MetRaZymes: Metal-containing Radical Enzymes

Lead Research Organisation: University of Strathclyde
Department Name: Pure and Applied Chemistry


The pharmaceutical, chemical and polymer industries are cornerstones of Europe's economy. A key element for their transition to more sustainable processes and to innovative new compounds is biocatalysis. Of particular interest are metallo-enzymes, i.e. proteins that host a metal cofactor. They catalyze a multitude of redox and radical reactions. To access reactions that are unknown in nature, artificial metallo-enzymes can be created. They combine the new-to-nature catalytic activity of metal complexes with the selectivity-inducing environment of the active protein site. To develop novel biocatalysts, a highly interdisciplinary skill set is needed. MetRaZymes will create a PhD school across leading European universities that will train the next generation of scientists capable of tackling the design, development and implementation of novel enzymatic reactions in a holistic approach. It brings together computational bioscientists, bioinorganic and polymer chemists, and bioprocess engineers. Using artificial and repurposed metalloenzymes as the focal point, the ESRs will develop novel biocatalysts for radical reactions of high synthetic value, such as the late stage modification of pharmaceutical intermediates or the synthesis of polymers from renewable monomers. To train the ESRs in the needs of industrial biotechnology, the consortium includes eight of Europe's leading pharmaceutical, chemical and enzymology companies. The ESRs will benefit from a vast transferable skills training program delivered by five training partners. Highlights include a Nature Masterclass and Wikipedia workshop. Communication partners such as Wikimedia and the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre will act as muliplicators for the communication of results. Moreover, the ESRs will work with artist that use biology as their way of expression to create an ARTzymes exhibition that will foster the ERS's creativity and result in a an unique form of science dialogue with the general public


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