Tilmann Weber

Out now: Special issue edited by DTU Biosustain Researcher

Thursday 21 Jul 16
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Tilmann Weber
Professor
DTU Biosustain
+4524 89 61 32

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Anne Wärme Lykke
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DTU Biosustain
+4521 12 37 70

How do you discover unknown bio-active molecules with important medical or health effects? And how do you detect and engineer cells to produce big amounts of it? Tilmann Weber, Co-Principal Investigator at DTU Biosustain has edited a special issue of Synthetic and Systems Biotechnology, which address these questions. And the answer often is: Computer tools.

Microorganisms have been and also in the future will be the major source of new bioactive molecules, which may serve as future lead molecules for drug development to treat infectious diseases, cancer and lifestyle diseases.

The molecules of interest are often new drugs or nutrients, for instance strong antioxidants, anticancer drugs or new antibiotics.

However, until now finding such molecules has been extremely time consuming and hard due to the lack of innovative screening technologies and the lack of comprehensive databases. In short: Without the proper tools, the novel molecules will hardly be found.

But recent methodological advances now make it easier to screen for new bioactive compounds, Co-Principal Investigator of DTU Biosustain’s 'New Bioactive Compounds Section' and Senior Researcher Tilmann Weber argues in the introduction to a special issue of Synthetic and Systems Biotechnology, which he has been the guest editor of.

"I hope that the readers of this Special Issue will find the articles, tools and methods interesting and inspiring to their own research"
Tilmann Weber, Senior Researcher and guest editor of the Special Issue

The issue has the title “Bioinformatic tools and approaches for Synthetic Biology of natural products”.

Computational tools help finding new bioactive compounds

A variety of bioinformatics software programs now allow scientists to identify, analyse and engineer so-called secondary metabolite biosynthetic pathways. In this way, scientists can pick-and-choose between thousands of novel genes and foresee what kind of product, this genetic combination will yield – just by making quick computational modelling.

For instance, a new web resource called the “Secondary Metabolite Bioinformatics Portal” – a community-driven online catalogue of bioinformatics software and databases related to natural products/secondary metabolites – allows scientists to browse for solutions.

“I hope that the readers of this Special Issue will find the articles, tools and methods interesting and inspiring to their own research,” Tilmann Weber writes in the introduction’s closing comments.

Read the entire introduction here, where you will also find access to full length articles from the Special Issue (Open Access).

Articles with attribution from The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability in this Special Issue

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