Tag Archives: Croda

13 New CBMNet Projects Funded

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13 New CBMNet Projects Funded

We are pleased to announce that we have recently funded 13 new projects in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy. 

Proof-of-Concept Projects

  • Dr Neil Dixon, University of Manchester, CPI and Oxford Biotrans – Identification of Membrane Transporters of Lignin monomers
  • Professor David James, University of Sheffield and UCB Pharma – Engineering Exosome Production by CHO Cells
  • Professor Doug Kell, University of Manchester and Croda – A potent synthetic biology strategy for increasing transporter-mediated terpenoid efflux from E. coli

Business Interaction Vouchers

  • Dr Mark Shepherd, University of Kent and FujiFilm – Engineering E. coli for enhanced production of antibody fragments
  • Dr Mark Shepherd, University of Kent and FujiFilm – Lowering the disulphide load in the periplasm of E. coli cell factories
  • Dr Teuta Pilizota, University of Edinburgh and FujiFilm – Replacing osmotic downshocks with upshocks for periplasmic protein extraction

Vacation scholarships

  • Dr Frans Maathuis, University of York – The role of HMA and COPT proteins in trans membrane movement of palladium 
  • Professor Colin Robinson, University of Kent – An enhanced platform for translocation of biotherapeutics to the E. coli periplasm
  • Dr Alan Goddard, University of Lincoln – Modelling of multifactorial solvent stress on membranes
  • Dr Wuge Briscoe, University of Bristol – Bacterial mimicking liposomes
  • Dr Boyan Bonev, University of Nottingham – Membrane stability models in the presence of methacrylate esters
  • Dr Sam Miller, University of Aberdeen – Investigating the role of periplasmic and transmembrane domains of mechanosensitive channels in E.coli membrane integrity
  • Dr Claudio Avignone-Rossa, University of Surrey – Construction of glucose transporter mutants of Clostridium beijerinckii

You can view all our projects funded to date here and read our success stories here.

New management board members for CBMNet

Dr Samantha Miller 150px (2)     lars     Dr-Ian-Hodgson_dnm_speaker     OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

aberdeen uni               


From January 1st 2016, we are pleased to announce the the following will be joining our management board:

  • Dr Sam Miller (University of Aberdeen)

Sam is currently a lecturer in the School of Medical Sciences. Her research career is focussed on structure and function relationships in two sets of ion channels in Escherichia coli involved in bacterial survival of changes in their environments.

  • Dr Lars Jeuken (University of Leeds)

Lars is a Reader in Biophysics in the Faculty of Biological Sciences. He researches redox-active membrane proteins and biological electron transfer, with the aim of controlling the interaction between biological macromolecules and inorganic ‘solid’ surfaces.

  • Ian Hodgson (FujiFilm Diosynth Biotechnologies)

Ian is the Head of Molecular Biology, R & D at FujiFilm Diosynth Biotechnologies, based in Billingham. He has over 26 years of experience in molecular biology and in particular the design, construction and testing of protein expression vectors for biopharmaceutical production (eukaryotic and prokaryotic).

  • Dr Doug Cossar (Croda Europe Ltd)

Doug took up his present position at Croda Europe Ltd, to manage the Biotechnology Research Group in Widnes. His role is to develop route to manufacture for biotechnology-derived speciality chemicals for delivery across an array of market sectors, from Health Care (eg excipients for drug formulation or speciality lipids) to the Oil Field (surface-active materials).


The CBMNet Management Board oversees the strategic goals of the network; delivery and dissemination of innovative approaches relevant to remit; promotion of academic-industrial interactions; processes for inviting, assessing and allocating Proof-of-Concept funding; reviewing strategic goals and network events.

New CBMNet funded projects awarded

We are pleased to announce that we have awarded two new Proof of Concept awards and one Business Interaction Voucher.

The University of Nottingham will be working with Croda Europe on the project ‘Solid state NMR analysis of lipid/surfactant interactions’, funded through a CBMNet Business Interaction Voucher.

Surfactants, including soaps, are compounds, the molecules of which possess a dual affinity for water, both attracting and repelling it. They disrupt lipidic structures, such as the membranes of bacteria and higher organisms alike. In this proposal, we aim to investigate the effect of bioproduced industrial surfactants on lipid bilayers, membrane models, to understand the mechanisms of surfactant function, to understand and optimise stability of
bioproduction and to gain insights into cellular stability in the presence of these surfactants. To achieve this, we will use advanced analytical methods, including solid state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), to investigate the stability of lipid bilayers in the presence of varied amounts of surfactant. Spectra, obtained from naturally present phosphorus atoms in the membranes, provide a sensitive tool for quantitative assaying of lamellar to non-lamellar conversion in the presence of surfactants.

The University of York, along with TeeGene Biotech Ltd and Johnson Matthey will be working on the project ‘Plants as Nanoparticle Producers’, funded through a CBMNet Proof of Concept Grant.

Platinum group metals (PGMs) are used in many industrial applications, often as nanoparticles (NPs). PGMs are rare materials, making them highly valuable, but their increasing dispersal in the environment is of growing concern. The metal accumulating ability of plants can be used to capture metals from the environment. Furthermore, our studies demonstrated that plants can produce PGM-NPs which can make high-performing plant-based catalysts, either in their native state or after modification. These high value products could help satisfy demand for precious metals in industry and medicine. However, the full potential of plants as PGM accumulators is yet to be realised and will critically depend on the mechanism for PGM uptake, an area of great controversy. The aim of this study is to establish whether PGM uptake in plants is via passive diffusion or mediated by (specific) proteins.

The University of Lincoln, along with Green Biologics Ltd will be working on the project ‘Identifying and characterising protective lipid changes under solventogenic stress’, funded through a CBMNet Proof of Concept Grant.

Solventogenic Clostridia are used by Green Biologics Ltd (GBL) to generate n-butanol from a variety of feedstocks providing sugars for fermentation.  n-Butanol is expensive to purify from the fermentation broth but the cost of in situ solvent removal is greatly decreased by fermenting to higher concentrations of n-butanol.   One particular challenge is that n-butanol is toxic to Clostridia at concentrations in excess of ~2% and metabolism slows down at substantially lower butanol concentrations.  A previous BIV between Alan Goddard (AG) and GBL determined that n-butanol directly disrupts model lipid bilayers made from extracted Clostridia membranes.

It has been reported that a number of changes in lipid composition of the plasma membrane occur in response to n-butanol production.  One specific class of lipids, plasmalogens, are potentially important in this process and have been shown to be upregulated in Clostridia under solventogenic stress.  Plasmalogens are ether phospholipids characterized by a vinyl ether linkage at the sn-1 position and an ester linkage at the sn-2 position and may influence the structure and function of the membrane when exposed to stresses such as n-butanol.  Using lipidomics expertise developed by Professor Ian Graham (IG) and Dr Tony Larson (TL) at the University of York, this proposal aims to determine the specific changes in plasma membrane lipid composition during n-butanol formation and to investigate their effects on membrane stability in the presence of n-butanol with a view to being able to modulate this system for enhanced biofuel production.