The joint directorship of SYNBIOCHEM (Scrutton, Takano and Turner) is exceptional, ensuring intellectual leadership and balance across all relevant areas of strategic and operational importance to realise the potential of SynBio in the fine and specialty chemical sectors.
Each Co-Director is responsible for leading in their particular areas of expertise to coordinate multidisciplinary teams and training programmes, industrial engagement with the chemicals industries and global networks and ensuring engagement with the wider UK, EU and global SynBio natural products communities. The Co-Directors are supported by a Director of Operations (Ros Le Feuvre) and Director of Commercialisation (Kirk Malone).
Professor Nigel Scrutton – Director
Nigel is Director of the EPSRC Future Biomanufacturing Research Hub and the BBSRC funded Synthetic Biology Research Centre ‘SYNBIOCHEM’. He is also a Founding Director of the fuels-from-biology company C3 BIOTECH Ltd and its subsidiary company C3 BIOTECH (Maritime and Aerospace) Ltd. He is former Director of the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology (MIB) (2010-2020). He is also a member of BBSRC Council (2021-24).
Nigel was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 2020. He is recipient of a number of awards and externally funded research fellowships. He graduated from the University of London, King’s College and gained his ScD and PhD degrees at St John’s College, the University of Cambridge as a Benefactor’s Scholar.
Nigel has made major contributions to the study of enzyme catalysis, covering mechanistic and structural biology, synthetic biology, and bio-based chemicals / fuels biomanufacture through metabolic engineering. Nigel has been Visiting Professor at Tsinghua University, China and is Visiting Professor at Cardiff University, UK. He is also Adjunct Professor at Beijing University of Chemical Technology, China and Vidyasirimedhi Institute of Science and Technology (VISTEC), Thailand.
Professor Eriko Takano – Director
Eriko Takano has been Professor of Synthetic Biology at the Manchester institute of Biotechnology since 2012. In 2014, she was appointed as one of the three directors for the EPSRC/BBSRC funded Manchester Synthetic Biology Research Centre, SYNBIOCHEM. Eriko graduated from Kitasato University in Japan and did her undergraduate project with Prof Satoshi Omura (2015 Nobel prize in Physiology and Medicine), before working at an R&D facility for Meiji Seika Kaiha Ltd. for several years. After leaving industry, she obtained her PhD at the John Innes Institute, Norwich, UK, in 1994 on the regulation of antibiotic production in Streptomyces coelicolor. Before her arrival in Manchester, she had been Associate professor at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands, and Assistant Professor (C1) at the Dept of Microbiology / Biotechnology, University of Tubingen in Germany. She is currently a Visiting Professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan.
Eriko is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the synthetic biology of microbes for antibiotic production. Her interests are in bioinformatics software development for deigning natural products producers; untargeted metabolomics for chassis engineering in Streptomyces; secondary metabolite biosynthesis pathway assembly; and regulatory circuit engineering through signalling molecules and non-coding RNAs.
Eriko is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology and has served as an expert advisor for the European Commission Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks of synthetic biology, where she contributed to a series of three official Opinions with major impact on the development of the field.
Professor Nick Turner – Director
Nick Turner is the Deputy Director of the MIB and Co-Director of SYNBIOCHEM. He is the Director of the Centre for Biocatalysis, Biotransformations and Biocatalytic Manufacture (www.coebio3.org), has leading expertise in biocatalysis for organic synthesis and is expert in protein redesign. He co-founded the spin out companies Ingenza Ltd (2003) and Discovery Biocatalysts (2012), and has strong inter-sectorial programmes in chemicals production with global industries/academic groups.
Professor of Chemical Biology in the School of Chemistry, Nick obtained his DPhil in 1985 with Professor Sir Jack Baldwin and from 1985-1987 was a Royal Society Junior Research Fellow, spending time at Harvard University with Professor George Whitesides. He was appointed lecturer in 1987 at Exeter University and moved to Edinburgh in 1995, initially as a Reader and subsequently Professor in 1998. In October 2004 he joined Manchester University as Professor of Chemical Biology. Nick was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 2020. He is also a co-founder and Scientific Director of Ingenza (www.ingenza.com), a spin-out biocatalysis company based in Edinburgh. He is a member of the Editorial Board of Chemical Communications. Nick has research interests in the area of biocatalysis with particular emphasis on the discovery and development of novel enzyme catalysed reactions for applications in organic synthesis. His group are also interested in the application of directed evolution technologies for the development of biocatalysts with tailored functions.
Dr Rosalind Le Feuvre – Director of Operations
Ros delivers the full operational and strategic development of the Centre, coordinates the management and engagement activities and is responsible for day-to-day operations and developments in the DESIGN, BUILD, TEST, DATA and RRI platforms. She also is the Director of Operations for the EPSRC funded Future Biomanufacturing Research Hub (2019-26).
Dr Kirk Malone – Director of Commercialisation
Kirk is working with the Centre to promote and grow our relationships with industrial partners to ensure the translation of our fundamental research programmes.