Welcome to the Eppinger Group!
The ultimate goal of our research is to combine
biological and homogeneous catalysis for sustainable and selective synthesis
Catalysis is the key-technology to conduct chemical reactions in a specific manner consuming the least possible amount of resources and energy. Catalysis is fundamental for modern industrialised societies providing access to new compounds or materials, enabling efficient and responsible utilization of resources and reducing environmental pollution. Needs of the 21st Century’s societies generate tremendous challenges for catalysis research, demanding a shift to multidisciplinary approaches.
In the Biological & Organometallic Catalysis
Laboratories (BOC-Labs) we combine molecular processes of living cells with the
tools and principles of chemistry to tailor novel, highly selective and
effective catalysts. Fundamental tasks involve the development of inorganic
catalyst motifs with high activity under aqueous conditions, incorporation of
artificial functionalities into biomolecules and optimization of biocatalyst
stability under classical reaction conditions. Correspondingly, the currently
active research projects are highly interdisciplinary and integrate
organometallic chemistry, molecular biology and materials science into
catalysis research. Our objectives include (i) development of aqueous catalysis
and green chemistry protocols, (ii) rapid generation, testing and optimization
of highly selective, catalytically active organometallic enzyme hybrids (OMEHs)
based on artificial co-factors or incorporation of unnatural amino acids, (iii)
application of electro-active proteins, pathways or microbes targeting e.g.
carbon dioxide conversion or generation of efficient fuel cell cathode
surfaces, (iv) investigation and characterization of novel extremophilic
metalloproteins and (v) design of peptide-inorganic interfaces to provide
intelligent catalyst support or nano-structured hybrid materials. The BOC-Labs
are part of the KAUST Catalysis Center (KCC).
The unique location at the shores of the Red Sea,
collaborations with KAUST’s Marine Research Center and the Computational
Bioscience Research Centre as well as access to KAUST’s outstanding core
facilities guarantee direct access to data resulting from investigation of
novel Read See extremophiles, which directly feed into research projects.