Wolfgang Wiechert

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Wiechert

Head of Systems Biotechnology (IBG-1)


Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH
52428 Jülich

Institute of Bio- and Geosciences (IBG)

Biotechnology (IBG-1)

Building 15.4 / Room 114

About me

Biotechnology is a key discipline of the 21st century. The synthetic biology toolbox is increasingly uti­lized for human benefit and contributes to the development of sustainable industrial production processes. At the same time, biotechnology is a highly complex research field in which scientists of different disciplines must cooperate to achieve new insights and technical innovations. As a systems scientist I am fascinated by the challenge of understanding complex living systems as a whole, to manipulate them and, finally, to make technical use of them. In this context, my role is to make complexity understandable, to establish an interdisciplinary research culture, to help young scientists seeing the bigger picture and to find the most productive way from a wealth of possibilities. There are only few research fields in which basic research and application lie so close to each other. Revolutionary developments take place frequently and open completely new perspectives. If we want to shape a highly dynamic future we must think and act dynamically.

My main field of work is applied systems bio(techno)logy with a focus on quantitative methods in microbiology and bioprocess development. Characteristic for my research is a close integration of experimental and computational work within multidisciplinary projects. I deal with quantitative metabolomics, fluxomics and proteomics including the required model-based methods. In the context of systems biology approaches, multi-omics data sets are integrated into mathematical models of varying detail in order to achieve a mechanistic understanding of production-relevant microorganisms used in biotechnology. More recently, this work has been complemented by the development of microfluidic methods for the study of single cells, downscaling methods for higher-throughput process development, and systems approaches for biotechnological transformations in the context of a sustainable bioeconomy.

Miniaturization, automation and digitization in the bioprocess laboratory (i.e. biofoundries) is a key for the biotech industry of the future. This includes in-the-loop data analytics (including AI) for experimental design, parameter estimation and process optimization in biotechnological systems. The aforementioned work now culminates in highly automated workflows for the development and improvement of industrial biotechnological production processes supported by an iterative knowledge acquisition process, which requires the close cooperation of all working groups at IBG-1. Clearly, all these development are tested with various process examples from industrial practice, which are investigated, developed and improved together with industrial partners

Last Modified: 27.09.2022