Research • Educate • Connect
Towards a sustainable bioeconomy

Research • Educate • Connect
Towards a sustainable bioeconomy

IBG-1: Biotechnology | Systems Biotechnology | Forschungszentrum Jülich


Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Wiechert

Prof. Dr. Marco Oldiges
Dr. Stephan Noack
Prof. Dr. Martina Pohl
Prof. Dr. Dörte Rother
Dr. Eric von Lieres
Dr. Katharina Nöh
Prof. Dr. Dietrich Kohlheyer

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Research topics and profile (related to bioeconomy)

IBG-1:Biotechnology at Forschungszentrum Jülich works in the field of industrial biotechnology and thereby bridges the gap between the supply and digestion of renewable raw materials and the production of novel chemical products for the bioeconomy. The work in the topic area "Systems Biotechnology" (Prof. Wiechert) at IBG-1 pursues the overarching goal of gaining a deeper quantitative understanding of enzymes and microorganisms with a focus on optimizing industrial production processes. In this context, systems biotechnology deals with the development and application of innovative methods for the characterization of metabolic networks in whole cells as well as reaction cascades in cell-free systems. For this purpose, an extensive mass spectrometric platform is implemented with a focus on quantitative metabolome, fluxome and proteome analysis.

The cultivation platform for the characterization of production organisms and the development and optimization of biotechnological processes ranges from micro cultivation devices and laboratory bioreactors to the 100 L pilot plant scale. This is complemented by single cell studies using specially designed microfluidic chips for directly observing intracellular processes under realistic process conditions. This includes the development of genetically encoded biosensors in close cooperation with other research groups in the field of systemic microbiology.

Furthermore, extensive work on biocatalysis is carried out. Technically relevant enzymes are quantitatively characterized and specifically modified. Enzyme toolboxes allow the development of new multi-step processes for the synthesis of high-quality molecules. Process development is based on integrated enzyme and process design in conjunction with innovative immobilization methods.

A particular focus of Systems Biotechnology is on miniaturization, automation and digitization in bioprocess development, with the aim of significantly increasing throughput compared to classical laboratory-scale approaches and much closer integration of strain and process development. These developments are enabled by a comprehensive laboratory robotics platform. The data generated with the analytics platform is far too extensive for efficient manual evaluation. Thus, end-to-end digitalization of biotechnological development processes is necessary. For this purpose, interface and data management standards are developed and combined with modern data science tools such as machine learning, uncertainty quantification, and intelligent experimental design. A closed design-build-test-learn cycle (DBTL) is created with the long-term goal of autonomous experimentation.

The data obtained in this way are used to generate a systems biology understanding or mechanistic process description, using multi-scale mathematical models to describe biochemical networks and industrial bioprocesses, often using the supercomputers of Forschungszentrum Jülich. All work ultimately culminates in deep knowledge based bioprocess development for industrial applications.


Contributions to BioSC

IBG-1:Biotechnology at Forschungszentrum Jülich works in the field of industrial biotechnology, thus bridging the gap between the supply and digestion of renewable raw materials and the production of high-quality chemical products for the bioeconomy. In the topic area of systems biotechnology, the focus is on technical aspects of process development driven by systems biology concepts, automation, data and simulation science or microfluidic systems both in application to microbial and enzymatic processes.