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Luca Schmermund

PhD Student

Luca Schmermund

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Project title: Light-induced biocatalytic reductions

Project description:
Enzymes have become a recognised and green tool in organic synthetic chemistry due to the generally mild and environmentally friendly conditions required for the reactions. At the time, methods were developed to perform chemical reactions by using light. These light reactions showed an extended substrate scope and proceeded under milder conditions compared to the light-independent alternatives. Therefore, this research project focus on the combination of photoreactions with enzymes in order to obtain sustainable reaction processes. For this purpose, a photoenzyme will be used in this project. Photoenzymes are light-driven enzymes that require light to perform a chemical reaction. Without light, no reaction is possible. The photoenzyme can serve as a starting point to replace hazardous and toxic reagents which are widely used currently in chemical reactions by light. This would be a very important step towards greener chemistry since light generates no waste, is non-toxic and can be obtained from renewable sources nowadays.

The overall goal is to find new reactions that are not feasible with chemical methods at the moment, and to find more sustainable reaction methods by using these photoenzyme. Therefore, a detailed characterisation of the substrate scope and features of this special photoenzyme are necessary. During the project, a secondment at the Aarhus University will focus on the optimisation of the process for industrial relevant applications. Furthermore, an industrial placement is planned at a pharmaceutical company in the UK. There will be the opportunity to work with a newly developed photoreactor and to investigate the influence of different light sources on photobiocatalytic reactions.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 764920.

Supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Selin Kara

Co-supervisor: Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Kroutil, University of Graz, Austria

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