Claudia Schmidt-Dannert
Office Address

1479 Gortner Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55108
United States



Distinguished McKnight University Professor, Associate Head of Research, Director Post Doctoral Studies
Biochemistry Molecular Biology and Biophysics

One area of current research focuses on the design self-organizing systems from genetically encoded protein building blocks for applications in biocatalysis, biosynthesis and as functional materials. We are also engineering microbial cells to produce living materials and biocomposites as well synthetic biofilms with tailored functions. Another long-standing interest in our lab is the discovery and design of biosynthetic pathways (for example from mushrooms) for the production of pharmaceutically relevant compounds.

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Research statement

We are interested in exploring and utilizing these biosynthetic machineries of microbes and plants to enable the discovery sustainable synthesis of valuable compounds for use as fine chemicals, pharmaceuticals and chemical building blocks. We are developing and studying systems to carry out multi-enzyme biocatalysis in vitro and in engineered microbial systems for the synthesis of chemicals. By mixing and matching enzyme with desired catalytic activities identified from different sources, we are designing cascades of enzymatic reactions for the synthesis of compounds of interest. Intrigued by the spatial organization of biological systems at the subcellular and molecular level, we are investigating and repurposing self-organizing protein structures for applications in biocatalysis and for the fabrication of functional biomaterials.

Selected publications

  1. Engineering Bacillus subtilis for the formation of a durable living biocomposite material | Kang SY, Pohkrel A, Bratsch S, Benson j, Seo SO, Quin MB, Aksan A, Schmidt-Dannert C| Nature Communications 2021 12:7133.
  2. Organizing Multi-Enzyme Systems into Programmable Materials for Biocatalysis| Seo MJ, Schmidt-Dannert C| Catalysts 2021, 11(4): 409.
  3. Developing a protein scaffolding system for rapid enzyme immobilization and optimization of enzyme functions for biocatalysis| Zhang G, Johnston T, Quin MB, Schmidt-Dannert C| ACS Synth Biol. 2019; 8(8): 1867-1876.
  4. Expression of the Fusarium graminearum terpenome and involvement of the endoplasmic reticulum-derived toxisome|Flynn CM, Broz K, Jonkers W, Schmidt-Dannert C, Corby Kistler|Fungal Genet Biol. 2019; 124:78-87.
  5. Self-assembling protein scaffold system for easy in vitro coimmobilization of biocatalytic cascade enzymes| Zhang G, Quin MB, Schmidt-Dannert C.| ACS Catalysis. 2018; 8(6): 5611-5620.