Synthetic enzyme cascades


We build complex products from renewable raw materials using synthetic enzyme cascades. For this purpose, we combine - in a modular and flexible way - enzymes that do not occur together in nature. Rational enzyme engineering, reaction optimization and process design are used to obtain economically and ecologically efficient cascades.

An interdisciplinary team of (bio)chemists, biologists and engineers develops these multi-enzyme catalyzed processes with high step and atom efficiency while avoiding (toxic) by-products.

Starting from low-cost material, especially high-value (optically active) fine chemicals, often with direct pharmaceutical application, but also building blocks for chemicals or biofuels are produced. So far, product platforms of 2-hydroxyketones, amines, amino alcohols, diols and tetrahydroisoquinolines (the latter showing e.g. great potential as antibiotics and anticancer drugs) have been established. Some processes are successfully scaled up with collaborative partners from industry.

Research Topics

Current and future research targets are

  1. the use of continuous systems and unconventional media to increase space-time-yields > read more
  2. combining enzymes, chemical catalysts and microbial cell factories to generate value from renewable resources > read more
  3. regulation of enzyme activities in cascades using light > read more
  4. data management in biocatalysis using FAIR principles > read more

Research activities take place at Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH while teaching activities are conducted at RWTH Aachen University (Aachen Biology and Biotechnology) in the Teaching- and Research Area Synthetic Enzyme Cascades.


Prof. Dr. Dörte Rother


Building 15.4 / Room 102

+49 2461/61-6772

Team `Synthetic enzyme cascades´



selected press releases & videos

Bioeconomy Blog. Im Takt der Temperatur: das Enzym Orchester I Falling Walls Rheinland

Mit Biotech die Welt retten. Geht das? Faktencheck Folge 1
Online-Wissensmagazin zur Bio-Innovation
Konzept: Futurium Berlin | Produktion: Februar Film | Moderation: Barbara Scherle

Video "MyScience". RWTH Aachen University: Prof. Dörte Rother

DECHEMA Price 2019. Press release

Die Meisterin der Enzyme. Portrait in: Helmholtz Perspektiven. 01/2019: 40-42

10 Köpfe für unsere Zukunft – Nachwuchsforscher aus NRW. Bild online. 18.10.2017.

Publications in peer-reviewed journals

Last Modified: 30.08.2023