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Posted: Nov 10, 2011
ERC Advanced Grant for molecule "cut and paste" project
(Nanowerk News) One of the Advanced Grants awarded by the European Research Council (ERC) in its latest funding round has gone to Professor Herrmann Gaub, Spokesman of the Center for NanoScience (CeNS) at LMU Munich for his research project on "Designer Cellulosomes by Single Molecule Cut & Paste".
The Award is worth approximately 2.5 million Euros over a period of five years. Advanced Grants allow exceptional established researchers to pursue ground-breaking, high-risk projects that open new directions in their respective research fields or other domains.
Toy model representation of a section of the proposed cellulosome chip.
Biofuel from wood and waste will be a substantial share of our future energy mix. The hydrocarbons in these materials are tightly packed by lignin, and conversion of lignocellulose to fermentable polysaccharides is the current bottleneck. Up to now, only cellulosomes, the multi-enzyme organelles of bacteria, and certain fungi are capable of breaking down the lignocellulose complexes under ambient conditions; industrial conversion requires harsh and environmentally questionable steps.
Prof. Gaub's research project will focus on the use of single molecule cut and paste technology to assemble designer cellulosomes and combine enzymes from different species with nanocatalysts. The ultimate goal of the project is to identify the most productive de novo arrangement of natural and man-made constituents, which then may be adapted for large-scale production.