A Foundation for Synthetic Biology in Europe


EMERGENCE (FP6) cooperates intimately with TARPOL (FP7) on all issues of Synthetic Biology. For more information on TARPOL click here

To all users of  Synthetic Biology:

Do you want to organize a SB-relevant workshop and would like to get support from EMERGENCE, then click here.

Contact  Imprint


Sven Panke


From 1989 on, Sven Panke studied Biotechnology at the Technical University in Braunschweig.
For his PhD thesis, he moved in 1995 to the Institute of Biotechnology at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. He joined the group of Prof. Witholt and worked on the production of fine chemicals with recombinant bacteria. The investigation of the molecular biology of styrene degradation led him via the construction of recombinant production strains to the pilot scale production of enantiopure styrene oxide in two-liquid phase fermentations and the ETH medal for exceptional PhD theses.
From there, he went in 1999 to The Netherlands in order to utilize his experience in the research department of the Dutch-based and globally operating chemical company DSM. One of its major areas of activity is the custom manufacturing of intermediates for the pharmaceutical and agrochemical industry, where biocatalysis turns out to be one of the major success factors of a modern fine chemicals business. Sven spent 2 years on the development of novel biocatalytic processes for the production of enantiopure compounds before he turned his attention back to academia.
Starting on October 1st 2001, he became an Assistant Professor for Bioprocess Engineering at the Institute of Process Engineering of the prestigious Swiss "ETH", where he works on new and generic solutions for the integrated manufacturing of fine chemicals and biopharmaceuticals. Since November 2007, Sven is an Associate Professor at the Bioprocess Laboratory at the ETH Zurich.

Jörg Stelling


Jörg Stelling is an Associate Professor for Bioinformatics in the Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Basel since May 2008.
He was born 1969 in Hildesheim (Germany). From 1989 to 1996 he studied Biotechnology at the Technical University of Braunschweig, with an intermediary stay at the Ecole Normal Superieure d'Agronomie Montpellier. By the end of 1996, he started as a PhD student at the Systems Dynamics and Control group of the University of Stuttgart, before becoming one of the first employees of the newly founded Max Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems, Magdeburg. There, Jörg Stelling was significantly involved in establishing the Department for Systems Biology. In that field he received his PhD in 2004 from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Stuttgart; his PhD thesis devised new methods for the analysis of robustness in complex biological networks. In February 2005, Jörg became an Assistant Professor for Bioinformatics at the ETH in Zurich.
His current research interests are focused on the analysis and synthesis of biological networks using - and further developing - methods from systems theory and computer science. The highly interdisciplinary character of the research projects is reflected by an (international) network of collaborators from different disciplines.

Frauke Greve

Since January 2007, Frauke Greve is employed as a Postdoc at the Bioprocess Laboratory of Prof. Sven Panke at the ETH Zurich, Switzerland. She is responsible for the coordination of the EU-NEST funded project ‘EMERGENCE’.
From 1996 – 2002, Frauke studied Electrical Engineering at the University of Bremen, Germany, and at the ETH Zurich, Switzerland, with an intermediate stay at the University of Plymouth, UK (exchange program under Erasmus) and at the University of Waterloo, Canada (diploma thesis). From 2002, Frauke was doing her PhD thesis in the Physics Electronics Laboratory of Prof. Andreas Hierlemann and Prof. Henry Baltes at the ETH Zurich. She finished her thesis entitled ‘Micromachined platforms for manipulating and recording from cells’ in March 2006.
Her main research interests are in Microsystems Technologies and Microfluidics.

Victor de Lorenzo


Victor De Lorenzo is Research-Professor at Spain’s National Centre of Biotechnology (CNB).
Professor De Lorenzo was pre-doctoral fellow at the Enzymology and Molecular Pathology Institute of this centre (1980-1983) and post-doctoral fellow at: the Molecular Genetics Unit of the Institut Pasteur in Paris (1984); NIH-John Fogarty at the University of Berkeley’s Department of Biochemistry (1984-87); long-distance fellow at the University of Geneva’s Department of Medical Biochemistry (University Medical Centre); and at the Department of Microbiology of the Federal Institute de Biotechnology (GBF) (1988-1989).
He has been (permanent) scientific collaborator at the Centre of Biological Research in Madrid (1990-1995) as well as researcher and under director of CNB (1997-1998).
Member of the editorial board of publications such as The Journal of Bacteriology, Environmental Microbiology, FEMS Microbiology Ecology, Microbiology, and Biodegradation, Professor De Lorenzo also participates as member of the European Molecular Biology Organization, the European Environmental Research Organization, at the OECD Ad hoc Committee on Biotechnology for Environmental Protection; and as national delegate at the Standing Committee for Life and Environmental Sciences (LESC) of the European Science Foundation. He has chaired (2001-2004) the European Life Sciences Group, advisory to the Research Commissioner of the European Union.
Some research interests of Professor De Lorenzo are: molecular microbiology and biotechnology; biodegradation of xenobiotic components; genetic tools of Gram-negative bacteria for environmental liberation; metals in prokaryotic systems; genetic expression in Gram-negative bacteria; catabolic pathways regulation.

Alfonso Valencia

Alfonso Valencia obtained his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 1981 (Instituto de de Investigaciones Biomédicas - CSIC / Department of Biochemistry, Fac. Medicine U. Autónoma Madrid) for work in the area of Biophysics and protein modeling. From 1988-1994 Alfonso Valencia was a postdoctoral fellow and Visitor Scientist in the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (Heidelberg) working in the protein design group leaded by Dr. Chris Sander. His postdoctoral work was dedicated to the development of methods for protein structure prediction based on the exploration of correlations in multiple sequence alignments (correlated mutation analysis), and for function prediction based on the differential comparison of sequence conservation in protein families (sequencespace method). His work also included the exploration of the sequence / structure space in the ras-p21 and actin-hsc70-FtsA protein families. During this time they also developed was can be considered the first automatic genome annotation method (Genequiz).
In 1994 he returned to Spain to form his own group at the Spanish National Biotechnology Centre (CNB-CSIC) to work on the computational analysis of protein families. At that time, the group developed in depth collaborations with experimental groups applying protein modeling and genome analysis techniques to families such as FtsA. In 1998 the group developed the first application of text mining techniques in the area of molecular biology, a work that continued with the publication in 2002 of the first application of text mining to the extraction of protein interactions, that constitutes the basis for the much of the current development in the area of biological text mining.
The group is well known in the field by its activity as assessor in the protein structure competition (CASP) and by being the organizer of the main text mining competition (Biocreative)..
In 2004 Alfonso Valencia was elected as director of the Spanish Bioinformatics Institute (INB) organized by the Genome Spain foundation. The INB is a large collaborative programme in which 10 groups provide the bioinformatics infrastructure to support the National genomics projects. The INB will continue its activity until 2009 after the successful evaluation of its activity during the period (2004-06).
In 2006, Valencia moved to the Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncológicas (CNIO) CNIO as director of the Structural Biology and Biocomputing Programme. His mission as director of the CNIO's programme is to organize a combined computational and structural approach to study the molecular basis of cancer processes, building on the possibilities offered by current high-throughput genomics approaches, and collaborating with the other CNIO's groups.
Alfonso Valencia is a CSIC Research Professor and EMBO member since 2005. He is a founder, former Vice-President and member of the board of International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB). He has been chair of the Systems Biology and/or Text Mining tracks of the main Computational Biology Annual Conference (ISMB) since 2003. He is also founder of the organization behind the European Conference of Computational Biology for which he co-organized the European annual conference in 2005. He was member of the steering committee of the ESF programme on •”Functional Genomics” (2000-2005) and since 2006 he is co-director of the new “Frontiers of Functional Genomics” five-years ESF program. He serves in the EMBL and BioZemtrum Scientific Advisory Committees. Alfonso Valencia is co-Executive Editor of "Bioinformatics" published by Oxford University Press, that is the main journal in the field. Among many other grants it is worth mentioning the participation of the group in the three main VI Framework Programme European Networks in Bioinformatics / Computational Biology (Biosapiens, EMBRACE and ENFIN).
Alfonso Valencia published his first paper in Computational Biology in 1986, since them he has published more than 160 papers (H factor 40) and more than 20 invited reviews and book chapters.

Vitor Martins dos Santos

Martins dos Santos1

Nicolas Szita

Nicolas Szita_crop

Ralf Wagner

Ralf Wagner_crop

Marcus Graf

Marcus Graf_crop

Luis Serrano

Luis Serrano

Jim Haseloff

Alfonso Jaramillo


Dr. Dipl- Ing. Vítor Martins dos Santos graduated in Food Engineering in 1992 at the College of Biotechnology, Oporto, Portugal and earned a doctorate on Environmental Bioprocess Engineering at the Wageningen University, The Netherlands. He did a post-doc at the Dept. of Molecular Biology of the Spanish Scientific Research Council (CSIC) in Granada, Spain and moved subsequently to the Division of Microbiology of the National Centre for Biotechnology Research (GBF), now named Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig, Germany. He is now heading the Systems and Synthetic Biology Research Group at the HZI, where he runs several national and European multidisciplinary projects on the understanding and exploitation of microbial behaviour for industrially and medically relevant applications. Among other, he is the coordinator of the ERA-NET project PSYSMO, BMBF project OLIGO and the FP6 NEST-Pathfinder project PROBACTYS on Synthetic Biology.

Dr Nicolas Szita joined the Department of Biochemical Engineering in February 2007 as a Senior Lecturer.
Nicolas has come from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) where he was an Associate Professor in the Biochemical Microreactors Group at the Department of Micro and Nanotechnology.
Nicolas did both his Diploma Degree in Mechanical Engineering and his Doctorate Degree in Microtechnology at ETH Zurich in the Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering. For his doctorate he designed and realized a micromachined pipetting device for the rapid handling of (sub)microlitre volumes in collaboration with Roche Diagnostics Division and Hamilton Bonaduz, Switzerland. In 2001, he joined Klavs Jensen in the Department of Chemical Engineering at MIT, where he was working on miniaturized bioreactors in collaboration with DuPont. He was also responsible for the evaluation and definition of a Laser Micromachining System. His research interests are in Bioprocess Microfluidics.

Prof. Dr. Ralf Wagner is GENEART’s founder, CEO and chief scientific officer. He was amongst the first scientists to recognize the value of gene design and synthesis for different areas of biotechnology including synthetic biology. He consequently translated basic research tools into scalable technologies and a quickly emerging business. Within GENEART his responsibilities comprise coordination of all R&D activities, business development and strategic management. Besides his activities within GENEART, he is Univ.-Professor and head of the Molecular Microbiology and Gene Therapy Unit at the University of Regensburg. He is Inventor and Co-Inventor of several patents and patent applications and author of numerous scientific peer review publications. He further acts as advisor and reviewer for the German research association, the German Ministry of Health and Education, the European Commission, the Wellcome Trust Foundation as well as addition research institutions and foundations. Prof. Wagner comes with an excellent world wide research network comprising various public research institutions as well as biotech, chemical and pharmaceutical companies.

Dr Marcus Graf is co-founder of GENEART and is Manager Operations and Head of Business Unit Gene Synthesis.
He has over 10 years of expertise in the field of gene optimisation, including different host expression systems ranging from procaryotes, different yeasts and mammalian cell culture to plants and transgenic animals. Marcus gained a PhD through studies at the Universities of Edinburgh, UK and Regensburg, Germany.

Luis Serrano has participated in nine EU Biotech projects and two EU networks. he has published over 200 scientific papers, related to protein design, protein folding, systems biology and on the development of new algorithms.
He has carried out his PhD and a postdoctoral fellowship in cell biology and, therefore, constitutes an ideal interface between wet and dry biology. His group is a leader in the field of protein design. His approach to this field has been to combine the development of software for automatic protein design and the experimental validation and testing of the predictions. Prof. Serrano has also a strong commitment to technology transfer. He is Scientific founder of three companies: Cellzome (Germany), EnVivo-Pharmaceutical (USA) and Diverdrugs (Spain). His group has developed the Fold-X software to do automatic protein design.
Currently this group is expanding this software to include DNA and RNA as well as introduce backbone move.


B.Sc., Botany and Biochemistry Major, University of Adelaide.


B.Sc. (Honours) 1st. Class, Biochemistry, University of Adelaide. Thesis: "Replication of cucumber mosaic virus. Advisor: Dr. Robert Symons.


Postgraduate Student, Department of Biochemistry, University of Adelaide. 
Thesis: "Structure of viroids and virusoids." Advisor: Dr. Robert Symons.


CSIRO and EMBO Postdoctoral Fellowships, Division of Structural Studies, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, England. Laboratory of Dr. David Zimmern.


CSIRO and Queen Elizabeth II Postdoctoral Fellowships, CSIRO Division of Plant Industry, Canberra, Australia. Laboratory of Dr. Wayne Gerlach.


Harvard Research Fellow, Department of Molecular Biology, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA. Laboratory of Dr. Howard Goodman.


Scientific Consultant, Gene Shears Pty. Ltd.


Group Leader, Genome Studies Section and Division of Cell Biology, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, England.


Sainsbury Research Fellow and Lecturer, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England.


Co-organiser, University of Cambridge entries in the iGEM competition in Synthetic Biology


Editor-in-Chief, IET Synthetic Biology journal.

Prof. Alfonso Jaramillo, received a B.Sc., a M.Sc. and a Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics from the University of Barcelona (1991), Autonomous University of Barcelona (1993) and University of Valencia (1999) respectively.
He has worked as an engineer specialized in structural analysis at CESCA Barcelona (1993-1994). He conducted postdoctoral research in computational biology at the Universite Libre de Bruxelles (1999-2002, Service de Conformation de Macromolécules Biologiques et de Bioinformatique, Prof. Wodak), Universite Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg (2002, Laboratoire de Chimie Biophysique, Prof. Karplus) and Harvard University (2003, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Prof. Karplus). In September 2003 he joined the biochemistry  faculty  of  the  Ecole Polytechnique as Maitre de Conferences, becoming tenured in 2005. He co-developed the DESIGNER software for computational protein design, as well as other computational biology tools for use in structural and systems biology. His teaching responsibilities at the Ecole Polytechnique include the bioinformatics Master (together with Prof. Simonson). His group consists on two PhD students and two postdoctoral fellows. He is coordinator of the EU FP6-NEST synthetic biology consortium (2M euros EC contribution) on biohydrogen production from solar energy using a synthetic biology approach. He has also been awarded the MIT-France Seed fund 2006-2007 to his collaborative project with Prof. Prather (MIT, USA) for the design of a glucaric acid production pathway in E. Coli. He has published 15 refereed articles and conference proceedings. He is member of the editorial board of the IET Synthetic Biology journal. His research interests involve several aspects of synthetic biology, including protein and enzyme design, metabolic engineering and systems biology (by incorporating various high-throughput-omic data into a modelisation framework).

[Home] [Objectives] [Partner] [The Team] [Newsletter] [News & Links] [Open Positions] [Intranet] [Imprint] [Meetings]
!!! Dieses Dokument stammt aus dem ETH Web-Archiv und wird nicht mehr gepflegt !!!
!!! This document is stored in the ETH Web archive and is no longer maintained !!!