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In-House Training

Biocatalysis as a Tool for the Synthetic Chemist

Tutors: Dr Andrew Wells

The aim of the course is to give organic chemists an understanding and an overview of the subject of biotransformations.

Attendees will learn about the main classes of enzymes and the transformations these enzymes carry out.

Each transformation type will be illustrated with examples and case studies and the course will also include problem sessions where attendees will work on real examples applying biotransformations to organic synthesis.

Recent developments in the field will be covered as well as an overview of the sort of equipment and resources required.

Course Outline


  • Introduction to Biocatalysis

    Literature sources for biocatalysis (books and review articles)
    Myths about biocatalysis / pros and cons of biocatalysis
    Enzyme / protein basics, basic microbiology
    Sources of biocatalysts
    Equipment requirements
    Enzyme types

    Hydrolytic Enzymes (Lipases, esterases, amidases, proteases)

    Mechanism of hydrolysis by enzymes
    Kinetic resolution
    Use of organic solvents
    Dynamic kinetic resolution (DKR)
    Ester, amide, nitrile and epoxide hydrolysis


    Alcohol oxidation
    Amine oxidation, deracemisation of amines and amino acids
    Bio-oxygenation, bio-hydroxylation
    Bayer-Villiger oxidation


    Ketone reduction, Prelog rules
    Deracemisation of secondary alcohols
    Enantioselective reduction / DKR
    Keto-ester reduction
    C=C reduction

  • C-C and C-X bond formation

    Aldol reactions
    Cross benzoin reactions
    Hydroxy-nitrile lyases
    Michael reactions
    Fumarase and aspartase

    Scale Up of Biotransformations

    Case studies

    New Developments including Directed Evolution

    Polymerase Chain Reaction
    Directed Evolution
    Product isolation

    Pros and Cons of Biocatalysis

    Q&A, discussion




Who Should Attend


  • Any Organic Chemist involved in synthesis, particularly those involved in designing novel, green synthetic routes.Chemists who want to learn how biocatalysis can help them.Those involved in the scale up of biocatalytic reactions.


What's Included

  • Refreshments & lunch daily
  • Dinner on the first evening
  • The comprehensive Course Manual
  • Course Certificate
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