Division for Research Development
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SA Research Chair in Genetic Tailoring of Biopolymers

​The focus of this Chair is on gene discovery for the biosynthesis of polymers and the use of those genes in different biological expression systems to synthesise novel biomaterials for all kinds of industrial applications. In addition to optimising biopolymer synthesis through reverse genetics in crops to make cell wall or starch more suitable as advanced bio-materials or as substrates for bio-ethanol production, the group also seeks to produce novel polysaccharides with diverse (including pharmaceutical) applications from simple disaccharides. Furthermore, the group aims to establish structure-function relatio​nships between genes, respective encoded enzymes and the resulting biopolymer in biofilms which are causing human disease such as periodontitis or cardiovascular diseases. The aim is to develop diagnostic or therapeutic tools based on functional screening and metagenomic bacterial libraries and in-depth characterisation of biopolymer producing enzymes encoded by isolated genes.​

Prof Jens Kossmann