The Schwaneberg group counts about 60 members. They work in very modern S1-labs on more than 1200 m2 in the ABBt-Biotechnology Institute (completion in 2013) and additional 250 m2 in the research division at the Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials (completion in 2012). Every appointed coworker has its own individual lab bench. The labs are equipped with state of the art facilities in directed protein evolution.

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Research Interests


Exploring the natural diversity, thereby to discover and to understand on the molecular level underlying design principles of enzymes for applications in catalysis and in material science are the core research of the ABBt-Biotechnology Institute and the research division at the Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials. To follow this research line we develop and apply diversity generation methods, (high throughput) screening systems and computational methods for protein engineering.

Project 10: Directed evolution at high mutational loads

In metabolic engineering low enzymatic activity is often a bottleneck in increasing a flux via pathways of interest. Therefore methods for diversity generation and screening of “bottleneck” enzymes from designed pathways will be improved to increase titers. In detail, the project deals with advancement of a novel flow cytometry screening principle based on fluorescent hydrogel formation on the surface of e.g. E. coli cells with a throughput of ~10^7 variants/h for exploring a novel directed evolution strategy with high mutational loads. High mutational loads open the possibility to identify amino acid substitutions that depend on each other and that are not identified in standard directed evolution campaigns. The selected two enzymes will be identified upon pathways engineering and initial experiments to optimize the flow cytometer screening system will be performed with two pathway enzymes and related knock out strains to quantify the fluorescence background reaction.

Prof. Ulrich Schwaneberg

About the Lab

About the Projects