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Jan Steensels

Jan Steensels

Developing Yeasts to Produce Alternatives for Existing, Unsustainable Products

Jan Steensels is a scientist at the VIB-KU Leuven Center for Microbiology who obtained his MSc and PhD in bioscience engineering from KU Leuven. Currently, he coordinates a team of researchers aiming to develop new yeasts for various industrial processes, ranging from traditional food/beverage fermentations to the microbial production of biofuels, proteins, lipids and other high-value molecules. To develop these new yeasts, the team combines traditional strain improvement techniques (breeding, experimental evolution, etc.) with novel methodologies and pipelines for high-throughput synthetic biology.

One of the focal points of the research is developing yeasts to boost the circular bioeconomy. Examples include the development of yeasts able to convert agricultural side streams into high-value compounds and yeasts able to produce alternatives for existing, unsustainable products (animal meat, petroleum-based chemical building blocks). The team has a strong track record of collaboration with industrial partners, and currently has over 15 yeasts implemented in various industrial processes.

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