Together with VAAM, DECHEMA-Forschungsinstitut (DFI) organised this year its fourth international Summer School "Biotransformations 2017" in Hannover. Between 16 and 19 July the participants had the opportunity to discuss with high-ranking experts from industry and science about topics such as protein discovery 2.0, production host development, downstream processing, and many more. PhD students from DFI also attended the conference.
The Summer School was organised by the joint section Biotransformations of DECHEMA and VAAM. Biotransformationens are chemical transformations catalysed by microorganisms or enzymes which feature mild reaction conditions with high stereo-, region-, and enantio-selectivity. This makes them particularly interesting to the chemical-pharmaceutical as well as to the food industry.
The concept of the Summer School is to enable a limited international audience of about 50 junior scientists to discuss intensely with leading experts from academia and industry about current topics in the area of biotransformations. Fascinating presentations covering topics such as enzyme design, enzyme cascades, strain development, reaction and process development, and product filtration inspired stimulating discussions among the participants. The talks did not only highlight chances and trends, they also stressed current challenges concerning the search for suitable biocatalysts, increase in efficiency, optimisation, and upscaling as well as product retrieval.
Besides listening to expert presentations, the participants with backgrounds in biosciences, chemistry, and engineering had the opportunity of presenting their work in two-minute talks to an interdisciplinary expert audience.
The highlight of the event was the poster party on the last evening, which all participants used as an ideal stage for exchange in a casual atmosphere. Each one could debate their own project in detail and discuss inspiring new ideas while enjoying some wine or beer. There also was plenty of opportunity to establish new contacts and plan some co-operations.
Further highlights of the event were highly interesting evening sessions about digitisation of laboratories and about innovation management.
Looking back, the DECHEMA Summer School “Biotransformations 2017” provided an ideal basis for networking of experts and young scientists from all disciplines around biocatalysis and for the advancement of scientific exchange.