Synthetic biology is the design and construction of new biological entities such as enzymes, genetic circuits, and cells or the redesign of existing biological systems. Research in this field is multidisciplinary by nature and employs engineering approach to construct and put together new or engineered biomolecular units such enzymes, genetic circuits, metabolic pathways, etc. In general, the assembly of these biomolecular parts and devices is performed to solve specific problems or accomplish specific goals. Synthetic biology is powerful and promising technology to produce fine chemicals and valuable biofuels. It is analogy to the way classical synthetic chemists perform synthesis reactions. However, in this case, the engineered cells perform the task to deliver desirable products. As the approach is biotechnology-based, the technology is clean and efficient in production. It is also sustainable technology because it uses bio-based materials and does not generate toxic waste.
Synthetic biology at VISTEC focuses on using state-of-the-art technology to construct engineered cells or new metabolic pathways that are useful for industrial applications. School of Biomolecular Science and Engineering at VISTEC has state of the art facilities which allow researchers to perform high throughput screening of cellular activities, metabolomics, enzyme and product analysis.
Biocatalysis is the use of enzymatic reactions in the forms of isolated enzymes or in whole cells to catalyze chemical reactions. The use of enzymatic reactions in chemical production can contribute to greener and cleaner industries. With the catalytic power of enzymes, the process can be operated under mild pH and temperature and avoid creation of hazardous intermediates and waste. This technology is sustainable as it can conserve energy, reduce CO2 emissions and minimize toxic waste generation.
Biocatalysis at VISTEC focuses on the use of various enzymes to produce valuable sugars and aromatic derivatives. We have more than 30 types of enzymatic reactions (mostly redox enzymes) which can be assembled into cascade reactions to achieve maximum efficiency in cofactor regeneration, redox balance and atom economy for production of desirable chemicals. Biocatalysis at VISTEC also builds upon our strength in mechanistic enzymology and enzyme engineering. We have been studying reaction mechanisms of flavin-dependent enzymes that can perform a variety of reactions include oxidation, oxygen insertion, halogenation, dehalogenation, reduction, hydration and group elimination. We have an automated liquid handling system which can perform high throughput enzyme engineering. Our biocatalytic reactions can convert low value substrates such as sugar and phenolic compounds from biomass to valuable products.