Our research methods

research methods
The Syrén lab works with a broad range of computational and experimental methods in order to explore the full potential of enzymes for many applications.
  • 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 and material recycling by designer enzymes

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. Furthermore, we are currently exploring the potential of using designer enzymes in the development of innovative, biotechnological-assisted fiber-to-fiber textile recycling processes towards sustainable fashion.

Our research focus

Understanding Enzymes

In the Syrén lab we are highly interested in the importance of water networks in enzymes. We believe that redesign and reconfiguration of these networks is a new engineering strategy with great potential to generate enzymes with modulated binding affinity and improved catalytic versatility. In particular in silico enzyme design is used in designing these modulated networks.

Modulating enzyme activity through stabilizing the transition state with favorable water networks.

Moreover, we are interested in understanding the evolution of proteins, which can lead to an enhanced understanding of structure-function relationships and may also be a promising strategy for enzyme engineering. We use bioinformatics methods, in particular ancestral sequence reconstruction, to learn about the evolution of enzyme characteristics.

In ancestral sequence reconstruction, sequences of putative ancestral proteins are inferred. These proteins can then be produced in bacteria and characterized in the laboratory.

Resource Efficiency

The Syrén lab works with different projects related to resource efficiency aiming to contribute to a sustainable society by using biotechnology and biocatalysis. In order to achieve this goal we use synthetic biology and artificial pathway design as well as polymer technology. One current focus is on unraveling the biological mechanisms that generate multicyclic natural products and to reassemble cascades of such biocatalysts for synthesis of fine chemicals and materials through synthetic biology.


Our collaborations

  • Dr. Åsa Östlund (RISE, Stockholm)
  • Dr. Doris Ribitsch and Prof. Georg Gübitz (BOKU, Vienna)
  • Dr. Jörg Brücher (Holmen AB)
  • Dr. Stefan Lundmark (Perstorp)
  • Dr. Claes Gustafsson (ATUM, USA)
  • Prof. Uwe Bornscheuer (Greifswald, Germany)
  • Prof. Eva Malmström (KTH)
  • Dr. Linda Fogelström (KTH)
  • Swedish Orphan Biovitrum AB (Stockholm)
  • Ylva Gravenfors (SciLifeLab)

Our funding