Expanding the biocatalytic toolbox

  • Thu 2 Feb 23

    13:00 - 14:00

  • Colchester Campus

    STEM 3.1

  • Event speaker

    Patricia Rodriguez Macia

  • Event type

    Lectures, talks and seminars

  • Event organiser

    Life Sciences, School of

  • Contact details

    Dr James Birrell

Investigating biocatalytic processes provides a source of knowledge and inspiration to design green catalytic processes and sustainable catalytic materials based on abundant and cheap metals.

Energy converting enzymes are capable of using earth-abundant metals in their active site to perform key chemical reactions at very fast rates, under ambient conditions and in a very efficient manner. These reactions, i.e. oxidation/production of H2, reduction of CO2 to CO and formate, and reduction of N2 to NH3, still represent big challenges for industry, and it is often difficult to synthesise catalysts with efficiencies similar to the natural enzymes.

Patricia Rodriguez Macia's group investigates both natural and artificial enzymes for their potential to be used in biotechnological applications, particularly the aforementioned energy conversion reactions. In this talk, Patricia will highlight some of the group's exciting recent findings and set out their future directions in this promising area.


Patricia Rodriguez earned her undergraduate degree in Chemistry from the University of Alicante (Spain). She conducted the final year of her undergraduate studies and her final project in Chemistry at Aarhus University (Denmark). She then moved to Germany with a prestigious Fellowship from the European Leonardo da Vinci programme to perform a practical project in the Leibniz-Institut für Verbundwerkstoffe GmbH (IVW) research institute.

In 2014, she started her PhD at the Biophysical Chemistry Department in the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion (MPI-CEC,) under Prof Wolfgang Lubitz’ supervision. Her doctoral work focused on employing electrochemistry and infrared spectroscopy to perform mechanistic studies on hydrogenases and bio-inspired synthetic catalysts, comparing the catalytic performance of bio-inspired catalysts and natural systems under the exact same conditions. Her PhD work was recognised by the Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award Ernst Haage Prize in 2017.

After completing her PhD, Patricia took up a postdoctoral position at the Inorganic Spectroscopy Department in MPI-CEC. In 2020, Patricia joined Prof Kylie Vincent’s group at the Chemistry Department in the University of Oxford as a Postdoctoral Research Associate (PDRA), where she expanded her interests to the development of infrared spectroelectrochemical techniques for metalloenzymes engaged in catalytic turnover as well as to single crystal infrared microspectroscopy. Since 2021, she has been appointed as a Glasstone Research Fellow in Inorganic Chemistry at the Chemistry Department in the University of Oxford.

How to attend

This seminar is being held in person in STEM 3.1 (STEM Centre on Square 1, Colchester campus). You can also watch via Zoom (meeting ID: 916 2270 2239)

If you have any queries about this seminar please email Dr James Birrell (james.birrell@essex.ac.uk).