Through the literature research I became familiar with the theoretical background of methods for DNA assembly, pathway library generation and in vivo pathway evolution. Now I have joined the Schwaneberg Group at the RWTH Aachen, in order to broaden my scientific skills regarding library generation methods and protein engineering strategies.

Khalil Essani

Project 10: Directed evolution at high mutational loads

Natural enzymes are not optimized for industrial applications. Here protein engineering via directed evolution can generate enzyme variants with improved substrate affinity, altered co-factor requirement, increased turnover rates and/or reduced inhibition, and so on. The success of a directed evolution experiment depends on the genetic diversity generation and the high throughput screening system. The objective of this project is to develop a method which enables directed evolution under high mutational loads by applying a FACS based high-throughput screening.

About the Project

Research Interests


My main research interests lie in the field of bio-catalysis, protein and metabolic engineering and synthetic biology. I wrote my bachelor`s thesis about Synthetic Biology and Biocomputing and completed my master`s thesis with the title `New tools for biosynthetic pathway optimization` at the Austrian Centre of Industrial Biotechnology (ACIB) in Graz, where I received funding by the CHEM21 - EU project. In this project I developed an in vivo combinatorial strategy in yeast, which generates a polycsitronic pathway library that allows to balance the relative activity of the participating biosynthetic pathway enzymes. During my stay at the ACIB in Graz, I have published a review article with the title `Combinatorial pathway assembly in yeast`.