Research

Our research interest focus around the application of oxidoreductases for organic synthesis. These enzymes have a lot to offer for the organic chemist in terms of selectivity and efficiency. In particular, we are interested in biocatalytic oxyfunctionalization reactions using monooxygenases and peroxygenases as well as reduction reactions using alcohol dehydrogenases and ene reductases.

Specific research projects center around:

  1. Simplified regeneration schemes: Direct, nicotinamide cofactor-independent reaction not only represent highly simplified reaction schemes but also offer some possibilities for biorthogonal and more selective reactions.

  2. More efficient use of electron donors: We aim at efficiently utilizing the stoichiometric reductant. For example, methanol is an attractive reductant if fully oxidized to CO2 and if all reducing equivalents are productively used to promote the biocatalytic reaction of interest. Eventually, we aim at using water as electron donor.

  3. Photobiocatalytic reactions:  Illumination can significantly accelerate biochemical reactions such a flavin-dependent reactions. Furthermore, visible light can introduce thermodynamic driving force to make seemingly impossible reactions feasible (e.g. the catalytic oxidation of water).

  4. Biocatalytic redox chemistry in non-aqueous reaction media: Water may not always be the solvent of choice, especially if hydrophobic reagents are involved. We aim at developing reaction schemes that enable the efficient conversion of preparatively relevant reagent concentrations.

  5. (Chemo)enzymatic cascades: The combination of enzymes and ‘classical chemical’ catalysts represents an interesting concept combining the strengths of both worlds. Especially if combined in one-pot reactions, such cascades may be more than the sum of its parts.

  6. Environmentally acceptable chemistry: (Bio)catalysis is not environmentally benign or green per se. In all our efforts we try to keep a quantitative view on their environmental impact. For this, we particularly like to use Sheldon’s E-factor and further extensions of it. 
/* */