Devin Trudeau is a Canadian postdoctoral fellow at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, at the Department of Biomolecular Sciences in the group of Prof. Dan Tawfik. He is responsible for the enzyme evolution in FutureAgriculture.
Hi, Devin, what is your role in FutureAgriculture?
Our group's expertise is in directed evolution: using the same process as nature, in the laboratory we can make enzymes with new and interesting properties. In FutureAgriculture we are engineering enzymes to work better than their natural counterpart – for example, doing photorespiration more efficiently. My side of the project is to first identify different enzymes candidates that will be used in the photorespiration bypass pathway and then to directed evolution to make these enzymes work at levels that are acceptable for plants. We've been quite successful, in collaboration with other labs in FutureAgriculture we have managed to create improved metabolic pathways that work in the test tube. The next steps are to make them better and introduce them into live organisms.
"Together we are able to do a project that none of our labs is able to do on its own."
What does it mean for you to be part of an EU-funded project?
The project enables me to collaborate with a very experienced and motivated group of people from all over Europe. I can work with people that are expert in fields different than mine i.e. chemistry, synthetic biology, theoretical biology, cyanobacteria and plants. Together we are able to do a project that none of our labs is able to do on its own.