Skip to main content
Skip to main menu Skip to spotlight region Skip to secondary region Skip to UGA region Skip to Tertiary region Skip to Quaternary region Skip to unit footer


Job Candidate Seminar: Dr. Bekir Eser, "Enzymes as promising catalysts for green and sustainable synthesis: The case of fatty acid modifying enzymes"

Bekir Eser
Dr. Bekir Eser
Aarhus University
B118 Davison Life Sciences

Global challenges such as climate change, environmental pollution and resource scarcity necessitate development of eco-friendly and sustainable catalytic routes to produce (bio)chemicals, fuels and materials, which are in line with circular bioeconomy, decarbonization and zero-pollution goals. Here, biological solutions, especially enzyme catalysis, present promising strategies for eco-friendly conversion of renewable resources such as non-food biomass, waste oils and CO2 into useful compounds. In my research, we aim to discover, characterize, and engineer enzymes to generate a toolbox of biocatalysts for such useful biotransformations. In this talk, I will describe our studies on biotechnologically relevant enzymes that convert renewable fatty acids into two product types; 1) hydroxy fatty acids, which can be used as material precursors as well as bioactive molecules, and 2) hydrocarbons, which can be used as drop-in biofuels. Through rational and semi-rational protein engineering of enzyme active-sites, we have generated mutant libraries to discover variants with altered substrate specificity and enhanced chemo-/regio- selectivity. Our kinetic and mechanistic characterization of these enzyme variants led to improved understanding of the factors that control substrate specificity and product scope. We have also demonstrated the applicability of our enzymes through multi-enzyme cascades and semi-prep scale reactions. Our mutant variants belonging to different enzyme groups can be used for green and sustainable synthesis of a wide-variety of products from jet-fuel additives and material precursors to bioactive lipids. 

- Dr. Eser's abstract

Support us

We appreciate your financial support. Your gift is important to us and helps support critical opportunities for students and faculty alike, including lectures, travel support, and any number of educational events that augment the classroom experience. Click here to learn more about giving.

Every dollar given has a direct impact upon our students and faculty.