Prof. Dr. Eric J. N. Helfrich

Prof. Dr. Eric J. N. Helfrich

Principal Investigator

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Eric was born in 1987 and grew up South of Frankfurt. He obtained his B. Sc. in Molecular Biomedicine from the University of Bonn, Germany. During his Bachelor studies in the Piel lab, Eric was first introduced into the world of natural products and in particular to trans-acyltransferase polyketide synthases (trans-AT PKSs). He then moved to Jena, Germany, for his M. Sc. in Chemical Biology. Eric spent part of his Master studies in the Moore and Dorrestein labs at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Skaggs School of Pharmacy (University of California at San Diego) in La Jolla, California, before returning to Jena to join the Hertweck lab for his Master thesis focusing natural products produced by symbiotic Cyanobacteria and anaerobic bacteria. He then re-joined the Piel lab, this time at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, Switzerland, for his PhD studies. His PhD work focused on deciphering the biosynthetic principles of trans-AT PKSs. The biosynthesis of polyketides produced by these giant mega-enzyme complexes was only poorly studied at the time. Funded by a SNF Postdoc Mobility fellowship, Eric then joined the Clardy lab at Harvard Medical School in Boston for his postdoctoral studies where he worked on ecology-inspired strategies for the identification of bioactive natural products. In October 2020, Eric was appointed Professor of Natural Products Genomics at Goethe University Frankfurt (Institute of Molecular Biosciences) and the LOEWE Center for Translational Biodiversity Genomics (LOEWE TBG). The work of his team centers around the identification and characterization of non-canonical biosynthetic pathways that are currently overlooked by state-of-the-art genome mining platforms.

Open positions

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