Welcome to the HIMS-Biocat website
HIMS-Biocat is a high multidisciplinary team of enthusiastic researchers working at the interface between biological and chemical sciences. Our major aims are to develop new biocatalysts and biocatalytic systems for the sustainable and efficient synthesis of organic molecules that are relevant for the chemical industry as well as to address fundamental questions of biological chemistry. We believe that the advancement in the field of biocatalysis can meet the changing needs of industry and has a decisive impact on the future of the next generations on our planet. Part of our mission is also to train students such that they possess the necessary combination of skills in chemistry, biology and engineering needed to work in biocatalysis. HIMS-Biocat, led by Prof. Francesco Mutti, is part of the Van’t Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences (HIMS), University of Amsterdam (UvA). HIMS-Biocat is located at the Amsterdam Science Park.
Biocatalysis: A sustainable solution to chemical problems
Biocatalysis is a high multidisciplinary field that comprises bio-organic chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, protein engineering, bio-informatics and computational chemistry. Biocatalysis is founded on the use of the powerful catalysts present in nature: the enzymes. Enzymes, also known as biological catalysts, are responsible of thousands of metabolic processes that sustain our life and the life of all the organisms on our planet. Since thousands of years ago, humans have started to exploit the “catalytic power” of enzymes, for instance, for the production of beer and wine or for the processing of food. During the past decades, enzymes (or cells containing the enzymes) have been increasingly used to replace a number of traditional chemical catalysts, particularly those catalysts that are not efficient or toxic or can contaminate the environment or require hazardous reaction conditions. Moreover, enzymes are capable of catalysing challenging chemical transformations with improved efficiency and exquisite selectivity. It is therefore possible to use natural enzymes as well as to create artificial enzymes in laboratory (i.e., by enzyme engineering) to convert simple and inexpensive molecules into valuable chemicals for the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, plastics, textile fibres, etc.
tel: +31 (0) 20525 8264
University of Amsterdam
PO Box 94157
1090 GD Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Science Park 904
1098 XH Amsterdam, The Netherlands