The Bayer Science & Education Foundation’s Otto Bayer Award is one of the most prestigious honours that can be bestowed upon a scientist. It is awarded to scientists who have made a significant contribution to pioneering research in chemistry and biochemistry. In 2018, The Otto Bayer Award will be presented to Dr. Tobias Erb, Head of the Biochemistry and Synthetic Metabolism Department at the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology. Dr. Erb will be presented the award by Chairman of the Board of Management of Bayer AG on the 25th of June 2018.
The Award carries a cash prize of €75,000 and is awarded biennially by the Board of Trustees of the Foundation. Dr. Erb was honoured for his work and contribution to research in the field of synthetic biology and its application on artificial photosynthesis. Dr. Erb’s work involves the discovery of unknown CO2-converting mechanisms in microorganisms as well as research into the possibility of creating artificial metabolic processes so that CO2 may become and be utilized as a sustainable raw material.
Carbon dioxide is a fundamental component of the earth’s atmosphere, but its appearance in the atmosphere has nearly doubled over the past century, increasing global warming. Dr. Erb and his team have been searching for microorganisms that are able to convert CO2 faster than the enzyme RuBisCO. The team has been able to establish an artificial metabolic pathway to improve photosynthesis using in-vitro CO2 conversion from nine different microorganisms.
Dr Erb graduated from the University of Freiburg where he studied biology and chemistry and received his doctorate in 2009. In 2010 he was the recipient of the Doctorate Prize by the German Association for General and Applied Microbiology (VAAM) for his work on the ethylmalonyl-CoA pathway in Rhodobacter sphaeroides.
The Otto Bayer Award was endowed in 1984 in the memory of Dr. Otto Bayer former head of research at Bayer. Previous winners of the award include Prof. Dr. Benjamin List, Prof. Dr. Dirk Trauner, and Prof. Dr. Frédéric Merkt.