Dr. Irina Borodina

About the Lab

Research Interests


Originally trained as a chemical engineer, I got fascinated how simple unicellular microorganisms can perform thousands of reactions simultaneously and work as true small chemical factories. I did my PhD on genome-scale modeling of Streptomyces and worked on developing recombinant allergy vaccines during my PostDoc. My current research focuses on metabolic engineering of yeast to create novel cell factories for production of bio-based chemicals.

PhD project 14:

Biomass is an abundant carbon feedstock that will make the basis for the world’s future bio-based production of chemicals and materials. In this project we will create novel yeast cell factories for converting biomass hydrolyzates into diols. Diols are used for making polymers, such as polyurethanes and polyesters. The project is in collaboration with Norwegian biorefinery Borregaard.

PhD project 15:

The objective of the project is to create a yeast strain that can utilize CO2 as the carbon source and H2 as the energy source, a.k.a. an autotrophic yeast. Naturally, yeasts obtain both carbon and energy from organic compounds like sugars, but usage of sugars for production of fuels and chemicals on industrial scale is not optimal due to the high cost and competition with food production. Utilizing autotrophic yeast for large-scale production of bio-based chemicals will not only reduce production cost, but also reduce the current greenhouse gases level and save us from a more severe climate change.  This project is in collaboration with EnobraQ (France).

About Projects

My lab currently hosts 4 PostDocs, 2 PhD students and 2 Research Assistants. We come from nine different countries and are trained as biologists, engineers, brewers, etc., which adds to the creativity and diversity in our research. We work as a team with extensive knowledge and expertise sharing and we are always happy to help each other with ideas, troubleshooting of experiments and other challenges.

In the past few years we have developed genetic tools, which facilitate iterative cycles of strain development for yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Yarrowia lipolytica, and we created cell factories for production of 3-hydroxypropionic acid, resveratrol, p-coumaric acid, flavonoids and other chemicals. The group also carries out research on methodologies for accelerated rational strain design, based on systems biology-level data, such as fluxome, transcriptome, metabolome, and genome-scale modeling. The lab is a part of The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability at Technical University of Denmark and enjoys the access to the state-of-the-art laboratories and equipment.

Read more about Yeast Metabolic Engineering.