Flux Optimisation and Bioanalytics

Microbial cell factories are the chief means of transitioning to a sustainable BioEconomy. To this end we seek to develop methods designed to maximise flux to these bioproducts.

What we try to achieve
The title of the Flux Optimisation and BioAnalytics group describes both what we wish to achieve (improving the rate of production in microbial cell factories) and how we go about achieving it (improving the methods of creating and analysing such strains). A first focus is the proteins that sit in the cells’ membranes and control the rate at which substrates go in and products can be pumped out. The specificities of many of these are still unknown (‘orphans’), even in the biotechnology workhorse organism E. coli, and we have a programme to de-orphanise them. We have already novel discovered transporters for the efflux of various compounds for processes of interest (e.g. melatonin).

Why our research is important and how it can be used
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.

We have several targets for cell factory production, mostly around nutraceuticals. Nutraceuticals are molecules that can improve health and longevity, and are seen as insufficient in normal diets so people benefit from eating them as supplements. Some of our targets are in process and not yet protected/ published, but one successful process for the healthy nutraceutical ergothioneine (commonly found in mushrooms) has been commercialized. We also have an interest in finding molecules to treat Long COVID.

How we achieve our aims – methods, tools, technologies
Synthetic Biology uses a Design-Build-Test-Learn (DBTL) cycle to improve both individual protein properties and the performance of whole organisms. We have developed and exploit methods for each element of the DBTL cycle, e.g. SpeedyGenes for protein diversity creation and untargeted metabolomics for our analytics.


The group is headed by Associated Scientific Director Prof Douglas B. Kell and is located on the Lyngby Campus, on the 4th floor of Building 220.


Douglas Kell

Douglas Kell Associated Scientific Director