Forschungszentrum Julich GmbH
Wilhelm Johnen Strasse
The overall goal of the department of Microbial Catalysis is to develop microbial biotechnology concepts that can ultimately be applied to solve grand challenges such as pollution and climate change. Our scientific focus is on the development of microbial catalysts for the bio-based production of chemicals and the fundamental understanding
of the underlying cellular processes. Our main workhorses are bacteria from the genus Pseudomonas and smut fungi from the Ustilaginaceae family. Our methods revolve around synthetic biology, metabolic engineering, laboratory evolution, systems analysis, and bioprocess technology.
The FZJ's efforts in the field of MIX-UP focus on the development and optimisation of mixed cultures for the conversion of plastics hydrolysates into value-adding chemicals. For this purpose, different pseudomonads will be developed to assimilate the released
monomers of the various plastics polymers. Simultaneously, the synthesis of aromatics from plastics monomers by adaptive laboratory evolution and metabolic engineering will be established.
Prof. Nick Wierckx is the leader of the department of Microbial Catalysis in the Institute of Bio- and Geosciences IBG-1 at the Forschungszentrum Jülich since October 2018. Before that, he was Emmy Noether group leader at the Institute of Applied Microbiology in the RWTH Aachen University, where he co-coordinated the H2020 project 'P4SB' which involved several MIX-UP partners. He has extensive experience with both the bio-upcycling of plastics waste and the bio-based production of plastic monomers. Research interests include synthetic biology, microbial physiology, metabolic engineering, and microbial biotechnology. Nick will lead the FZJ efforts in MIX-UP, focusing on the development and optimisation of mixed cultures for the conversion of plastic hydrolysates into value-added chemicals.
Yannic Ackermann is a PhD Student in the department of Prof. Nick Wierckx at the Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ) since February 2020. He graduated with a Master's degree in Biology from the Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf in 2019 but completed his Master's thesis at the Institute of Molecular Enzyme Technology at the FZJ.
Leonie op de Hipt studied Applied and Molecular Biotechnology at RWTH University. She supported MIX-UP during her Master’s Thesis project in the team of Prof. Nick Wierckx at FZJ. She now remains in Jülich for her PhD thesis in the context of the project UPLIFT, which belongs to one of the MIX-UP friends.