Partner 6

Plant Biochemistry laboratory was established at the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University (now fused into the University of Copenhagen) in 1984 by the appointment of Professor Birger Lindberg Møller. The research is focussed on the elucidation of biosynthetic pathways for important bio-active natural products like cyanogenic glucosides and other nitrile glucosides, vanillin, carmine and sesqui-, di- and triterpenoids. Key expertise has been developed in the characterization of cytochrome P450s, glycosyltransferases and terpenoid synthases. Nano disc technology constitutes an important tool to characterize the enzyme complexes involved. The multiple roles of bio-active natural products as defence compounds enabling plants to adapt to environmental challenges, their ability to balance primary metabolism and to serve as storage compounds are major research areas. The research is supported by strong technology platforms within metabolomics and bioimaging. Tight collaboration with the Nano Science Center enables us to carry out studies at the single molecule level. The Plant Biochemistry Laboratory employs some 55 researchers and support staff including 8 principal investigators. Approx 90% of the current funding is obtained from external grants.

Plant Biochemistry Copenhagen

 Professor Birger Lindberg Møller, PI

Professor Birger Lindberg Møller is Head of the Plant Biochemistry Laboratory at University of Copenhagen. He obtained his Ph.D. (1975) and spent the following three years as a Fulbright Fellow at Professor Eric Conn´s Laboratory, Davis, University of California. In the period 1977-1984, BLM was employed as Senior Scientist and Niels Bohr Fellow at the Department of Physiology, Carlsberg Laboratory (D.Sc. 1984) and was subsequently appointed among the first group of five Research Professors in Denmark. Since 1989, BLM has held his current position as a Full Professor in Plant Biochemistry at the Faculty of Science. In the period 1998-2008, BLM served as Director of Center for Molecular Plant Physiology (PlaCe), the Danish “center of excellence” within plant science founded by the Danish National Research Foundation. In 2008, BLM was appointed Director of the Villum center of excellence “Pro-Active Plants” for the period 2008-2012. In 2010, BLM was appointed Director of the research centre “UNIK Synthetic Biology” founded by the Danish Government as part of the globalization strategy for the period 2009-2013. In 2010, the Novo Nordisk Foundation established the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability. The center is hosted by Denmarks Technical University (DTU) and BLM was appointed Head of the section for “Plant Pathway Discovery”. In this context, BLM was also appointed as Professor at DTU. The ISI Web of Knowledge lists 199 publications for BLM. The publications have been cited more than 5200 times and BLM has an h-index of 43.

Professor Søren Bak, PI

Professor Søren Bak obtained his PhD at the University of Copenhagen in 1997. In the period 1998 – 2000 he was a Visiting Scientist at the University of Arizona, USA in the group of Dr. Rene Feyereisen. In 2000 he was appointed Assistant Professor and in 2005 Associate Professor at the Plant Biochemistry Laboratory. Søren Bak heads the Molecular Evolution Research Group. He is member of the Board of Center for Applied Bioinformatics at University of Copenhagen. He is an expert on Bioinformatics of P450s and UGTs. A long term research goal is to elucidate the impact of evolution of plant multigene families and their impact on plant genomes, natural products, natural variation and interactions with insects and microbes.

P4FIFTY project at University of Copenhagen

The main objective of the work at the University of Copenhagen is to generate a platform technology enabling high throughput heterologous expression of plant P450s using fluorescent tags as screening read-outs to open wide the full array of plant P450s for industrial uses. Focus will be on expression of plant P450s from medicinal plants producing interesting bio-active natural products. Interesting P450s will be inserted and functionally characterized following insertion into nano discs.

Staff undertaking the work

Associate professors Morten Nørholm, Björn Hamberger
Post doc Peter Naur, Jean-Etienne Bassard
PhD student Tomas Laursen
PhD stipends funded by the EU grant are currently being advertised.