Synthetic biology and metabolic engineering of formate assimilation, carbon fixation and alternative photorespiration pathways.
Nico Claassens (1989) studied Environmental Sciences and Biotechnology at Wageningen University, The Netherlands, from which he obtained his BSc (2010, cum laude) and MSc (2012). During his MSc study he performed research on Methanogenic Microbial Electrolysis Cells in the sub-department of Environmental Technology, Wageningen University. In 2012, he spent 5 months at the Department of Biotechnology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim.
Nico obtained his PhD (2017) from Wageningen University at the Laboratory of Microbiology, under supervision of Prof. John van der Oost and Prof. Willem de Vos in a collaboration with the Laboratory of Systems and Synthetic Biology. His work focussed on taking steps towards more sustainable, efficient conversion of light, and also CO2 into chemicals and fuels by microorganisms. His research included the genetic engineering of rhodopsin photosystems and improved production of various other membrane proteins in Escherichia coli.
In 2017 Nico was awarded a Rubicon grant from the Dutch Organization of Scientific Research (NWO) for his postdoctoral studies in the Synthetic and System Metabolism group of Dr. Arren Bar-Even, Max Plank Institute Potsdam-Golm. Here he is investigating the reprogramming of metabolic pathways of a promising chemoautotrophic bacterium for biotechnology. The aim is to introduce more energy efficient, synthetic pathways to fix CO2 and assimilate formate. This may result in novel, more sustainable bacterial platforms for chemical production.