*** Aktuelle Meldungen ***


New publication on plastic degradation
The manuscript "Seawater activated TiO2 photocatalyst for degradation of organic compounds“ was published in Sustainable Chemistry and Pharmacy (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scp.2020.100251). Inorganic polyphosphate was used as a coating for a TiO2 photocatalyst. Upon sea water contact, the polyphosphate shell dissolves. The photocatalyst is released and degrades organic compounds. An application in plastics is envisaged. Congratulations to Max-Fabian Volhard and Prof. Dr. Thomas Jüstel from the FH Münster for the development of this innovative catalyst system. Group Blank contributed to the manuscript by analyzing the polyphosphate dissolution kinetics.

picture of publication front page

The iAMB´s publication „Exploiting the Natural Diversity of RhlA Acyltransferases for the Synthesis of the Rhamnolipid Precursor 3-(3-Hydroxyalkanoyloxy)Alkanoic Acid” in Applied and Environmental Microbiology was chosen to provide the journal´s cover photo. It shows iridescent rhamnolipid foam and can be admired in the issue No.6.


The project MeY4bioPP on biotechnological polyphosphate project has started.


On 10th February 2020 the BioSC Workshop 2020 “Closing cycles in the Plastics Bioeconomy”, took place at RWTH Aachen, with a Keynote speech from the head of iAMB Prof. Lars Blank. In the workshop, opportunities for the valorization of plastic waste, by establishing plastic as a substrate for the biotechnological and chemical industry, were presented and discussed. The speakers contributions covered a broad spectrum of plastic waste recycling, from novel research concepts to current industrial applications. We would like to thank the PlastiCycle organization committee from Forschungszentrum Jülich, for the organization of this successful and inspiring event.


From 4th to 7th February 2020 the kick-off meeting took place in Brussels and thus the launch of the EU-funded “MIX-UP” research project was given. Within the EU HORIZON 2020 project, a multidisciplinary, international consortium is not only working on the development of sustainable recycling methods for plastics, but also on the production of novel bio-plastics and the establishment of an efficient circular bio-economy for plastic waste. In addition to the European project partners from research and industry, there is also cooperation with Chinese research groups, which highlights the global dimension of the problem around plastic mismanagement. Further information can be found underhttps://www.rwth-aachen.de/cms/root/Die-RWTH/Aktuell/Pressemitteilungen/November/~elvrd/Die-Werte-der-Abfallstroeme-von-Kunststo/?lidx=1andhttps://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/870294.


The iAMB has a new member: Gina Welsing. For the next years Gina will work within the EU-funded “MIX-UP” project on her dissertation on microbial plastics degradation and recycling. We are looking forward to a successful collaboration and convey a warm welcome to her!


The iAMB has a new member: Birger Wolter will work at the iAMB on his PhD within the EU-funded project “MIX-UP”. We are looking forward to a successful collaboration and convey a warm welcome to him!


Today we had the first celebration of 2020: Maike Otto successfully passed her doctoral examination. Within the STARTUP project she worked on the microbial production of aromatic compounds from renewable resources. We congratulate Maike heartily and are very happy with her!


The iAMB has a new member: Henric Hintzen. During the next years Henric will work on his dissertation within the “MIPLACE” project on bacterial plastics degradation and recycling. We are looking forward to a successful collaboration and convey a warm welcome to Henric!


Last but not least PhD-defense 2019! Again party at the iAMB. Wing-Jin Li has achieved her doctor hat today, after successfully passing her Doctor examination. As part of the Horizon 2020 Project P4SB (www.p4sb.eu) she used metabolic engineering to enable bacterium Pseudomonas putida KT2440  to use the monomers ethylene glycol, 1,4-butanediol and adipic acid released during enzymatic hydrolysis of plastic polymers polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polyurethane (PUR) as efficient C-sources for the production of microbial polyesters or rhamnolipids. This microbial upcycling produces sustainable, value added chemicals from plastic waste as a contribution to circular bio-economy.Congratulations Wing-Jin and best wishes for the next steps in your scientific carrier!


Today we had another big party at the iAMB. Birthe Halmschlag has crowned her three and a half years of successful research concerning the tailor-made production of poly-ɣ-glutamatic acid (ɣ-PGA) by Bacillus subtilis with the successful completion of her doctoral examination.The production of the structurally different ɣ-PGA's in B. subtilis was achieved by combining genes encoding PGA synthetases and glutamate racemases in several Bacillus species. Depending on the origin of the corresponding enzyme combination, the ɣ-PGA biopolymers consisting of D- and L-glutamate monomers contained 3-60% D-glutamate. Congratulations Birthe - well done!




Kristina Bitter

PhD Student


work Phone
+49 241 80 26617


Plastic material in the environment – a topic of increasing relevance with a lot of research going on. At the iAMB the degradation of conventional plastics and bioplastics is investigated within the EFRE-funded “iMulch” project, especially regarding mulch foils in agriculture. More information (in German) can be found here: http://news.bio-based.eu/welchen-einfluss-haben-mulchfolien-in-der-landwirtschaft-auf-terrestrische-oekosysteme/ as well as here: http://imulch.eu.


Today the iAMB could celebrate again:Hao Guo successfully passed his PhD exam! During his PhD-time, Hao worked on the production of terpenes using Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Congratulations to you, Hao!

Delegation from Thailand Copyright: iAMB

A delegation from the Department of Science Service (DSS), Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation of Thailand visited the iAMB. The Director General Mrs. Sukmoung and other delegates were interested in aspects of the circular economy including plastic waste recycling. A visit of the laboratories was also scheduled.

summer school participants Copyright: iAMB

Students from Tokyo and Kyoto visited the iAMB as part of the German Engineering, Language and Culture Summer School 2019 this week. Apart from Biology basics, Prof. Blank showed them the idea of the bioeconomy and the contributions of industrial microbiology. Of course, there was also a guided lab tour, and lots of photos were taken. We hope the participants learned a lot and had great fun!


Already in fall 2018 the first funding decisions under the Excellence Strategy were made, and the RWTH was successful with two Excellence Clusters. One of them is the Fuel Science Center, which the iAMB is also part of. These two Clusters provided the requirements for the application as University of Excellence, and an international commission now granted the title to the RWTH as one of eleven universities. Apart from a significant funding, this helps to keep up the excellent reputation of the RWTH Aachen University. Further information about the Excellence Strategy can be found here: https://www.bmbf.de/en/excellence-strategy-5425.html


Today the iAMB could celebrate again: Johanna Loevenich successfully passed her PhD exam! During her PhD-time, Johanna worked on the production of itaconic acid using Ustilago maydis. Congratulations to you, Johanna!

Award ceremony Copyright: Dörte Rother

Dörte Rother receives the Biotrans Junior Award 2019 for "outstanding achievements in the field of biocatalysis" during the 14th International Symposium on Biocatalysis and Biotransformations (BIOTRANS) in Groningen (NL).


Today the iAMB could celebrate again: Desy Askitosari successfully passed her PhD exam! During her PhD-time, Desy worked on bioelectrochemical systems. Congratulations to you, Desy!


Today the iAMB could celebrate again: Christoph Lenzen successfully passed his PhD exam! During his PhD-time, Christoph worked on the synthesis of 4-hydroxy benzoate using Pseudomonas taiwanensis. Congratulations to you, Christoph!


The iAMB has two new members: Lena Ullmann and Hendrik Mengers will work at the iAMB on their PhD projects within the Fuel Science Center. We are looking forward to a successful collaboration and convey a warm welcome to them!


Today the iAMB could celebrate again: Hamed Tehrani successfully passed his PhD exam! During his PhD-time, Hamed worked on the metabolic engineering of Ustilaginaceae. Congratulations to you, Hamed!


The Blank lab and Dr. Sabine Willbold from the Forschungszentrum Jülich developed an enzymatic assay for the length determination of inorganic polyphosphate and published this method in Analytical Chemistry (https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.analchem.9b00567). The assay performs on par with 31P NMR, allows high throughput analysis, and requires only commonly available laboratory equipment. 


Today the iAMB could celebrate again: Jan Förster successfully passed his PhD exam! During his PhD-time, Jan worked on amino acid biosynthesis pathways in Pichia pastoris. Congratulations to you, Jan!


Hamed Tehrani, Apilaasha Tharmasothirajan, Elia Track, Lars Blank and Nick Wierckx published a new article in “Metabolic Engineering” (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ymben.2019.05.004). They used morphologic and metabolic engineering to improve the production of itaconic acid using Ustilago cynodontis more than six-fold. Moreover they achieved high itaconic acid yields at low pH values. 

Karikatur der FSC-Teilnehmer

Three members of the iAMB contributed to the international conference of the Cluster of Excellence “The Fuel Science Center”, which took place on May 13th to 15th: Isabel Bator and Till Tiso presented a poster, which they were allowed to promote during a “Rapid Fire Session”, and Salome Nies gave a talk about “Microbial Production of Methyl Ketones as Diesel Blends“. Moreover, Melanie Filbig, our new PhD student within the Fuel Science Center participated in the conference. During the conference dinner a caricaturist was present and portrayed the iAMB participants including Professor Blank quite accurately (top left to right: Isabel Bator, Melanie Filbig, Salome Nies; bottom left to right: Professor Blank, Till Tiso). More information can be found here: http://www.fuelcenter.rwth-aachen.de/cms/Fuelcenter/Austausch/Aktuelle-Veranstaltungen/~soxh/7th-International-Conference/?lidx=1


In the context of a hearing about plastic waste, Professor Blank was invited to the German Bundestag today. There, he presented the EU-funded project P4SB (https://www.p4sb.eu/) as one possible starting point for solving the global plastic waste problem. A video of the hearing with Professor Blank's part starting appr. at minute 26 and more information (both in German) can be found here: https://www.bundestag.de/mediathek?videoid=7351639#url=bWVkaWF0aGVrb3ZlcmxheT92aWRlb2lkPTczNTE2MzkmdmlkZW9pZD03MzUxNjM5JnZpZGVvaWQ9NzM1MTYzOQ==&mod=mediathek


From January to March 2019, our MOOC on biobased materials, developed with eight other partners, was open for 7 weeks on the online platform edX.org and attracted more than 1800 learners from all continents worldwide. Activity in the MOOC was very high and learners rated the experience with more than 8 out of 10 points. After this successful first run, we agreed on opening the course for an additional self-paced run from June 2019 to January 2020 to educate even more students and young professionals from all over the world.


The iAMB has a new member: Kristina Bitter will work at the iAMB for the next years within the project iMULCH, which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund. We are looking forward to a successful collaboration and convey a warm welcome to her!

Prof. Blank experiments Copyright: Heike Lachmann

The first lecture of this year’s “Kinderuni” (a series of lectures especially for children) was held by Professor Blank. He talked about plastic waste and how it can be recycled using bacteria, which is investigated by the EU-funded project P4SB. Professor Blank even brought demonstration material: Mirko, the stinky Pseudomonas putida. You can read more (in German) here: https://www.aachener-zeitung.de/specials/kinderuni/interview-mit-lars-mathias-blank-von-der-rwth_aid-37930347 and here: https://www.aachener-zeitung.de/specials/kinderuni/in-diesem-semester-erste-vorlesung-der-kinderuni_aid-37930233


Today the iAMB could celebrate again: Henrik Cordes successfully passed his PhD exam! Henrik worked in the group of Lars Küpfer on the project HeCaToS. Congratulations to you, Henrik!


The iAMB has a new member: Melanie Filbig will work at the iAMB on her PhD project within the Fuel Science Center. We are looking forward to a successful collaboration and convey a warm welcome to her!


The G-BiB aims at awarding outstanding businessplans for the sustainable production (or partial solutions) of biobased materials, chemicals or biofuels, submitted by student teams of German or Belgian Universities (of applied sciences). Within the competition, the teams will meet in a Kick-off event on April 1st, 2019, in Düsseldorf. Workshops will be held to support the teams in writing their businessplans. Moreover, there will be national semi-finals and translational finals. The winners will be awarded with financial support for further development of their idea. Further information can be found here: https://www.bigc-initiative.eu/gbib.php


Today the iAMB could celebrate twice: Carola Berger and Ivan Schlembach, both part of Prof. Miriam Rosenbaum's research group, successfully passed their PhD exams! Congratulations!


For her outstanding work on efficient synthetic enzyme cascades for the production of valuable chiral substances, Prof. Dörte Rother will be awarded the Dechema-Award 2018. This 20,000 Euro-Award will be handed over during the DECHEMA-day in May 2019. Congratulations! Further information (in German) can be found here: http://www.fz-juelich.de/SharedDocs/Pressemitteilungen/UK/DE/2019/2019-01-17-doerte-rother-erhaelt-den-dechema-preis-2018.htmlProf. Rother teaches at the RWTH (her professorship is associated with the iAMB) and leads the research group “Synthetic enzyme cascades” at the Forschungszentrum Jülich.


On January 1st, 2019, the new Cluster of Excellence, “Fuel Science Center” (FSC) in which the iAMB participates, started. It originates from the “Tailor-Made Fuels from Biomass” (TMFB) Cluster of Excellence and aims at the development of a production process for optimized biofuels. The FSC is funded for seven years and unites more than 20 RWTH institutes and different partner institutions. More information about the FSC can be found here: http://www.rwth-aachen.de/cms/root/Forschung/Projekte/Exzellenzcluster/~bkvh/Massgeschneiderte-Kraftstoffe-aus-Biomass/?lidx=1 and here: http://www.fuelcenter.rwth-aachen.de/cms/TMFB/Die-Organisationseinheit/~sfmk/Das-Fuel-Science-Center/?lidx=1

Overview MOOC information Copyright: https://www.edx.org/course/bio-based-products-for-a-sustainable-bioeconomy.

Have you ever wondered what “bio-based” really means or what the key aspects in developing and commercializing bio-based products are? A team of experts from seven different institutions and universities from three different countries have developed a free “massive open online course (MOOC), starting on January 16, 2019 and providing 10- to 30-minute videos about bio-based products and bioeconomy, questions for knowledge review, interactive materials for in-depth study and online forums to discuss the course content with the course staff and other course participants. Also the chairs of Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology as part of the Aachen Biology and Biotechnology (ABBt) contribute to the MOOC. If you want to participate, all you need is basic biology knowledge and 5-6 hours of time every week (January 16 – March 06, 2019). More detailed information and registration can be found here: https://www.edx.org/course/bio-based-products-for-a-sustainable-bioeconomy


Today the iAMB could celebrate again: Benedikt Wynands successfully passed his PhD exam! Congratulations!


Congratulations to Eik Czarnotta! His publication on the physiologic and metabolic analysis of S. cerevisiae engineered for triterpene production in FEMS Yeast Research has been chosen as the Editor’s Choice article for Issue 18-8.Each time FEMS Yeast Research publishes an issue, the Editors are asked to select a single article that describes a significant advance in the field. This article is now freely available and featured on the journal homepage and on the FEMS Journal portal: https://doi.org/10.1093/femsyr/foy077.


Today the iAMB could celebrate again: Simone Schmitz successfully passed her PhD exam! Congratulations!

Participants of the "Applied Synthetic Biology" conference Copyright: Nick Wierckx

At this year’s "Applied Synthetic Biology in Europe” Conference in Toulouse, France, several members of the iAMB presented their newest results. Prof. Lars M. Blank, Sebastian Köbbing and Christoph Lenzen presented their research in talks, while Isabel Bator and Maike Otto had prepared posters. Isabel and Maike were furthermore allowed to promote their posters in short flash presentations.


With today’s inaugural lecture about “Synthetic enzyme cascades – how to increase economic and ecologic efficiency“, Prof. Dörte Rother started her professorship at the RWTH. We are especially happy about this, as this (Jülich) professorship is associated with the iAMB. We wish Prof. Rother a good start into the semester and a successful teaching time!


Dr. Elena Geiser participated in several certificate courses of the “Center for Professional Leadership – CPL” at the RWTH. After successful completion of the courses she now received the two certificates “Leadership” and “Teaching and Research”. Congratulations on this achievement!Further information about the CPL can be found here: http://www.rwth-aachen.de/cms/root/Forschung/Angebote-fuer-Forschende/Qualifizierung-und-Karriereberatung/~opu/Center-for-Professional-Leadership-CPL/?lidx=1

Hamed Tehrani Copyright: iAMB

At this year’s "ProcessNet-Jahrestagung und 33. DECHEMA-Jahrestagung der Biotechnologen 2018“ several members of the iAMB had the opportunity to give talks. They presented the latest research in areas such as production of itaconic acid and other platform chemicals as well as the metabolic engineering of Saccharomyces cerevisiae.


Birgitta Ebert, Eik Czarnotta und Lars M. Blank published a new paper in FEMS Yeast Research.  They physiologically characterized a squalene overproducing S. cerevisiae CEN.PK strain to elucidate the effect of cultivation conditions on the production of this central triterpenoid precursor and identified metabolic bottlenecks (DOI: 10.1093/femsyr/foy077).Birgitta Ebert, Dario Neves and Lars M. Blank also contributed to a publication in the ACS Synthetic Biology journal. They applied the retrobiosynthesis tool BNICE.ch to reconstruct >3 million novel MEK biosynthesis pathways. Methyl ethyl ketone (MEK, synonym: 2-butanone) is a commercially valuable petrochemical with an extensive application as a solvent and potential as novel fuel. Thorough pathway analysis and predictions of enzyme candidates for the catalysis of novel reaction steps was done to identify the most promising pathways. This retrobiosynthesis study demonstrates the potential of BNICE.ch for discovery, systematic evaluation, and analysis of novel pathways in synthetic biology and metabolic engineering studies (DOI:10.1021/acssynbio.8b00049). 

P4SB Copyright: Peter Winandy

The increasing plastic pollution is a well-known problem that is worked on by scientists all over the world. The iAMB takes part in this challenge within the EU-funded project “P4SB”, in which plastic degrading bacteria are created and optimized. The latest “RWTH insight” University newspaper (03/2018) features an article about this topic, the online version (only available in German) can be found here: http://www.rwth-aachen.de/go/id/dffp.

Participants of the summer school Copyright: iAMB

Today the iAMB was visited by students from the University of Tokyo. They participate in the “German Engineering, Language and Culture Summer School”, which lasts three weeks, and visit different institutes of the RWTH every year. At the iAMB, Lars M. Blank gave the students some insights into the field of metabolic engineering. 

Visit from Taiwan Copyright: iAMB

Five students from Taiwan visited the iAMB today. They are on a study trip through Germany to learn about the science and technology of biodegradable plastics. The students have won a competition from the Taiwanese Ministry of Education with a proposal on biodegradable plastic and will use their gained knowledge to help reduce the plastic pollution in Taiwan. As members of the iAMB work on biodegradation of plastics within the EU-funded project “P4SB”, the Taiwanese students spent a day at our institute.


On October 1st 2018 Dr. Nick Wierckx will leave the iAMB after 7 successful years, to lead his new research group at the Forschungszentrum Jülich, Institute for Bio- and Geosciences IBG-1, with associated professorship at the Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf. We thank Professor Wierckx for his many contributions to the success of the iAMB and wish him all the best with this new adventure!


Itaconic acid production using Ustilago maydis has been a topic of research at the iAMB for several years now. Recently, a new article was published in the journal “Fungal Biology and Biotechnology” by Elena Geiser, Hamed Tehrani, Svenja Meyer, Lars M. Blank and Nick Wierckx dealing with itaconic acid production in other Ustilaginaceae (DOI: 10.1186/s40694-018-0058-1).

Erick Bosire Maosa (2nd. right) with family and referees after the PhD exam. Copyright: Wing-Jin Li

Christoph Thiel receives the MTZ®-Award for Medical Systems Biology for his dissertation „Multiscale modeling of drug-induced toxicity in humans“ at the iAMB.  The MTZ®-Award is the national Young Talent Award for outstanding dissertations in Medical Systems Biology. The prize is awarded by the MTZ-Foundation (Monika and Thomas Zimmermann-Stiftung) in collaboration with theFederal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and Project Management Jülich (PtJ). The prize ceremony for Christoph Thiel and two awardees from the University of Freiburg, Bernhard Steiert and Helge Haß, took place during the opening of the SBMC 2018 in Bremen (https://www.mtzstiftung.de/mtz-awards/mtz-award-fuer-systembiologie/preisverleihung-2018/).

Erick Bosire Maosa (2nd. right) with family and referees after the PhD exam. Copyright: Wing-Jin Li

The Metabolic engineering conference in Munich was not only used for intensive scientific talks and discussions, but also served as venue for a meeting of the Metabolic Engineering editorial board.

Erick Bosire Maosa (2nd. right) with family and referees after the PhD exam. Copyright: Wing-Jin Li

The iAMB was present with three posters and two talks at this year’s “Metabolic Engineering 12” Conference in Munich. Dario Neves, Hamed Tehrani and Benedikt Wynands presented their research on posters, Benedikt was even awarded with a prize for his poster “Production of Tyrosine-Derived Aromatics Using Pseudomonas taiwanensis VLB120“. Congratulations!The head of the institute, Prof. Lars M. Blank, presented the EU-funded project „From Plastic Waste to Plastic Value using Pseudomonas putida Synthetic Biology“, and group leader Dr. Nick Wierckx gave a talk about „Production of aromatics with solvent-tolerant Pseudomonads – Beyond Titer, Rate and Yield“.

Andreas Schmitz Copyright: Andreas Schmitz

Today the iAMB could celebrate again: Andreas Schmitz successfully passed his PhD exam! Congratulations!

Erick Bosire Maosa (2nd. right) with family and referees after the PhD exam. Copyright: Wing-Jin Li

The yearly granted prize "FAMOS für Familie" awards bosses who are engaged in family-friendliness. The prize winners are suggested by their personnel and chosen by a jury. This year, Prof. Lars M. Blank is one of the prize winners and received 500 Euros. Congratulations!Further information can be found here: http://www.rwth-aachen.de/cms/root/Die-RWTH/Profil/Familiengerechte-Hochschule/~enq/Famos-fuer-Familie/?lidx=1

Erick Bosire Maosa (2nd. right) with family and referees after the PhD exam. Copyright: Wing-Jin Li

At the "7th European Bioremediation Conference (EBC-VII) and the 11th International Society for Environmental Biotechnology conference (ISEB 2018)", Wing-Jin Li was awarded with the second prize for best oral presentation for her talk "Engineering Pseudomonas putida for plastic monomer utilization". Congratulations!


The iAMB has a new member: Mariam Dianat will work on her PhD project at our institute for the next few years. We are looking forward to a successful collaboration and convey a warm welcome to her!


Today the iAMB could celebrate again: Kerstin Walter successfully passed her PhD exam! During her PhD work, Kerstin's research focused on compartment engineering of baker's yeast. Congratulations!


This week there were two reasons for celebration: Christoph Halbfeld and Sandra Schulte successfully passed their PhD exams! Christoph Halbfeld investigated the yeast volatilome during his PhD work, and Sandra Schulte worked on recombinant production of hyaluronan. Congratulations to both of them!


As part of the DBU-funded project Value-PP work group Blank published their first paper titled “Enzymatic quantification and length determination of polyphosphate down to a chain length of two” (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ab.2018.02.018). The paper deals with polyphosphate quantification and length determination in biological samples. 

iAMB team photo Copyright: iAMB

Sporty weekend for the iAMB: on saturday, march 17, the yearly RWTH Indoor Soccer Cup took place! Team iAMB reached an amazing fourth place and was also awarded with a price for the most creative application. Congratulations to the players for this great result!  


The genotype of a patient determines the extent of drug-induced metabolic perturbations on the endogenous cellular network of the liver. A team around Lars Kuepfer at the iAMB developed a computational workflow that links drug pharmacokinetics at the whole-body level with a cellular network of the liver. The authors used the competitive cofactor and energy demands in endogenous and drug metabolism to establish a multi-scale model for the antibiotic isoniazid. Their model quantitatively describes how isoniazid pharmacokinetics alter the intracellular liver biochemistry and the utilization of extracellular metabolites in different patient genotypes. The study outlines how a mechanistic understanding of genotype-dependent drug-induced metabolic perturbations may help to explain diverging incidence rates of toxic events in different patient subgroups. This could reduce the occurrence of toxic side effects during drug treatments in the future. Here you can find the publication: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41540-018-0048-1 


The iAMB has a new member: Conrad Müller will work on the BMBF-funded project "NemaContAnt" at our institute for the next few years. We are looking forward to a successful collaboration and convey a warm welcome to him!


Today the iAMB was visited by a television crew! A team of the local news show "Lokalzeit Aachen" wanted to report on the P4SB-project, which deals with the conversion of plastic waste to valuable bioproducts using bacteria. The resulting television clip (in German) and further information on P4SB can be found here:https://www1.wdr.de/mediathek/video/sendungen/lokalzeit-aachen/video-lokalzeit-aus-aachen-1578.html;http://www.iamb.rwth-aachen.de/cms/iamb/Forschung/Forschungsprojekte/~ixbm/P4SB/


A small student symposium was held at the iAMB today, during which five students presented the results of their theses. Congratulations to Marie Dielentheis-Frenken, Svenja Meyer, Conrad Müller, Daniel Potempa and Constantin Schedel for their successful work. We wish them all the best for the future!


The iAMB has a new member: Romualdus Nugraha Catur Utomo from Indonesia will conduct his PhD work at our institute for the next few years. We are looking forward to a successful collaboration and convey a warm welcome to him!


The iAMB has a new member: Dr. Thuy An Phan Nguyen was granted a research scholarship by the Alexander von Humboldt-foundation and will conduct research at the iAMB. We are looking forward to a successful collaboration and convey a warm welcome to her!


Thiemo Zambanini was honored for his outstanding dissertation by the Friedrich Wilhelm foundation. This foundation awards the price of the same name in order to promote research and teaching at the RWTH Aachen University. Congratulations! More information can be found here: http://www.rwth-aachen.de/cms/root/Die-RWTH/Aktuell/Pressemitteilungen/Dezember-2017/~pctu/Herausragende-Studierende-Doktoranden-/?lidx=1



Dörte Rother © Copyright: WWW.SASCHAKREKLAU.DE


Dörte Rother

External Lecturer


work Phone
+49 (0)2461 61-6772


Junior-Professor Dörte Rother was awarded with a starting grant of the European Research Council! This includes funding during the next five years with up to € 1.5 million. Jun.-Prof. Rother is leader of the group "Synthetic enzyme cascades" at the Forschungszentrum Jülich and teaches at the RWTH Aachen University in cooperation with the iAMB. Congratulations! More information about Dörte Rother can be found here: http://www.fz-juelich.de/SharedDocs/Personen/IBG/IBG-1/EN/Research_groups/biocat/rother.html?nn=1041088

iAMB team photo Copyright: iAMB

This year again a student team of the RWTH Aachen University participated in the international iGEM (international genetically engineered machine) competition. 16 students from different fields of study worked for several months on a project called "Salt vault", during which a genetically modified yeast strain was engineered to take up salt and thereby can help to remove salt from (waste) water. The highlight of this competition was the iGEM Giant Jamboree, which takes place in Hynes Convention Center in Boston, USA, every year. There the Aachener team was awarded a gold medal and two nominations, one for the "Best Environment Project" and "Best Hardware". Further information about iGEM in general and the team Aachen can be found here: http://2017.igem.org/About; http://2017.igem.org/Team:Aachen


During the ExAcT Lunch Lehre on the topic of ‘online experiments – Remote-laboratories for engineering sciences’ Dr. Elena Geiser (iAMB) received the ExAcT Qualification Basic certificate. The topic of this ExAcT Lunch Lehre arranged by the Center of Excellence in Academic Teaching (ExAcT) was a project of RWTH Aachen University, TU Dortmund and Ruhr-Universität Bochum, which aims at the establishment of Remote-laboratories to support the practical and theoretical education of students.


During the last years, Miriam Agler-Rosenbaum worked as Juniorprofessor for microbiology of defined mixed-cultures at the iAMB . From october on, she will do her research in Jena as a full professor and Lebniz-Research Group Leader. To celebrate the time together the institute had a farewell-BBQ. The iAMB wishes all the best for Miriam´s future research.


The opening of the FERM-FACTORY was celebrated at the iAMB. The new fermentation-lab is aiming at the optimization of fermentation processes by connecting research and industrial partners. The automatization and standardization of processes will lead to higher compatibility, robustness and cost-efficiency and thereby optimized processes. Furthermore, the Ferm-Lab will support the continuing education of all Lab-employees.


During the last months many students worked on their theses at our institute. We congratulate Oliver Brumhard, Leonie Op de Hipt, Lisanne Jente, Seabstian Kruth, Juny Lettau, Priscila Munoz, Paul Niehoff, Glory Palakunnel, Nicole Patenburg, Joao Romba, Carolin Schulte, Max Weiter and Marc Werther on successfully completing the bachelor/master degree.

iAMB team photo Copyright: iAMB

Many iAMB members participated in this year's Lousberglauf. The runners were joined by many spectators. Being cheered by the colleagues, all participants had much fun and succesfully completed the distance in nearly minimum time.


Covestro achieves bio-based aniline production processThe materials company Covestro has announced a breakthrough in the production of bio-based aniline. We were happy to contribute a small part to this important effort!Covestro press releaseJ. Küpper, J. Dickler, M. Biggel, S. Behnken, G Jaeger, N. Wierckx§, L.M. Blank. 2015. Metabolic engineering of Pseudomonas putida KT2440 to produce anthranilate from glucose. Front. Microbiol.6:1310. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2015.01310

Tobias Alter with his 'Future-Award' by the DECHEMA. Copyright: DECHEMA

The 'Future-Award' 2017 was granted to Tobias Alter, for his Master Thesis at the iAMB with Birgitta Ebert and Lars Blank. Using computer simulations Tobias Alter examined strategies of metabolic manipulation to increase production capacities at normal growth rates of micro-organisms. For example, he identified gene knockout candidates in the Isoleucine biosynthesis pathway to increase 2-Butanon production in Pseudomonas putida KT2440.

iAMB team photo Copyright: iAMB

This year's iAMB soccer team consisting of Hamed, Birthe, Vera, Benedikt, Jonas, Tobias, Mathias, Conrad, Christian and Dario successfully participated in the RWTH soccer tournament. In the group stage the 3rd place was reached.

Erick Bosire Maosa (2nd. right) with family and referees after the PhD exam. Copyright: Bosire-Maosa

Erick Bosire Maosa successfully finished his PhD project. In the group of Miriam Rosenbaum at the iAMB he conducted his research on the topic of "Carbon source driven synergistic virulence factors generation by Pseudomonas aeruginosa, implications for application in bioelectrochemical systems." We wish all the best for the future!

The Futsal-Team of iAMB Copyright: Ronny Uhlig

The RWTH Futsal competition took now place again with participation of a iAMB-team. Following the enjoyable and enthusiastic competition in the last year, the team leapt from the last place to position four! We are looking forward to the next sport event.

price winning poster

The poster contribution "Integrated continuous reactive extraction concept for the production of itaconic acid including in-situ application" by the authors J. Gorden, E. Geiser, N Wierckx, L.M. Blank, T. Zeiner and C. Brandenbusch received the "Best Poster Award" of the annual meeting Extraction and Adsorption 2017 in Cologne.

Cover Image of the AEM Journal

Recently published article: Geiser E, Reindl M, Blank LM, Feldbrügge M, Wierckx N, Schipper K. 2016. Activating intrinsic carbohydrate-active enzymes of the smut fungus Ustilago maydis for the degradation of plant cell wall components. Appl Environ Microbiol 82:5174–5185. doi:10.1128/AEM.00713-16 was featured in the cover image.


A new visiting scientist has decided to pursue his studies at the iAMB. Hao Guo arrived in June and will work on his PhD, in which he will optimize Triterpene production in bakers yeast. He was awarded with his Master's thesis from Shandong University in Jinan and is now financed by a China Goverment Scholarship. We are happy about his decision and look forward to a fruitful collaboration.

Dr. Zobel (3. left) after the examination with the referees. Copyright: iAMB

Sebastian Zobel defended his PhD. His research In the iAMB with Lars Blank was to manipulate the Redox-metabolism and NADH-regeneration rate in Pseudomonas putida KT2440. A particular successful strategy is a co-feed of glucose and formate which yielded a four-times higher NADH turnover. He developed tools to reduce heterogeneity in gene expression.We wish all the best for the future!

Die Conference participants of the iAMB posing in front of Shimeji castle. Copyright: iAMB

For five days almost 500 scientist from all over the world met in Kobe, Japan to discuss the recent achievements in the field of metabolic engineering. The interested participants were informed by posters about ongoing research and exciting talks held by the top researchers. Apart from these mental pleasures excellent food and entertainment was provided by the Japanese organization team with a final visit to Shimeji castle. We are looking forward to the next metabolic engineering conference, which will be held in Germany

Participants of the TTRAFFIC-Kickoff meeting in Aachen Copyright: RWTH

Wednesday May 25th the kickoff meeting of the TTRAFFIC project (Toxicity and Transport for Fungal production of Industrial Compounds) took place here in Aachen. Part of the European ERA-IB2 framework, the project involves researchers from Germany, the Netherlands, Turkey, Portugal, Austria, and Italy. Research revolves around the cellular compartments of fungi and the transport of metabolites between these compartments, in the context of the production of itaconic acid. The project is coordinated by Dr. Nick Wierckx of the iAMB. We thank all partners for coming to Aachen and look forward to a very interesting project!


The iAMB-Team has a new member: Dr. Hendrik Ballerstedt. Hendrik contributes scientifically to the projekt P4SB. Wellcome Hendrik.


Christoph Thiel was recently awarded with the Ebert-Price of the American Pharmaceutical Association for his works on PBPK models. In the paper recently published in ‘Archives of Toxicology’, he and his collaborators used physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) modeling to develop and integrative multiscale approach called PICD (PBPK-based in vivo contextualization of in vitro toxicity data). PICD allows the quantitative prediction of in vivo drug response over time by integrating multiple levels of biological organization. PICD thus provides a generic platform to investigate drug-induced toxicity at a patient level.Thiel C, Cordes H, Conde I, Castell JV, Blank LM & Kuepfer L (2016) Model-based contextualization of in vitro toxicity data quantitatively predicts in vivo drug response in patients. Arch. Toxicol.http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00204-016-1723-x

Sudents and lecturers in front of the sewage treatment plant. Copyright: RWTH

The exciting excursion to a sewage treatment plant in Aachen Soers in the context of the lecture 'Industrial Microbiology', was now repeated the fourth time. 

iAMB Futsal Team Copyright: RWTH

The iAMB­Sports Team participated with lots of fun at the Futsal­competition of the RWTH and achieved a remarkable 20th position. The iAMB is fit and will also engage in future challenges.

Christoph Thiel and APhA President Lawrence Brown at the Ebert-Price ceremony. Copyright: American Pharmacist Association

Christoph Thiel, PhD student in the workgroup of Dr. Lars Kuepfer at the iAMB, has been awarded with the 2016 Ebert Prize. Thiel was selected in recognition of his paper, "A systematic evaluation of the use of physiologically based pharmacokinetic modeling for cross-species extrapolation," published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. https://www.pharmacist.com/ebert-prize


Finally! The new iAMB web site went online.  :-)


Dr. Sandra Hartmann was awarded a poster prize in the category Biotechnology at the 12th conference of the VAAM special group Molecular Biology of Fungi. Her poster entitled “Online in vivo analysis of dynamic changes in the NAD+/NADH balance of Ustilago maydis”, describes our work in the BioSC project ROXENSE in collaboration with the groups of Prof. Markus Schwarzländer and Prof. Jochen Büchs.Congratulations Sandra!


The iAMB-Team has a new member: Christian Carl Blesken. Carl is workingin the FNR-funded project KERoSyn.Wellcome Carl!


The Küpfer-team has used a computational modeling approach to analyze and compare the toxic effects of fifteen different drugs on the liver, published now in PLOS Computational Biology.Drugs prescribed for various medical conditions can cause harmful liver side effects. Lab experiments with liver cells can help reveal the underlying molecular mechanisms by which these drugs cause liver damage, which could inform better prevention and treatment efforts. However, lab experiments alone cannot reliably predict actual effects in living patients.The scientists developed whole-body models to simulate the fate of each drug after ingestion and validated the models using experimental data from scientific literature. These models were then coupled with lab data to predict each drug's effects on the liver at patient level. The researchers found that the drugs fell into different groups that caused similar responses, including which genes would be transcribed in response to toxic doses.While further validation is required, the method has the potential to lead to faster diagnosis of toxic liver side effects in patients. It could help reveal which gene transcripts could serve as early signs of toxicity and which drug combinations might be particularly dangerous, for both new and existing drugs."Consistently applied to the design of clinical development programs, the approach presented has the potential to early identify medical and economic risks of new drugs," says study co-author Lars Kuepfer.