Graz Technical University

The Institute of Molecular Biotechnology uses molecular strategies to develop enzymes for pharmaceutical and biocatalytic applications. Research includes the recruitment of novel enzymes from specific organisms or habitats by recombinant DNA techniques, the molecular characterization of the respective genes, and structural and functional analyses of the encoded proteins.

A major field of interest is the molecular engineering of enzymes towards altered substrate specificity and enhanced enantioselectivity. A strong expertise exists in developing directed evolution strategies, and of combination strategies (designed evolution) which include rational design elements. Molecular and functional analysis of mutant variants is performed to provide insight into structure-function relations of enzymes and to suggest further targets for engineering and design. The development of new methods for high-throughput screening and generation of biodiversity is a further focus of interest. The group has excellent experience in heterologous expression of proteins and the development of suitable host-vector systems.

Key Persons involved in the Biocascades Project


Jun. -Prof. Dr. Robert Kourist is the coordinator of the Biocascades Project and will supervise ESR4 and ESR5. He is the leader of Workpackage 2 and will organize the Workshop on Enzyme Cascades, which will be held at Ruhr University Bochum.

Dr. Robert Kourist has international experience from research stays at KTH Stockholm (Sweden), University of Oviedo (Spain) and Keio University, Yokohama (Japan). In 2009, he was awarded the DSM Science and Technology Award.

Since 2017, he became a Full Professor and chair of the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology at the Graz University of Technology.


Prof. Dr. em. Helmut Schwab will supervise ESR10. He will organize the Workshop on Gender, which will be held at TU Graz, Austria.

He was the Head of the Molecular Genetics Group at Biochemie GmbH, Kundl, Austria. In 2003, Prof. Dr. Schwab became the chair of Molecular Biotechnology at the Graz University of Technology. In 2000, he was awarded the DSM Research Award, and in 2006, he received the Dr. Wolfgang Houska Award.

Project Manager

Julirose Gonzales is the project manager of the Biocascades Project and is the point of contact between the Consortium and the European Commission Research Executive Agency.

Julirose has international network training experience from her research stays at University Malaya (Malaysia), Keio University, Yokohama (Japan), and TU Munich (Germany). She graduated with a degree in Manufacturing Engineer and Management with expertise in Robotics and Sustainable Manufacturing. She also has industrial experience working as an Industrial Engineer at Intel.