Applied Biotechnology Research group

Research domain

Our research group focuses on the synthetic biology of modular proteins with applications in medical (phage-inspired antibacterials) and industrial biotechnology (scaffolded enzyme cascades). By combining protein modules from diverse origins we create 'new to nature' functions and we improve their function towards specific applications. We are expert in the rapid and combinatorial design and construction of modular proteins and their analysis at high-throughput scale, with the ultimate goal to make customized antibacterials and industrial solutions.

Research goals

Bacteriophages are the enemy of our enemy. Shaped by a long and intimate co-evolution with their bacterial host, bacteriophages have evolved amazing proteins that are highly appropriate to detect and kill bacteria. We have built a strong expertise with bacteriophage-encoded proteins. Using synthetic biology, we create tailor-made, engineered endolysins and tail fibers with the ultimate goal to kill multidrug-resistant cells. In addition, we use phage genome engineering to create smart phages with modified phage proteins, addressing current hurdles in phage therapy. (Hans Gerstmans, Agnieszka Latka, Bjorn Criel, Dorien Dams, Karim Soufi, Dennis Grimon)

Cellulosomes are probably the most modular protein complexes on earth. We apply our expertise in de synthetic biology of modular proteins to design modular enzyme cascades for lignocellulose degradation and the synthesis of fine chemicals. (Julie Vanderstraeten, Maria Fonseca)


Antibacterial enzymes, engineered bacteriophages, combinatorial DNA assembly, enzyme cascades, lignocellulose, designer cellulosomes

How to join us?

The Applied Biotechnology research team, lead by professor Yves Briers.

If you are interested to join us as a PhD student or postdoc, please send us your CV, your motivation to join the group and your research interests. For suitably qualified candidates, we can discuss an appropriate funding strategy. Open vacancies will be published on the UGent vacancies website.


Contact information

Please contact professor Yves Briers for more information or follow him on Twitter : briersyves