Biocatalytic upcycling of CO2 into added-value chemicals

Plastic degradation by designer enzymes

Fundamental understanding of enzymes

Enzyme design and engineering

Terpene-based biomaterials by biocatalytic upcycling of inert synthons from wood

Our research methods


  • Bioinformatics & enzyme discovery

We use bioinformatics and sequencing databases for sequence-based enzyme discovery, as well as reconstruction of ancestral enzymes as potential highly active biocatalysts. These methods can be useful from a fundamental scientific point of view, and in guiding our efforts in enzyme engineering and design.

  •  In silico enzyme design

Enzyme catalysis evolved in an aqueous environment and water constitutes a cornerstone for the chemistry of life. Still the impact of solvent reorganization on enzyme catalysis and dynamics is usually neglected and remains poorly understood. We are interested in incorporating the rational design of water patterns in novel enzyme engineering strategies.

  • Protein mass spectrometry

We are capitalizing on state-of-the-art mass spectrometry to understand the impact of protein and solvent dynamics on enzyme catalysis.

  • Synthetic biology/artificial pathway design

We work with in vitro metabolic engineering to design artificial biosynthetic pathways for the upcycling of abundant natural terpenes. We combine biochemical process engineering, enzyme design and polymer technology to afford green routes towards renewable terpene-based materials.

  • Polymer technology

We are using different polymerization techniques, including controlled radical polymerization and ring opening polymerization to afford new bio-based materials such as polyester and polyacrylates. We further analyse the thermal properties, molecular weight distributions and the molecular structures of the obtained materials.

Our funding

The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research (Mistra; project Mistra SafeChem, Project No. 2018/11), the Gunnar Sundblad Research Foundation, the Swedish Research Council (VR, Grant No. 2016-06160), VINNOVA (Project C1Bio, Grant No. 2019-03174), the NovoNordisk Foundation (Project EazyPlast, Grant No. NNF20OC0064972, Formas and SSF.



Life is easy to identify, but remarkably hard to define. One fundamental property of living organisms is the order they create in their environment through evolved metabolic pathways, organized structures and self-replication which are basal energy-consuming processes dependent on enzymes that accelerate the chemistry of life up to 10^26-fold. Fundamental and organizational tasks, for instance energy conversion and information processing, would take millions – or even billions – of years in the absence of enzymes, thus representing timescales that would be incompatible with life.

The Syrén lab works with computer simulations and bioinformatics, as well as experimental biotechnology and protein engineering to enhance our fundamental understanding of enzymes, their mechanisms and evolution at the atomistic level. Towards reaching this goal we bridge fundamental chemical principles with state-of-the art biotechnology. Through transdisciplinary scientific methods we are developing novel enzyme engineering strategies for applications within biopolymer science and for the generation of superior biopharmaceuticals and fine chemicals from renewable sources.

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