Nicholas Turner undertakes research focussed on creating new enzymes for application as biocatalysts for chemical synthesis. His group combine enzyme discovery with protein engineering and directed evolution methods in order to develop biocatalysts with tailored properties including high (stereo)selectivity, improved activity and enhanced stability. These biocatalysts, which include amine/alcohol oxidases, imine reductases, lyases, transaminases and monooxygenases, are then applied to the synthesis of a range of target molecules especially pharmaceuticals and fine chemicals.
Nick also has a passion for promoting the wider application of biocatalysis across the entire chemical community and has developed guidelines for ’biocatalytic retrosynthesis’ to encourage greater adoption of biocatalysis amongst synthetic chemists. These guidelines enable multi-enzyme cascades to be designed and developed for the conversion of simple, sustainable feedstocks to more complex, target molecules.
Nick has received a number of awards including from the Royal Society of Chemistry (1992 Carbohydrate Chemistry; 1996 Corday-Morgan Medal; 2009 RSC Industrial Organic Award; 2017 Organic Stereochemistry) and in 2018 was awarded the American Chemical Society Catalysis Lectureship. He currently holds an ERC Advanced Grant 2017-2022.
Professor of Chemical Biology and Director, Centre of Excellence in Biocatalysis, University of Manchester