Nico Fessner

Nico Fessner


Tell us something about your background.

My background involves mainly Chemistry based on my M. Sci. (BSc studies incorporated) in Chemistry at Imperial College London and complemented by several extra-curricular Chemistry research internships at an academic as well as industrial research level. Most of my research projects were in the field of Synthetic Organic Chemistry applied to projects in Medicinal Chemistry.
However, my studies also covered various topics in Biology via courses such as Medicinal Biology or an internship in Neuroscience of Drosophila melanogaster.

Tell us a bit about your PhD project in OXYTRAIN and your research interests.

My project in OXYTRAIN: Bioprospecting for novel fungal and plant heme-dependent monooxygenases, expressed in yeasts
My project will focus on the discovery of innovative cytochrome P450 oxygenases from eukaryotes (plant and fungi) in order to make complementary P450 enzymes available to the already established bacterial equivalents. These eukaryotic enzymes will be expressed by functional coexpression from cDNA libraries in Pichia pastoris using newly developed cloning vectors, then engineered and applied to whole cell, preparative scale biotransformation.
The unbelievable intelligence of nature’s inventions, yet their simplicity and precision, has left me humble in astonishment again and again.
Enzymes represent a very good example for this. Especially as a chemist, I can appreciate their high importance for fundamental (metabolic) processes in all cells and so even life itself. Therefore, I am very motivated to investigate novel enzymes and their mechanisms, satisfying my curiosity for both the Chemistry happening and applied at a biological level and the utilisation of Biology in chemical synthesis.

What do you expect from OXYTRAIN?

I feel fortunate to be part of the OXYTRAIN network and representing the person selected for the ESR5 position. This is because it covers a broad variety of research aspects and offers opportunities I hope to explore further, as well as entering a new field of research that includes learning new skills and techniques, respectively.

As a PhD student in a world-leading research group supported by the environment of a shared and tightly cooperating scientific network including an insight into industrial settings, perfect conditions are set to complement my skills, inspire me through a variation of challenges and perspectives, and thus enable my creativity to unfold.

This way I am optimistic to attain a broad set of expertise and many scientific contacts valuable to develop my future career. More importantly, I hope to make a significant contribution to the reshaping of conventional towards more environmentally friendly methods in organic synthesis along the principles of Green Chemistry.

What do you like to do in your free time, your hobbies, interests, what motivates you.

As a hobby sports climber I satisfy my strong affection for sports and exercise. My love for music I express by listening to it, singing and playing guitar. And I connect both of these components with social Salsa dancing.
However, I generally have many interests and am always open for new things. This is comparable to science where many different areas strike my interest.
I believe that my curiosity and strive for development and, consequently, the feeling of satisfaction and joy are responsible for my motivation.