Many chemical reactions require catalysts to accelerate their rates and to minimise side products. While chemists have developed many such catalysts for a wide range of synthetic and technological applications, nature has always been one step ahead. Nature uses enzymes to catalyse the synthesis of complex molecules – these enzymes operate under mild reaction conditions and give exquisite chemical and structural selectivity.
Biocatalysis research aims to understand and exploit nature’s mechanisms and pathways in order to facilitate new and otherwise challenging chemical transformations. A better understanding of biocatalysis in a cellular context can also give insight into the origins and biological functions of organic small molecules.
The School of Chemistry, in collaboration with the Leicester Institute of Structural and Chemical Biology, has a strong history in biocatalysis research. Our current research interests include studies on small molecule activation, analysis of heme proteins, and studies on formaldehyde metabolism.