Prof. Jennifer Littlechild

Prof. Jennifer Littlechild
Principal, Biotechnology & Life Sciences

Prof. Jennifer Littlechild is Professor  Emeritus of Biological Chemistry and Director of the Henry Wellcome Centre for Biocatalysis at Exeter. She carried out her Ph.D. in the Biophysics Laboratory, Kings College, London University, UK followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at the Biochemistry Department at Princeton University, USA. In 1975 she became a group leader at the Max-Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin, Germany. In 1980 she returned to the UK to Bristol University and in 1991 to Exeter. Her research grants are from UK research councils, BBSRC, EPSRC and the EU and large and SME industries.

Jenny’s research studies involve the structural and mechanistic characterisation of the C-C bond forming enzymes transketolase and aldolase, vanadium haloperoxidases, Baeyer-Villiger monooxygenases, aminoacylases, novel esterases and lipases, gamma lactamases, alcohol dehydrogenases, dehalogenases, transaminases. Many of these enzymes are from thermophilic bacteria and archaea and are important for industrial biotechnology and used in combination with conventional chemical synthesis of optically pure drug intermediates of interest to pharmaceutical companies. She has published over 150 publications in refereed high impact journals and presented her research work internationally.

Jenny is the co-ordinator of the Thermogene ERA-net project, aimed at developing new hydrolase and transferase enzymes for industrial biocatalysis. She is the UK representative on the European Section of Applied Biocatalysis and a member of EU advisory committee for biotechnology.