Max Planck Institute for terrestrial Microbiology, Marburg, Germany
Keynote Speaker for MaxSynBio
Tobias J. Erb is Director at the Max-Planck-Institute for terrestrial Microbiology in Marburg (D). Tobias Erb studied Chemistry and Biology at the University of Freiburg (D) and the Ohio State University (US). After stays at the University of Illinois (US) and ETH Zürich (CH) he relocated to the Max Planck Institute in Marburg, where he was promoted to Director in 2017. Research in his lab centers on the discovery, function and engineering of novel CO2 converting enzymes and their use in engineered and artificial photosynthesis, as well as the bottom-up design of synthetic chloroplasts and cells.
Keynote Presentation: Light-powered CO2 fixation in a chloroplast mimic with natural and synthetic parts
Abstract: Nature integrate complex biosynthetic and energy-converting tasks within compartments such as chloroplasts and mitochondria. Chloroplasts convert light energy into chemical energy, driving the fixation of carbon dioxide (CO2). I will present, how we combined microfluidics and synthetic biochemistry to develop a mimic of a chloroplast by encapsulating and operating photosynthetic membranes in cell-sized droplets. I will show, how these droplets can be energized by light to power individual enzymes as well as complex reaction cascades, and further demonstrate how the activity of these droplets can be controlled in space and time. Finally, I will showcase the capability of our approach by integrating a synthetic network for the production of complex molecules from CO2 to create an artificial photosynthetic system that interfaces the natural and synthetic biological world.