My current research is focused on metabolic engineering of various yeast species into platform strains for the development of novel, efficient, microbial cell factories. Two main areas of interest are engineering of the (energy) metabolism and eliminating limitations in metabolite transport across membranes of industrial microorganisms.
Research projects usually involve extensive genetic engineering strategies via disruption or deletion of native yeast genes, combined with overexpression of heterologous genes derived from bacteria, plants or other eukaryotes. In some cases, evolutionary engineering via serial transfer or continuous cultivation is applied to further optimize the performance of the engineered strains, after which reverse engineering is used to identify the causal mutations. The constructed strains are then tested under defined and controlled conditions via cultivation in bioreactors.
In my research I actively collaborate with my fellow PI’s: Jean-Marc Daran, Pascale Daran-Lapujade and Jack Pronk and with colleagues from other universities, most notably Bert Poolman (University of Groningen) and Andreas Gombert (University of Campinas, Brazil).