31. August 2020 | Magazine:

Progress through biocatalysis Dr. Mehdi Mohammadi as visiting researcher from Iran at the TU Braunschweig

With his start on May 1, 2020, Mehdi Mohammadi came to the Technical University of Braunschweig despite the difficult conditions. With his Georg Forster Research Fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, he links a great opportunity for himself and his home country, Iran. His participation in Professor Anett Schallmey’s international research group is an important step in his academic career. Using the know-how from the Institute for Biochemistry, Biotechnology and Bioinformatics, he plans to set up his own biocatalysis research group in Iran.

Dr. Mehdi Mohammadi at the Institute of Biochemistry, Biotechnology and Bioinformatics. Picture Credits: Mehdi Mohammadi/TU Braunschweig

Currently, more than three-quarters of all chemical products worldwide are produced by catalysis. The triggers, catalysts, accelerate chemical reactions and thus reduce the amount of energy required. Biocatalysis, which uses enzymes or whole cells as catalysts, is considered a young field of catalysis research at the interface of biotechnology and chemistry. It is characterized by being particularly energy-efficient and more environmentally friendly.

Mehdi Mohammadi wants to deepen his knowledge in this young field of research at the TU Braunschweig: “I applied very consciously for the research group of Professor Schallmey. She is one of the expert scientists in the field of biocatalysis in Germany”. In his project, he focusses on the chemo-enzymatic synthesis of biologically active plant pigments combining chemical and enzyme catalysts into cascade reactions.

Development through science

In addition to individual qualifications, the Georg Forster Research Fellowship is granted on the potential for transfer. Scholarship holders come from developing and emerging countries. Their research projects in Germany should contribute to the development of their countries of origin and to the exchange of scientific knowledge and methods with German partners.

For Mehdi Mohammadi, this added value lies in the use of biocatalysts in complex synthetic reactions. “I would like to pass on the knowledge I am acquiring here to the researchers and students in my home country. Therefore, I am planning to establish my own new research group at my institute,” says Mohammadi.

About Mehdi Mohammadi

Dr. Mehdi Mohammadi was born in 1980 in Zanjan, Iran. After studying chemistry, he received his doctorate in organic chemistry. He has been working at the National Institute of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in Iran for eight years.