Welcome to the Helfrich lab

We are part of the Institute of Molecular Bioscience at Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Germany and the LOEWE Center for Translational Biodiversity Genomics. Our interdisciplinary team works at the interface of bioinformatics, microbiology, molecular biology, chemical ecology, synthetic biology, analytical and organic chemistry. We develop tools and workflows for the identification of novel bioactive metabolites from a wide variety of bacterial phyla and diverse ecological niches. In addition, we are interested in deciphering the genetic blueprints that govern their biosynthesis and aim at understanding the role of the identified natural products in their native environment.

Our technologies & platforms

Natural Product Biosynthesis

We study the biosynthesis of unusual natural products and decipher universal biosynthetic principles that can be used to identify other members of the natural product class/family.

Genome Mining

We decipher biosynthetic principles for poorly studied classes/families of natural products and develop bioinformatic platforms for the annotation of natural product biosynthetic pathways and the prediction of the structures of the associated metabolites based on genome sequence information.

Chemical Ecology

We study ecological niches that are likely shaped by the production of natural products with a particular bioactivity and use a hypothesis-driven, function-first approach for the targeted identification of these metabolites.

Open positions

We are constantly looking for talented scientists at all levels to join our team.

Our latest publications

Atropopeptides are a Novel Family of Ribosomally Synthesized and Posttranslationally Modified Peptides with a Complex Molecular Shape | Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. | 2022

Complex peptide natural products: Biosynthetic principles, challenges and opportunities for pathway engineering | Synth Syst Biotechnol | 2022

Bacillimidazoles A−F, Imidazolium-Containing Compounds Isolated from a Marine Bacillus I Mar. Drugs I 2022

Modular Halogenation, α-Hydroxylation, and Acylation by a Remarkably Versatile Polyketide Synthase I Angew. Chem.Int. Ed. I 2022

Our partners & collaborators