Florian Hollfelder is Professor in Chemical and Synthetic Biology at the Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge, UK.
Florian Hollfelder was educated at the Technical University of Berlin (Diplom-Chemiker) and Cambridge University (MPhil). After a formative stay at Stanford (with Dan Herschlag) on free-energy relationships in enzymes) he joined Tony Kirby’s group at the Chemistry Department of Cambridge University working on enzyme models and physical-organic chemistry. During his PhD he also collaborated with Dan Tawfik (on the mechanism and evaluation of model enzymes such as catalytic antibodies). His postdoctoral work at Harvard Medical School (with Chris T. Walsh) was concerned with the biosynthesis and action of the natural antibiotic microcin B17.
In 2001 he returned to Cambridge to start his own research group in the Biochemistry Department, where he is Professor in Chemical and Synthetic Biology. The group’s research centres around quantitative and mechanistic questions at the chemistry/biology interface, involving low- and high-throughput approaches.
Florian is holder of an ERC Advanced Grant, Director of Studies and Graduate Mentor at Trinity Hall. He is coordinator of several EU-funded trans-national collaborative initiatives, e.g. the present H2020 research training networks MMBio ('Molecular Tools for Nucleic Acid Manipulation for Biological Intervention') and ES-Cat ('Directed Protein Evolution for Synthetic Biology and Biocatalysis'). These initiatives follow structured graduate training programmes developed in previous Marie-Curie networks on directed evolution of functional proteins (ENDIRPRO, ENEFP), on protein-protein interactions (ProSA) and on the chemical biology of phosphates (PhosChemRec).
The Hollfelder group is interested in gaining a fundamental understanding of the principles responsible for molecular recognition processes in chemistry and biology. We probe whether these principles enable us to describe, manipulate and ultimately make functional molecules. Using an eclectic mix of techniques we extend the mechanistic lessons learned to potential applications in biotechnology, synthetic chemistry and medicine.