen. He performed his PhD thesis with Günther Jung in 1999 in the field of structure elucidation and biosynthesis investigation of the last resort antibiotic vancomycin. He was then a Postdoc with R. Lerner and C. Barbas III at the Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, USA, funded by the Humboldt-Foundation. In 2004 he finished his habilitation in Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry and became a professor of Biological Chemistry at the Technical University of Berlin. Since 2009 he is full professor. Roderich Süßmuth has published over 120 publications in peer reviewed journals. He has received awards for his contributions to the structure and biosynthesis of secondary metabolites and antibiotics. His research interests are in the fields of pathway engineering and reprogramming of secondary metabolite biosynthesis of bacteria and fungi, combinatorial biosynthesis, enzyme mechanisms with a focus on ribosomally and non-ribosomally synthesized peptides, the development of secondary metabolites into drugs as well as Synthetic Biology

The group of Biological Chemistry (Prof. R. Süssmuth) works on chemical synthesis and biosynthesis of various ribosomal and non-ribosomal biosynthesis pathways and their optimization for biotechnological processes. Protein biochemistry and enzymatics are central for mechanistic investigations which parallel in vivo studies in microorganismic producers. Using pathways engineering and Synthetic Biology we manipulate these pathways in order to obtain new structural diversity, new bioactivities in the medicinal chemistry sector, and new functions e.g. fluorescence probes.

Research Objectives:

  • Isolation and structure elucidation of new natural products from microorganisms (bacteria, fungi) by ESI-MS and 2D NMR spectroscopy
  • Heterologous expression of antibiotic biosynthesis pathways in E. coli and yeast
  • Expression and biochemical characterization of posttranslationally modifying enzymes
  • Pathway engineering by site directed mutagenesis and module exchanges in non-ribosomal peptide synthetases
  • Combinatorial biosynthesis by shuffling of biosynthesis genes in antibiotic biosynthesis pathways
  • Precursor-directed biosynthesis and mutasynthesis by chembiochemical feeding of synthons to bacterial antibiotic producers
  • Incorporation of unnatural amino acids by amber-suppression and complementation methods into ribosomal biosynthesis pathways
Detailed information can be found here.

Prof. Vera Meyer

Research of the Department of Applied and Molecular Microbiology (Prof. Vera Meyer) is focused on bio-based products and processes of filamentous fungi like Aspergillus niger. Fungal production systems are characterized by their robustness and high secretion capacity and recently became accessible for efficient and targeted genetic manipulation. However, the productivity of fungal biotechnology is so far limited by inadequate knowledge of the regulation and dynamics of cellular processes (protein transport, protein secretion, cell morphology, etc.). The main goal of this work is a better understanding of those processes using state-of-the-art tools and to optimize industrial fungi by genetic and metabolic engineering.

The current research objectives of the Department of Applied and Molecular Microbiology are as follows:

  • Optimization of fungal production systems Analysis and modeling of signaling networks controlling metabolism, protein transport, and protein secretion using systems biology and trans-disciplinary approaches to overcome the imitations for fungal bioprocesses
  • Synthesis of bioactive substances using fungal production systems Production of proteins and secondary metabolites with a high potential for use in pharmaceutical or food industries using suitable and optimized fermentation processes, establishment and/or improvement of synthetic biology tools for controlled performance of fungal strains
  • Development of new antifungal agents and strategies Identification and characterization of fungal-specific target molecules applying high-throughput technologies to combat the increasing number of resistant human and plant pathogenic fungi
Detailed information can be found here.