Get to know our Supervisors

Sandy Schmidt

Dr. Sandy Schmidt is Coordinator, first supervisor of ESR1 & ESR2 and co-supervisor of ESR3, ESR6 and ESR7. Additionally, she is member of the Recruitment committee

Starting from April 2020 on, Dr. Schmidt has been Assistant Professor and Rosalind Franklin Fellow at the University of Groningen and is leading the research group “Synthetic Biotechnology” at the Groningen Research Institute of Pharmacy within the Department of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Biology. Sandy Schmidt studied Biochemistry at the University of Greifswald, Germany. She completed her PhD in 2015 in the group of Prof. Uwe Bornscheuer at the University of Greifswald in the field of protein engineering and enzymatic cascade reactions. During her time as postdoctoral researcher at TU Delft, she acquired a strong knowledge on in vitro enzymatic and photo-chemo- enzymatic cascades and further developed her research profile as Junior Group Leader at TU Graz by the design and assembly of synthetic metabolic pathways and multi-enzymatic cascades for biocatalytic applications using synthetic biology tools.

Key expertise, mainly used research methodologies & equipment

Research in the Schmidt lab exploits the powerful reactivity and selectivity of enzymes from secondary metabolite pathways for the production of natural products and their analogs for pharmaceutical applications. Moreover, she is interested in the engineering autotrophic chassis strains using advanced synthetic biology tools for various biotechnological applications. The main lines of research are
  1. the design and assembly of synthetic metabolic pathways and (chemo)enzymatic cascades for biocatalytic applications using synthetic biology tools
  2. Rieske oxygenases involved in natural product biosynthesis
  3. Photobiocatalysis
  4. the development of new concepts for electron transfer pathways in microorganisms
Research facilities include laboratories equipped with state-of-the-art equipment for research in fundamental and applied biocatalysis. This includes know-how and equipment for molecular biology with S1-safety (PCR, cloning), cell culture, protein purification (Äkta purifier), organic synthesis (equipment for synthesis under protection gas), analysis (GC, GC/MS, HPLC, LC-MS, NMR), molecular modeling (MD, Yasara), small to lab scale cultivation facilities, a robotic liquid and plate handling station, and crystallization and X-ray analysis, including a high-throughput nano-volume crystallization robot. Several central research facilities are available within the GRIP-UMCG environment such as a:
  • Interfaculty Mass Spectrometry Center
  • Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cell Facility (Pathology and Medical Biology)
  • Central Animal Facility
  • University Microscope Imaging Center

Relevant publications

Özgen, F. F., Runda, M. E., Burek, B. O., Wied, P., Bloh, J. Z., Kourist, R., Schmidt, S. Artificial light-harvesting complexes enable Rieske oxygenase-catalyzed hydroxylations in non-photosynthetic cells. Angew. Chem Int. Ed. 2020, 59, 1-7.

Zhang, W., Fernández-Fueyo, E., Hollmann, F., Leemans Martin, L., Pesic, M., Wardenga, R., Höhne, M., Schmidt, S., Combining photo-redox and enzyme catalysis facilitates asymmetric C-H bond functionalization. Eur.J.Org.Chem., 2019 (1), 80-84.

Assil-Companioni, L., Schmidt, S., Heidinger, P., Schwab, H., Kourist, R. ChemSusChem 2019, 12, 2361–2365.

Lars Lauterbach
Dr. Lars Lauterbach has been a team leader in the research group “Biochemistry of Gas-Converting Biocatalysts” headed by Dr. Oliver Lenz at the Technical University of Berlin since 2018. His expertise lies in the design and application of biocatalysts for both the production of sustainable biofuels and the use of biofuels for fine chemical synthesis. Dr. Lauterbach studied Technical Biology at the University of Stuttgart. In 2008, he finished his PhD in microbiology at the Humboldt University under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Bärbel Friedrich. After research fellowships at UC Davis (USA) with Prof. Stephen Cramer and at the University of Oxford (UK) with Prof. Kylie Vincent, he joined the group at the Technical University of Berlin.
Lars M. Blank
Lars M. Blank studied Chemical Engineering from 1990 to 1997 at the University of Dortmund (Germany) and Biology from 1992 to 1997 at the Ruhr-University of Bochum (Germany). During his master theses he worked in the field of Metabolic Engineering in the group of Prof. E. T. Papoutsakis at Northwestern University, IL, USA and in yeast cell biology at the Ruhr-University of Bochum. In his Ph.D. in the group of Prof. L. K. Nielsen at the University of Queensland, Australia (1998 to 2002), he developed a continuous process for hyaluronic acid production. During his Ph.D. he worked as a visiting scientist at the Technical University of Denmark (DtU), Lyngby, Denmark (Sept. – Dec. 1999). As a postdoctoral fellow of the Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina (Halle, Germany) he established flux analysis as an additional tool for yeast Systems Biology in the group of Prof. U. Sauer at the ETH Zurich, Switzerland. From November 2004 until June 2011 Lars M. Blank lead the group Systems Biotechnology at the Laboratory of Chemical Biotechnology of Prof. Andreas Schmid at the TU Dortmund. In January 2010 he finalized his Habilitation. In 2011 he became professor and head of the Institute of Applied Microbiology at the RWTH Aachen, Germany. He contributed to more than 190 peer reviewed publications and is associate editor for, e.g. Metabolic Engineering and Metabolic Engineering Communications.
Nathalie Gorret

N. Gorret first supervisor of ESR 10, academic supervisor of ESR 8 and ESR 9.

Dr. Nathalie Gorret is an INRA Research Scientist in the Fermentation Advances and Microbial Engineering Group at the Toulouse Biotechnology Institute since July 2007. Her pHD (2000) followed by a 3 years post-doctorate at Massachussets Institute of Technology (Cambridge – USA) in the laboratory of Pr Sinskey (Biology Department) have contributed to develop her expertise on microbiology/physiology and biochemical engineering skills. She joined the Toulouse Biotechnology Institute in 2005 to investigate the dynamics of the interaction between biological and physical phenomena observed in large-scale bioreactor. Her researches focus on the understanding of the impact of the heterogeneities (substrates/products/pH/dissolved oxygen gradients) on the microbial behaviour at both population and sub-population level (physiological states / Morphological states / Genetic stability) in order to optimize microbial processes. She develops skills on methodologies and tools to characterize and quantify the transient microbial responses to environmental stresses using offline and online biosensors at both global population and single-cell levels.

Key expertise, mainly used research methodologies & equipment

TBI-FAME provides a complete environment for research in fermentation processes including set of classical bioreactors and specific bioreactors for gas fermentation from 1mL to 10 liters, on-line gas composition analysers, CO2, O2, H2 dissolved probes, analytical equipment for substrates and product identification and quantitation (HPLCs, GCs, GC-MS-MS). The team is also equipped with flow cytometers for single-cell analysis. The team has also access to the different technology platforms at TBI (transcriptomics, proteomics, fluxomics).

Hosting Institution

The “Institut National des Sciences Appliquées” of Toulouse, is an international, pluridisciplinary, state engineering school, recognized for the excellence of its five-year education which attracts students of a high academic level. INSA- Toulouse provides a range of 8 engineering specializations, including biological engineering. Its courses, linked to the latest scientific advances, are supported by the activity of leading-edge research laboratories as the TBI, backed by large industrial groups. The school is part of the seven doctoral schools. It offers 8 Research Master programs and receives around 240 PhD students, half of whom come from abroad. The Toulouse Biotechnology Institute (TBI) is a mixed research unit (UMR) attached to INRA (UMR 792), CNRS (UMR 5504) and INSA Toulouse. Internationally recognized, the lab was evaluated “Exceptional” in 2014 and graded A+ by AERES in 2009, with three awards under the “Investissements d’Avenir” (Investing in the Future) program, TBI holds an innovative position at the interface between life sciences and process sciences. Its work has applications in the sectors of health, biotechnologies, water and environment, food processing and agri-business, and chemistry.

Relevant publications

Barthe M., Tchouanti-fotso J., Gomes P., Bideaux C., Lestrade D., Grahal C., Steyer J. P., Meleard S., Armand J., Gorret N., Cocaign-Bousquet M., Enjalbert B., Metabolic heterogeneity is controlled by the molecular switch XylR during Escherichia coli adaptation from glucose to xylose. Under Press in mBIO.

Boy C, Lesage J, Alfenore S, Gorret N, Guillouet SE. 2020. Plasmid expression level heterogeneity monitoring via heterologous eGFP production at the single-cell level in Cupriavidus necator. Appl. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 104:5899-5914.

Timoumi A, Bideaux C, Guillouet SE, Allouche Y, Molina-Jouve C, Fillaudeau L, Gorret N. 2017. Influence of oxygen availability on the metabolism and morphology of Yarrowia lipolytica: insights into the impact of glucose levels on dimorphism. Applied Microbiology Biotechnology. doi: 10.1007/s00253-017-8446-7

Marc J, Grousseau E, Lombard E, Sinskey AJ, Gorret N, Guillouet SE. 2017. Over expression of GroESL in Cupriavidus necator for heterotrophic and autotrophic isopropanol production. Metabolic engineering 42:74-84.

Timoumi A, Cléret M, Bideaux C, Guillouet SE, Allouche Y, Molina-Jouve C, Fillaudeau L, Gorret N. 2016. Dynamic behavior of Yarrowia lipolytica in response to pH perturbations: dependence of the stress response on the culture mode. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology:1-16.

Grunwald S, Mottet A, Grousseau E, Plassmeier JK, Popović MK, Uribelarrea J-L, Gorret N, Guillouet SE, Sinskey A. 2015. Kinetic and stoichiometric characterization of organoautotrophic growth of Ralstonia eutropha on formic acid in fed-batch and continuous cultures. Microbial Biotechnology 8:155-163.

Ternon C, Grousseau E, Gunther J, Gorret N, Guillouet S, J. SA, Aceves-Lara CA, Roux G. 2014. Dynamic Model for Isopropanol Production by Cupriavidus Necator. p 4388-4393. 19th IFAC World Congress 2014, Cape Town, South Africa.

Grousseau E, Lu JN, Gorret N, Guillouet SE, Sinskey AJ. 2014. Isopropanol production with engineered Cupriavidus necator as bioproduction platform. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 98:4277-4290.
Regina Kratzer
Regina Kratzer is deputy head of the Institute of Biotechnology and Biochemical Engineering and head of the working group ‘Bioprocess Engineering Science’ at the Institute of Biotechnology and Biochemical Engineering, TUG. She has an h-index of 15. Regina Kratzer was granted an Elise-Richter fellowship and a Hertha-Firnberg fellowship from the Austrian Science Fund (FWF, total sum 0.45 Mio €). Regina Kratzer is currently PI in the acib/ COMET K2 (Synthetic biology for efficient gas feedstock conversion to new protein sources) 2020-2023. She attained Habilitation (post-doctoral lecturing qualification) in March 2018.
Ricardo O. Louro
Since 2004 I am the head of the Inorganic Biochemistry and NMR laboratory at ITQB NOVA. My research has been funded by Portuguese, EU, and international partnership programs. I supervised 4 Post Docs, 9 PhD theses and 7 Masters Students. I currently coordinate the work of 4 PhD holders and 3 PhD students. I am author in over 100 publications, and delivered over 55 invited talks at international scientific conferences and research institutions. I Co-organized advanced courses in Louvain-la-Neuve (BE), Groningen (NL) and Oeiras (PT) on methods to study the chemistry and biology of metals, I was the main organizer of the 6th International congress of the ISMET society (2017). Since 2013 I am an elected member of the Scientific Council of ITQB-NOVA, and in 2016 I was nominated President of the Biosciences Scientific Committee of Santa Casa da Misericordia (a charity more than 600 years old). I hold teaching assignments in two masters programs in Biochemistry and Biotechnology, and in the Molecular Biosciences PhD program of ITQB-NOVA, which I also Co-coordinate.
Robert Kourist
Robert Kourist is professor for Molecular Biotechnology at Graz University of Technology and head of the institute of the same name. He studied Biochemistry from 2000 to 2006 at the Universities of Greifswald (Germany) and Oviedo (Spain). After his Ph.D. thesis under the supervision of Prof. Uwe Bornscheuer in Greifswald (2006–2008), he went for a postdoctoral stay at the Keio University in Yokohama, Japan. He was Junior Professor for Microbial Biotechnology at the Ruhr-University Bochum from 2012 to 2016, when he received his appointment for his current position at the TU Graz. Robert Kourist is head of the Area Biotransformations at the Austrian Centre of Industrial Biotechnology. He is speaker of the FWF doc.funds CATALOX and has been coordinator of the Marie Curie-Sklodowska ITNs PhotoBioCat and BIOCASCADES.
Stéphane Guillouet
Dr. Stéphane Guillouet is Professor in Biochemical Engineering and Metabolic Engineering at the INSA Toulouse. He is conducting his research at the Toulouse Biotechnology Institute where he is leading the Fermentation Advances and Microbial Engineering research group (30 persons). He is also the Head of the Microbial Engineering Department at TBI. He graduated his PhD in Biochemical Engineering in 1995 in the group of Prof. JM Engasser at the Institut National Polytechnique de Lorraine. During his 3 years postdoctoral research at MIT, he acquired skills in metabolic engineering in the group of Prof. AJ Sinskey. Its research activity at INSA-TBI focuses in the integration of metabolic and biochemical engineering for the development of robust microbial processes for biofuels and chemicals. Connected to the research and application domains of the project ConCO2rde; SG led as coordinator in multiple research projects in the engineering of C. necator for the production of hydrocarbons and alcohols from CO2 (MIT-France Seed Fund, France-MIT Energy Project, ANR project ProBio3).