Systems Environmental Microbiology

The Systems Environmental Microbiology group focuses on the molecular and metabolic taming of the non-pathogenic soil bacterium Pseudomonas putida as a microbial cell platform.

P. putida is rapidly becoming attractive for applications in which fast growth, high tolerance to different types of stress and a favourable intracellular redox environment are needed.

To launch P. putida as a fit host for sustainable biotechnological applications, the group's work adopts Metabolic Engineering and Synthetic Biology approaches to improve the core physiological and metabolic traits in this bacterium. The ultimate goal of the group's research is to contribute to making novel and robust bacterial cell factories for the sustainable production of fine biochemicals to satisfy modern industrial needs. 

In particular, the group's efforts seek to expand the potential uses of this bacterial cell factory by:

  • Digging into the wiring of its central carbon metabolism to re-factor its components in a more efficient fashion
  • Implementing and contributing tools à la carte for genome editing and gene expression in Gram-negative bacteria
  • Engineering an O2-independent lifestyle
  • Plugging-in new (bio)chemical reactions that do not occur naturally in this bacterium
  • Monitoring the redox and energy status of the resulting recombinants by means of dedicated biosensors. These approaches are implemented in a cyclic fashion to constantly improve the performance of the target cell factory

The Systems Environmental Microbiology group is located at The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability, DTU Biosustain and it is headed by Senior Researcher, Pablo I. Nikel