Dr Nick Wierckx

studied Biology at Leiden University in the Netherlands, with a specialization in molecular biology. During his master theses he studied Aspergillus niger at the department of fungal genetics and Arabidopsis thaliana at the department of plant genetics. During his Ph.D. under the supervision of Prof. Jan de Bont and Prof. Han de Winde at the Dutch research institute TNO, in close cooperation with the Delft University of Technology, he engineered and analyzed the solvent-tolerant Pseudomonas putida S12 for the efficient production of phenol and other aromatics from glucose. As a post-doc at the same institute, he isolated the hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) and furfural degrading bacterium Cupriavidus basilensis HMF14, and characterized the metabolic pathway through which these important inhibitors are degraded. The characterization of this pathway also led to the discovery of a HMF/furfural oxidoreductase, which was used for the production of the promising bio-based building block 2,5-furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA). He further developed this FDCA production process at the research company BIRD Engineering. Since September 2011 he is research group leader at the Institute of Applied Microbiology at the RWTH Aachen University. Here, he focuses on the application and development of synthetic biology tools in the metabolic engineering of bacteria and fungi for the production of industrially relevant chemicals from renewable substrates. He is currently on an Emmy Noether stipendium of the DFG.

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