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SELECTBIO Conferences Flow Chemistry European Summit 2024

Heidrun Gruber-Wölfler's Biography

Heidrun Gruber-Wölfler, Associate Professor, Graz University of Technology

Assoc.Prof. Heidrun Gruber-Woelfler studied technical chemistry at Graz University of Technology, Austria, with a focus on chemical engineering. After her PhD dealing with organometallic catalysis and molecular modelling, she did her Post-Doc in the area of continuous processes for the synthesis and purification of active pharmaceutical ingredients.

Since 2014 she is the head of the research group “Continuous Synthesis and Processes” at the Institute of Process and Particle Engineering (, TU Graz, and since 2016 the deputy head of this institute. Furthermore, Heidrun Gruber-Woelfler is key researcher at the Research Center Pharmaceutical Engineering (RCPE, ( GmbH, and since July 2017 the Deputy Director of the Center of Continuous Flow Synthesis and Processing (CCFlow) in Graz. Her current projects deal with flow chemistry, heterogeneous (bio)catalysis and continuous processes, as well as reactor design including additive manufacturing, real-time analyses, automation and self-optimization.

Heidrun Gruber-Wölfler Image

Combining (photo)Biocatalysis with Continuous Flow: Efficient Biotransformations in 3D Printed Reactors

Tuesday, 26 March 2024 at 17:30

Add to Calendar ▼2024-03-26 17:30:002024-03-26 18:30:00Europe/LondonCombining (photo)Biocatalysis with Continuous Flow: Efficient Biotransformations in 3D Printed ReactorsFlow Chemistry European Summit 2024 in Rotterdam, The NetherlandsRotterdam, The

Biocatalysis has gained a lot of popularity in recent years as an eco-friendly alternative to conventional catalysis in synthetic chemistry. Enzymes have a variety of advantages, including as low toxicity, little environmental effect, high activity in moderate settings, and good selectivity. Nevertheless, new and innovative approaches are still required in order to increase the stability of biocatalysts and make biocatalytic processes in continuous flow commercially feasible. In this contribution the design of continuous, inexpensive, and stable biocatalytic processes for a more sustainable synthesis of fine chemicals will be discussed. In the first part, the design of a continuous automated process to evaluate the efficiency of the model enzyme PAD (phenolic acid decarboxylase) covalently immobilized on 3D printed supports [1] will be presented. For a Design of Experiments (DoE) evaluation, an automated control setup was operated by a Python-based application in order to quickly identify the optimal operating conditions and increase the level of process understanding.

The second part of the presentation will cover the construction and optimization of photo-bioreactors for carrying out light-driven biotransformations in recombinant cyanobacteria [2]. In particular, the stereoselective reduction of 2-methyl maleimide was investigated via a design-of-experiments approach.

Lastly, the combination of photo- and biocatalysis will be presented for a multistep flow process including an a-CF3-substituted ketone production in a self-made photoreactor, followed by an enzymatic ketoreduction catalyzed by an ADH-Lica (alcohol dehydrogenase) enzyme to obtain chiral trifluoromethylated alcohols.

Overall, our approaches successfully bridge well-established technologies in chemical engineering (such as additive manufacturing, process automation and optimization) with biotechnology (e.g. enzyme immobilization) and continuous flow to design more sustainable synthetic routes for fine chemicals and APIs.
[1] A. Valotta, M. C. Maier, S. Soritz, M. Pauritsch, M. Koenig, D. Brouczek, M. Schwentenwein, H. Gruber-Woelfler, J Flow Chem 2021, 11, 675–689
[2] A. Valotta, L. Malihan-Yap, K. Hinteregger, R. Kourist, H. Gruber-Woelfler, ChemSusChem. 2022, 15, e202201468

Add to Calendar ▼2024-03-25 00:00:002024-03-26 00:00:00Europe/LondonFlow Chemistry European Summit 2024Flow Chemistry European Summit 2024 in Rotterdam, The NetherlandsRotterdam, The