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Competence Center for Biocatalysis

Latest awards and publications

A new physical and biological strategy to reduce the content of zearalenone in infected wheat kernels: the effect of cold needle perforation, microorganisms, and purified enzyme. In a collaboration between ILGI and ICBT decontamination strategies were evaluated aiming at reintroducing wheat grains naturally contaminated with mycotoxins into the food value chain. Food Research International (2024) June 6. A. André, K. Hecht, S. Mischler, L Stäheli, F. Kerhanaj, R. Buller, M. Kinner, S. Freimüller Leischtfeld, I. Chetschik, S. Miescher Schwenninger & N. Müller.

Elucidating the Role of O2 Uncoupling for the Adaptation of Bacterial Biodegradation Reactions Catalyzed by Rieske Oxygenases. Microorganisms quickly adapt their enzymatic machinery to changes in the exposure to xenobiotic compounds. Oxygenation of hydrocarbons by Rieske oxygenases is the initial step of various microbial biodegradation pathways. Oxidative stress triggers the evolution of these enzymes towards targets structurally related to the original target substrate. ACS ENVIRONMENTAL AU (2024) May 25. C. E. Bopp, N. M. Bernet, F. Meyer, R. Khan, S. L. Robinson, H.-P. E. Kohler, R. Buller & T. B. Hofstetter.

Rebecca Buller receives European EFMC award
Rebecca Buller wins this year's EFMC «Young Medicinal Chemist or Chemical Biologist in Academia» award. The award is presented by the European Federation of Medicinal Chemistry for outstanding achievements in the field of medicinal chemistry or chemical biology. The young researcher at the Institute of Chemistry and Biotechnology at the ZHAW in Wädenswil is one of the world's leading experts in the dynamically growing field of biocatalysis and enzyme engineering.

About us

The Competence Center for Biocatalysis (CCBIO) at the ZHAW promotes biocatalysis as a complementary method to classic organic synthesis and aims to help bridge the gap between academic laboratories and the production plant. By connecting relevant research competencies CCBIO strives to develop a comprehensive biocatalytic toolbox consisting of enzyme libraries and methods, which will facilitate the development of biocatalytic and biosynthetic processes for the chemical and pharmaceutical industry.

Structure and goals

The Competence Center of Biocatalysis (CCBIO) was founded in January 2016 and is led by Dr. Rebecca Buller, head of the Center for Biocatalysis, Environmental- and Process Technology. CCBIO is embedded in the ZHAW and operates the platform Biocatalysis and Biosynthesis within the National Thematic Network (NTN) Swiss Biotech. From 2017 to 2020 CCBIO led the network project «Innovation in Biocatalysis: A toolbox for sustainable bio-based production», a program supported by project contributions from the Swiss Higher Education Council. The section of Biocatalysis carries out several projects in close collaboration with academic and industrial partners.

Biocatalysis enables the sustainable production of chiral and highly functionalized compounds for the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. Recent developments in the field of DNA sequencing, gene synthesis and bioinformatics have enabled scientists to tailor biocatalysts to the needs of industry and to reorganize enzymes in biosynthetic pathways. This progress fueled the so-called «third wave of biocatalysis» and promises to unlock hitherto inaccessible enzyme activities for industrial biocatalysis and engineer microbial and fungal strains for the production of novel asset molecules.

The Competence Center for Biocatalysis and its members from various research disciplines provide the necessary know-how to master specific challenges in the field of biocatalysis together with industrial partners.

The goals are:

  • Establish biocatalysis as an alternative to classical chemical synthesis
  • Develop a comprehensive biocatalytic toolbox consisting of enzyme libraries and methods 
  • Facilitate the development of biocatalytic and biosynthetic processes for the chemical and pharmaceutical industry.
  • Establish a national platform for scientific knowledge transfer and dialog for participants from industry and academia
  • Strengthen the topic of biocatalysis within the teaching portfolio of Swiss Universities 


The section of biocatalysis works closely together with members of the Competence Center of Biocatalysis (CCBIO) and academic and industrial partners.


The center started operating in 2016 under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Rebecca Buller and tackles multidisciplinary research projects combining tools of chemistry and biology using the expertise of its members.

Before joining the ZHAW, Prof. Dr. Rebecca Buller was Laboratory Head and Project Manager at Firmenich, a flavour and fragrance company. In this role, she developed and optimized several biocatalysis based processes for the manufacture of asset molecules. Additionally, Prof. Dr. Buller brings in-depth knowledge of enzyme engineering through her academic research at ETH Zurich.

Prof. Dr. Rebecca Buller received her Diploma degree in Chemistry from the University of Münster and studied at the University of California in Santa Barbara. She holds a PhD degree from the Institute of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences at ETH Zurich.

Steering Committee

Advisory Board


Section Biocatalysis

Scientific meetings

4th CCBIO Symposium «Industrial Biocatalysis»

The «4th CCBIO Symposium on Industrial Biocatalysis» took place on June 8th, 2023 on the ZHAW campus in Wädenswil. We could host more than 130 participants!

A big thank you to all speakers, attendees, and partners for their contributions and engaged discussions on the future of biocatalysis! 

For more information about the speakers and their talks please check our Programme flyer of the 4th CCBIO Symposium on Industrial Biocatalysis(PDF 1,5 MB).