Biocatalysis Centre opening - Professor Sir Christopher Evans, OBE and Professor Jenny Littlechild

Professor Sir Christopher Evans and Professor Jenny Littlechild at the official opening of the Centre.

About the Centre

The Exeter Biocatalysis Centre was officially opened on the 25th November 2003 by Professor Sir Christopher Evans, OBE. Sir Christopher is one of Europe's leading biotechnology venture capitalists and has been involved with the University for many years since setting up one of his first companies, Chiroscience. The opening event was attended by over 60 participants that included visitors from the Wellcome Trust, BBSRC and EPSRC together with representatives from both local and international companies.

The Henry Wellcome Building for Biocatalysis creates a first class knowledge resource of academic, postdoctoral and PhD researchers. This will lead further advances in our understanding of biological catalysis and:

  • The synthesis of novel and safer therapeutics by using enzymes in chemical synthetic procedures, and in the development of vaccines.
  • An understanding of the effect of amino acid changes in human proteins and their involvement in disease such as oxidative stress, Alzheimer’s Disease and various inherited diseases such as type II diabetes.
  • The discovery and design of new experimental systems for applications as diverse as high throughput biocatalytic synthesis and screening in micro-reactors, environmental bioremediation and the production of biosensors.
  • The study of proteins found in hostile environments at the extremes of temperature, pressure, salinity and pH and their commercial applications in biotechnology.
  • The evolution of enzyme functions and substrate specificities, and the opportunities that this offers for developing new therapeutics.
  • The application of enzymes from diverse environmental sources in synthetic biology to develop new biological chemicals.

Biocatalysis draws on a broad range of expertise to study and develop novel biological catalysts. The facility brings together researchers from Biosciences, College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences and the University of Exeter Medical School.