Organisation profile

Organisation profile

The Flux Optimisation and BioAnalytics group focuses on the development and exploitation of methods for improving the productivity of microbial cell factories.

An initial focus is on the role of membrane transporters in these processes. The productivity of cell factories, like ‘real’ factories, is much enhanced if their products do overstock at the production site, in this case inside the cell. Understanding how molecules are moved in, and especially out of cells, is thus critical [1,2].

Since natural evolution ensured that such molecules do not simply pass in and out freely, it is thus necessary to identify, and as appropriately modify, the relevant membrane transporters. The former of these is typically done by mass spectrometry, and this (and other high-throughput screening methods) can create huge amounts of data. This in turn leads to a requirement for sophisticated numerical methods of ‘big data’ analysis and mining, optimisation, machine learning and data visualisation, an area that is also a focal point for the group.

Finally, computational reasoning about the production of small molecules leads to a need for informatics as applied to chemicals, a field known as cheminformatics.

In particular, the group's efforts seek to expand the uses of microbial cell factories through:

  1. Novel and high-throughput screening and methods for selection
  2. The development, identification and engineering of relevant membrane transporters
  3. Computational methods for making better strains

The ultimate goal of the group's research is to contribute novel and robust bacterial cell factories for the efficient and sustainable production of fine biochemicals to satisfy society’s needs.

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. Our work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production


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