Novozymes and The Technical University of Denmark recognize researcher for breakthroughs in sustainable solutions

The 2021 recipient of the Novozymes Award for Excellence in Biochemical Engineering is Christina Smolke, professor at Stanford University who has pioneered the production of complex plant products using yeast-based fermentation.

christina smolke portrait

February 22, 2022 - In collaboration with the Technical University of Denmark, we are honoring Professor Christina Smolke from Stanford University, USA, for her work in chemical engineering. With the honor comes 100,000 DKK from Novozymes.

Through a number of ingenious approaches over several years, Professor Christina Smolke created cell factories for production of numerous medicinal compounds by microbial fermentation. Professor Smolke was the first to demonstrate the assembly of long and complex biosynthetic pathways in microorganisms that are functional and produce the desired natural product. She achieved remarkable breakthroughs in reconstructing the complete biosynthetic route for medicinal opioids, an achievement that required the integration of multiple enzymes from various organisms. Professor Smolke used enzymes from mammals, plants and fungi, and identified novel enzyme functions to build a functional pathway of more than 20 enzymes.

“Professor Smolke has made significant scientific discoveries that will enable the production of needed chemicals on a large scale while ensuring a controlled, regulated and sustainable production process,” says Professor Jens Nielsen, Director of the BioInnovation Institute and Chairman of the judging panel. “The importance of Professor Smolke’s contributions is very well illustrated by very high impact and significant publications, including work recognized by Science as one of the scientific breakthroughs of the year, and by the establishment of her company Antheia where she is the CEO,” explains Jens Nielsen.

“Novozymes is proud again to be able to award a world-class researcher the award on “Excellence in Biochemical and Chemical Engineering”. This year to Prof. Christina Smolke from Stanford University who has developed novel tools and technologies to engineer microorganisms through modular genetic platforms,” says Claus Crone Fuglsang, Chief Science Officer and Executive Vice President of Research & Development at Novozymes.

“It is a great honor for our work to be recognized by Novozymes, which has long been a leader in leveraging biotechnology to address global challenges in health and sustainability. Advances at the intersection of genomics, biotechnology, and fermentation will flip paradigms of conventional manufacturing and drive resilient, responsive, and sustainable supply chains”, says Professor Smolke.

In April, an award ceremony will be held at The Technical University of Denmark. Learn more and sign up for the event here: Novozymes Award for Excellence in Biochemical Engineering

 

“Professor Smolke has made significant scientific discoveries that will enable the production of needed chemicals on a large scale while ensuring a controlled, regulated and sustainable production process,” says Professor Jens Nielsen, Director of the BioInnovation Institute and Chairman of the judging panel. “The importance of Professor Smolke’s contributions is very well illustrated by very high impact and significant publications, including work recognized by Science as one of the scientific breakthroughs of the year, and by the establishment of her company Antheia where she is the CEO,” explains Jens Nielsen.

“Novozymes is proud again to be able to award a world-class researcher the award on “Excellence in Biochemical and Chemical Engineering”. This year to Prof. Christina Smolke from Stanford University who has developed novel tools and technologies to engineer microorganisms through modular genetic platforms,” says Claus Crone Fuglsang, Chief Science Officer and Executive Vice President of Research & Development at Novozymes.

“It is a great honor for our work to be recognized by Novozymes, which has long been a leader in leveraging biotechnology to address global challenges in health and sustainability. Advances at the intersection of genomics, biotechnology, and fermentation will flip paradigms of conventional manufacturing and drive resilient, responsive, and sustainable supply chains”, says Professor Smolke.

In April, an award ceremony will be held at The Technical University of Denmark. Learn more and sign up for the event here: Novozymes Award for Excellence in Biochemical Engineering

About the Novozymes Award for Chemical and Biochemical Engineering:

The prize has been awarded since 2015 by Novozymes to individuals who have made a special effort in the field.

  • 2021: Christina Smolke, Professor, Stanford University
  • 2020: Jeff Lievense, Genomatica, USA
  • 2019: James C. Liao, Professor and President of Academia Sinica, Taiwan.
  • 2018: Matthias Reuß, Professor University of Stuttgart
  • 2017: Gregory Stephanopoulos, Professor MIT
  • 2016: Bernard Palsson, CEO of DTU Biosustain
  • 2015: John Villadsen, Professor DTU

Get in touch

Media relations

Lina Danstrup

Lina Danstrup

Head of External Communicationlind@novozymes.com+45 30 77 05 52

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