UPDATED: Industrial Biotechnology in the Development of Advanced Materials

BIOCATNET - LoginWorkshop to be held 16th-17th January 2017 at The Principal Manchester (formerly, Palace Hotel), Oxford Road, Manchester

Registration: CLOSED

Advanced materials outperform conventional materials and have either superior mechanical, physical, chemical, biological, etc. properties, or have lower environmental impact in use or manufacture, compared with traditional materials. Advanced materials have been acknowledged as key enablers to economic and societal development, and are one of the UK Government’s “Eight Great Technologies” and are vital to address global grand challenges in health, low carbon transport and sustainable energy production.

Innovation in materials involves multi-disciplinary science, has cross-cutting impacts on other technology areas (e.g., nanotechnology, photonics), and enables novel advanced manufacturing techniques. Industrial biotechnology (IB) plays a key role in the development and manufacture of entire classes of material by use of enzymes and biotransformations that access novel chemistries, allow tailorable selectivities and use more benign reaction conditions. IB has revolutionised our ability to synthesise molecules of choice, and has made huge strides into industrial catalysis, pharmaceutical manufacture and biofuel production.

This workshop looks at how enzyme-based IB can improve materials’ manufacture, by improving process sustainability or by enhancing product functionality. The products may be produced or modified by enzymatic routes, or may include the enzymes as a main functional element of the end product.

The workshop aims to match IB solutions to the challenges presented by industrially focussed researchers.

Target applications include, but are not limited to:

Organic coatings

  • Corrosion resistance/protection
  • Anti-fouling (e.g. biofilm prevention or degradation)
  • Drop-in replacements for heavy metals and solvents (e.g. paint curing)


  • Sustainable manufacture (e.g. monomers from renewable feedstocks)
  • Functionalisation (particularly where biology gives access to novel functionality)
  • Chemical control (e.g. improved tacticity, stereo- and regioselectivity, and reactivity control in co-polymers)
  • Biodegradable polymer manufacture (e.g. polysaccharides, polyesters for medical use)

Smart Materials

  • Sensing and transduction (e.g. biosensors, bioelectronics and functional textiles)
  • Reactive and self-healing materials (e.g. self-repairing composites and adaptive implants)

Life Cycle Engineering

  • Functionalisation (e.g. textile finishing, paper processing)
  • Improved recyclability: Degradation of abiological materials (e.g. carbon fibre)

Confirmed speakers:

Invited speakers
Melik Demirel Pennsylvania State University Enzymes for Smart Textiles
Caroline Ajo-Franklin Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Engineering Microorganisms that Create and Communicate with Materials
Andrew Wells Charnwood Technical Consulting Opportunities for Industrial Biotechnology  in Advanced Materials
Stephen Yeates University of Manchester
Aline Miller University of Manchester
Nicholas Turner University of Manchester
Nigel Scrutton University of Manchester
Short presentations
Ali Karimi Continental Reifen Deutschland GmbH  From Material Chemistry to Tyre Performance
John Latus Croda Europe Oleochemical new product development: a biotechnology wish list
Holly Smith Green Biologics Renewable chemicals from Clostridia – Beyond Butanol
Ian Archer IBioIC The Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre: Funding Opportunities
Reuben Carr Ingenza A synthetic biology approach towards the production of biobased polymers.
James Field LabGenius LabGenius – developing novel advanced materials with synthetic DNA libraries
Lucie Pfaltzgraff NNFCC Promoting Bio-innovation in Europe
Matthew Hodges Oxford Biotrans Limited Oxford Biotrans: Biocatalytic routes to High Value Compounds
Douglas Kell The University of Manchester GeneGeneie and SpeedyGenes: efficient synbio methods for the production of novel biomaterials
Andrew Carnell University of Liverpool Enzymatic polymerisation for novel bioplastic co-polymers derived from renewable resources.
Christopher Blanford University of Manchester Enzymes as real or inspirational fuel cell catalysts
Lu Shin Wong University of Manchester Biocatalytic Scanning Probe Lithography for Nanofabrication of Polyanilines.
Neil Thomas University of Nottingham Developing the self-assembling proteins from spider silk and ferritin into drug delivery, imaging and theranostic platforms
Pedro Camargo University of Sao Paulo Controlled nanomaterials for catalytic and electrocatalytic applications

The UK is a recognised international leader in both IB and advanced materials. The new, interdisciplinary partnerships will provide the foundation for expected funding calls, including those from the five-year, £1.5bn Global Challenges Research Fund; BBSRC industrial CASE studentships; and Innovate calls related to manufacturing and materials.

This workshop is sponsored by BIOCATNET, a BBSRC network in industrial biotechnology and bioenergy (NIBB). BIOCATNET offers pump-priming funds in the form of £10k business interaction vouchers and £200k proof-of-concept awards.

Registration is free and includes food and refreshments, a networking reception & dinner, and overnight accommodation in the Palace hotel on the night of 16th January 2017.

Registration for this event is now open:

Download the event flyer here.

Organising Committee (University of Manchester)
Professor Stephen Yeates – School of Chemistry [Chair]
Dr. Mark Corbett – CoEBio3/BIOCATNET
Dr. Christopher Blanford – School of Materials
Dr. Kirk Malone – Sir Henry Royce Institute for Advanced Materials