Bioengineering of cells




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Bacteria are capable to produce a vast diversity of biopolymers comprising polyesters, polysaccharides, polyanhydrides and polyamides.

Bioengineering of bacterial cells for the production of functional materials

Advances in understanding of metabolic pathways and the molecular mechanisms of polymer synthesis will increasingly inform bioengineering of bacterial cells towards the production of novel and functional biopolymer-based materials. Our research focuses on the biosynthesis of the two polymers, alginate and polyester, as well as on the self-assembly of functional proteins. New insights into the molecular concepts of biopolymer synthesis and self-assembly will be illustrated and their direct implication on bioengineering of bacterial production strains using synthetic biology approaches will be described.

Novel functional materials composed of high molecular weight polyesters and/or a variety of functional proteins such as e.g. fluorescent proteins, antigens and enzymes were successfully manufactured by engineered bacteria. These novel materials were designed toward application performance for uses in medicine and industry. Medical applications comprised the use as particulate vaccines for preventive treatment of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Hepatitis C infections, respectively, as well as in diagnostics implementing ELISA, fluorescence activated cell sorting, lateral flow strips and skin tests. Industrial applications were focusing on uses of these new materials as high affinity purification resins which can be easily tailored toward a desired specificity. The integration of enzymes into designed polymer scaffold led to new materials with performance suitable for applications in the cleanup of environmental pollutions, biomass conversion and fine chemical synthesis. In this presentation, I will outline the design space provided by the use of engineered living organisms such as bacteria for the manufacture of new functional materials. 

Bernd H. A. Rehm, Massey University


Victoria University of Wellington, AMB103
University of Otago, please use Scopia Desktop
University of Auckland, 23 Symonds St, GO61, Chemistry Building 301
Massey University, please use Scopia Desktop
Callaghan Innovation – Gracefield Campus, C-Block Meeting Room
University of Canterbury – Psychology 164

If you are unable to attend at one of the above locations the seminar can be viewed via Scopia Desktop