Synthetic Biology of Anti-infective Agents
German Centre for Infection Research (DZIF)
Tel.: +49 7071 2977671
Fax: +49 7071 295250
Leo studied technical biology at the University of Stuttgart with a main focus on microbial biotechnology, technical biochemistry and marine biology. As an undergraduate he worked at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH) with Dr. J. van Beilen and Prof B. Witholt on the discovery of CYP153s, a family of common alkane hydroxylases in eubacteria. For his diploma thesis he joined Dr. V. B. Urlacher (now full professor at the University of Düsseldorf) and Prof. R.D. Schmid at the University of Stuttgart to switch the co-factor specificity of CYP102A1 (P450 BM3 from Bacillus megaterium) by protein engineering. He then moved to Sydney, Australia, as an intern with BTF Pty. Ltd. There, he applied flow cytometry and lyophilisation methods to prepare pathogenic bacteria for quantitative microbiological quality control.
In his graduate project with PD Dr. B. Gust at the University of Tübingen, Leo started to work on the biosynthesis of bacterial secondary metabolites. He discovered the caprazamycin and liposidomycin gene clusters, representing the first biosynthetic clusters from the class of complex nucleoside antibiotics which target microbial cell wall assembly, and investigated their biosynthesis. To this end, he employed modern Red/ET-recombineering techniques and in vitro biochemistry. Leo graduated in 2010 with Prof. L. Heide (University of Tübingen) as his main referee. Subsequently, he joined the lab of Prof. B. S. Moore at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (University of California San Diego, CA) who is a pioneer in marine natural product chemistry and biosynthesis. As a Feodor-Lynen postdoctoral fellow he was co-hosted by Prof. K.C. Nicolaou from The Scripps Research Institute (La Jolla, CA; now at Rice University, Houston, TX). In San Diego, Leo was focused primarily on different aspects of polyketide and terpene biochemistry. He gained experience in the application of next-generation sequencing technology and used MS/MS molecular networking to assess natural products chemical libraries in collaboration with Prof. P. C. Dorrestein (University of California San Diego, CA).
Leo moved back to Germany in 2013 and is now assistant professor for Synthetic Biology of Antiinfective Agents with the German Centre for Infection Research (DZIF) at the University of Tübingen. His research group is working on the discovery and production of new antiparasitic agents from bacteria by means of microbial biotechnology and molecular engineering. He is also interested in the biosynthesis of bioactive natural products and their unique structural features. The Kaysser Lab is applying state-of-the-art methodology such as genome mining, Red/ET-recombineering, synthetic genetics, heterologous pathway expression and MS/MS-assisted comparative metabolic profiling.