Understanding and Building Metabolism

Prof. Dr. Tobias Erb

Research area

Metabolism is one of the key features of living systems. In our everyday life we experience it in different forms: Plants, algae and many microorganism perform photosynthesis and convert carbon dioxide into carbohydrates. Other organisms (including us humans) consume the fixed carbon to cover their energetic needs, which closes the global cycle of carbon.

From a scientific point of view, metabolism can be defined as the dynamic biochemistry of life that provides cells with the energy and the building blocks required for their three- and four-dimensional self-organization.

In our lab, we aim at understanding and applying the fundamental design principles of metabolism. On the one hand, we study the function and organization of natural metabolism in the context of the living cell. On the other hand, we use our understanding to build novel, synthetic metabolism in a bottom-up fashion.

Application for Internships and Bachelor's / Master's Theses! [more]



Selected Publications

Scheffen, S., Marchal, D.G., Beneyton, T., Schuller, S.K., Klose, M., Diehl, C., Lehmann, J., Pfister, P., Carrillo, C., He, H., Aslan, S., Cortina, N.S., Claus, P., Bollschweiler, D., Baret, J.-C., Schuller, J.M., Zarzycki, J., Bar-Even, A. and Erb, T.J. (2021) A new-to-nature carboxylation module to improve natural and synthetic CO2 fixation. Nature Catalysis 4, 105-115

Miller, T.E., Beneyton, T., Schwander, T., Diehl, C., Girault, M., McLean, R., Chotel, T., Claus, P., Socorro Cortina, N., Baret, J.-C. and Erb, T.J. (2020) Light-powered CO2 fixation in a chloroplast mimic with natural and synthetic parts. Science 368, 649-654

Schada von Borzyskowski, L., Severi, F., Krüger, K., Hermann, L., Gilardet, A., Sippel, F., Pommerenke, B., Claus, P., Socorro Cortina, N., Glatter, T., Zauner, S., Zarzycki, J., Fuchs, B.M., Bremer, E., Maier, U.G., Amann, R.I. and Erb, T.J. (2019) Marine Proteobacteria metabolise glycolate via the β-hydroxyaspartate cycle. Nature 575, 500-504

Stoffel, G. M. M., Saez, D. A., DeMirci, H., Vögeli, B., Rao, Y., Zarzycki, J., Yoshikuni, Y., Wakatsuki, S.,Vöhringer-Martinez, E., Erb, T. J. (2019) Four amino acids define the CO2 binding pocket of enoyl-CoA carboxylases/reductases. PNAS

Schwander, T., Schada von Borzyskowski, L., Burgener, S., Cortina, N.S., and Erb, T.J. (2016) A synthetic pathway for the fixation of carbon dioxide in vitro. Science 354, 901-904 

Selected Honors

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize by the German Research Foundation (DFG), 2023

Future Insight Prize, MERCK, 2022

Prix Forcheur Jean-Marie Lehn, French Embassy in Germany, 2021

Otto Bayer Award, Bayer Foundations, 2018

VAAM-Research Award, Association of General & Applied Microbiology (D), 2017

Heinz Maier-Leibnitz-Prize, German Resarch Foundation (DFG) & German Federal Minstry of Education and Research (BMBF), 2016

C&EN "Talented 12": Up-and-coming chemists of 2015, American Chemical Society

ERC-Starting Grantee 2015

SGM-Encouragement award, Swiss Society of Microbiology, 2013

Election and appointment as member of die Junge Akademie, 2013

Poster Award 22nd Enzyme Mechanisms Conference (US), 2011

Richard I. Gumport Travel Award, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (US), 2011

VAAM-PhD Award, Association of General & Applied Microbiology (D), 2010

Hans-Grisebach Prize, University of Freiburg (D), 2010

Alumni-Diploma Award, University of Freiburg (D), 2006

Go to Editor View