Our research is located at the interface of microbial physiology, biochemistry, and ecology. We are driven by the desire to discover and engineer novel microbial pathways and enzymes that involve the transformation of carbon compounds, in particular acetate, methanol, methane or CO2. These compounds are central to the global carbon cycle and their conversion through microbes has a direct impact on the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
We currently focus on answering the following questions: How many metabolic pathways in the global carbon cycle are still undiscovered and what is their ecological importance? How do enzymes catalyze challenging reactions (e.g. the fixation of CO2) and what drives their evolution? Can we construct novel enzymes and completely novel metabolic pathways (e.g. for the efficient fixation of CO2 into value-added compounds) using the methods of synthetic biology?