BRAIN Summer School
© BRAIN Biotech AG
23 August 2022

Biotransformation – "No technology can do it alone"

Interview on the "Summer School Biotransformations 2022"

In August, our enzyme specialist Dr. Alexander Pelzer and our enzyme specialist Janna Sturm participated in a four-day Summer School organized by DECHEMA in Bad Herrenalb. In a total of 25 lectures, speakers addressed the topic of "Biotransformation" from different angles. Alexander gave a talk entitled "Sequence-driven enzyme discovery from digital metagenome libraries"; Janna presented a poster with an overview of BRAIN's protein engineering platform. Four questions for them about this event.

Alexander, what does the term "biotransformation" mean and what exactly was this Summer School about?

Alexander: Biotransformation plays an important role in the development towards a bioeconomy. It involves, for example, the production of materials and chemicals from raw materials of a circular economy. The biochemical reactions required for this are made possible by biocatalysts. The event therefore focused on the identification of new enzymes, microbial production strains, bioprocess development, enzyme optimization and electrosynthesis. Overall, however, we also considered the field of biotransformation in the context of sustainability, and it once again became clear that biotransformation will make a decisive contribution to the transformation of industries.

In addition to the technical content, this Summer School always provides an opportunity to think outside the box: This time, for example, there was a contribution on the topic of The Art of Innovation as well as a voice training session that helps to achieve a present, confident appearance.

The organizer, DECHEMA, had set as one of the goals of this four-day meeting the training of interdisciplinary communication between different fields. Which fields were meant and why is an intensive exchange between these areas so important?

Alexander: The scientific field of "biotransformations" encompasses a variety of disciplines and benefits from each of them. These disciplines include biology, chemistry, chemical engineering, and computer science or bioinformatics. Each discipline individually is complex and specialized. However, industrial implementation of sustainable processes requires the combination of disciplines: a fundamental understanding of the other disciplines and, ultimately, professional exchange among them. No technology could do it alone!

Young scientists were explicitly invited to this summer school. What is the reason for this?

Alexander: The Summer Schools always bring together top scientists from academia and industry. To provide enough space and opportunities for an intensive exchange, all lecturers stayed on site for at least one night. So it was a great opportunity, especially for those participants who are at the beginning of their careers, to network, discuss science and get inspired for their own research.

Janna, what were your impressions as a representative of the addressed target group?

Janna: The invited speakers were always approachable and took a lot of time to support the young scientists in their work. For me, it was exciting and enriching to exchange ideas with the doctoral students from different disciplines, as this option is rarely offered in the industrial environment. I particularly liked the fact that the exchange took place in a relaxed atmosphere.

Thank you both for your impressions!

→ Information about Enzyme Technology at BRAIN Biotech

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