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TU Darmstadt leads consortium funded by the ERA CoBioTech research program

Prof. Dr. Fessner, TU Darmstadt

Prof. Dr. Wolf-Dieter Fessner, who leads the Synthetic Bioorganic Chemistry group at the Technische Universität Darmstadt, has won a €1 Million 3-year ERA CoBioTech research grant under the first ERA-Net Cofund Action H2020 call “Biotechnology for a Sustainable Bioeconomy”. He will also coordinate the collaborative research project involving 6 partners from 4 EU countries with a total budget of €3 Million.

The project TRALAMINOL will develop innovative, environmentally sound biotechnological processes through a multi-disciplinary approach, involving bioinformatics, organic synthesis, biochemistry, molecular biology, molecular modeling, and biocatalytic process development. Enzyme superfamily portfolios with thousands of new enzymes from metagenomic sources will facilitate the discovery of robust biocatalysts for industrial application. TRALAMINOL will create a unique enzymatic reaction platform for catalyzing carboligation and amination reactions and, by building on these key steps, develop highly integrated methods for the synthesis of stereoisomerically pure amino alcohols. Amino alcohols are essential chiral building blocks for the synthesis of important agrochemicals and pharmaceuticals, including drugs for the treatment of cancer, circulatory disease, diabetes, microbial infection and others.

Other leading European research groups involved are the University College London (U.K.), Institute of Advanced Chemistry of Catalonia (Spain), Université Clermont Auvergne (France), and two industrial partners, BASF SE (Germany) and PROZOMIX (U.K.), who will contribute their complementary expertise. By fully exploiting the synergy between synthetic biology and biocatalysis, the TRALAMINOL consortium aims to establish sustainable, energy efficient industrial processes, which will contribute to reducing environmental footprints and lowering our dependence on fossil raw materials in a bio-based economy — addressing one of the greatest societal challenges of the 21st century.