2023 Chemistry Biology Interface early career Prize: Norman Heatley Award Winner
Dr Stephen Wallace, The University of Edinburgh
Awarded for the development of chemical tools and microbial biocatalysts for sustainable synthesis.
Chemical synthesis is a key driver of industrial CO2 emissions worldwide. Research in this area must evolve in the coming years to help address the global climate crisis by developing new synthetic methods that are both greener and no longer reliant on fossil fuels.
Synthetic biology has emerged as an elegant solution to this challenge, where microorganisms can be genetically programmed to produce industrial chemicals from renewable feedstocks (for example, sugar and CO2) and ‘waste’ (like PET plastic, a form of polyester) via fermentation. Dr Wallace’s research in this area aims to reprogramme living bacteria to transform waste feedstocks into valuable industrial products through the use of synthetic biology, and to expand the chemistry of microorganisms using biocompatible reactions.
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