Faculty of Engineering

Image of Anca Pordea

Anca Pordea

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Engineering



I am a member of the Sustainable Process Technologies (SPT) Research Group.

I graduated from the National Institute of Applied Research (INSA) in Rouen (France) in 2004, with a Master Degree in Fine Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. I completed my PhD in Neuchâtel (Switzerland) in 2008, working on the development of enantioselective catalytic reactions by using artificial metalloenzymes, with Prof. Thomas R. Ward. After the PhD, I was awarded a Swiss National Science Foundation fellowship to work on the chemical modification of subtilisin in Oxford (UK). In 2010, I took a postdoctoral position in Neuchâtel, where I worked on the development of organocatalysts. I joined the University of Nottingham in 2012 as a lecturer.

Expertise Summary

The group's scientific interest lays in the design of enzymes for organic chemical transformations, with applications in fine chemical synthesis and in the functionalisation of complex organic molecules. Our research covers the following areas:

- Incorporation of metal-based chemical catalysts into protein scaffolds (artificial metalloenzymes)

- Design of enzymes for non-natural chemical transformations

- Application of artificial metalloenzymes to prodrug activation

We have expertise in the synthesis and catalytic applications of ligands and metal complexes compatible with proteins, bioconjugation of small molecules to proteins, expression and purification of recombinant enzymes and characterisation of modified metalloproteins.

Teaching Summary

I teach two modules in the chemical engineering curriculum:

- Separation Processes 1, second year module, autumn semester. We study the design of gas-liquid separation equipment (distillation columns, absorbers); and solid-liquid-gas (dryers). We also look at equipment used in bioseparation trains;

- Advanced Biochemical Engineering, fourth year module, spring semester. We study the design of reactors for enzymatic transformations (kinetics of soluble and immobilised enzymes) and the design of fermenters. Bioseparation equipment for protein purification is also studied.

Research Summary

The development of new and efficient catalysts for the synthesis of complex molecules is an ongoing need in the chemical industry. Both enzymatic and chemical catalysts offer advantages and raise… read more

Selected Publications

Current Research

The development of new and efficient catalysts for the synthesis of complex molecules is an ongoing need in the chemical industry. Both enzymatic and chemical catalysts offer advantages and raise challenges. Enzymes can be engineered to perform useful transformations, but modifications are never too far from the natural world. On the other hand, chemical catalysts offer novel reactivities, but their selectivities are difficult to control. Chemical modification of proteins to introduce chemo-catalytic functionalities within a biomolecule is an exciting tool to expand enzymes' functionality space.

We are interested in combining chemical and enzymatic catalysis, by designing hybrid chemo-enzymatic catalysts (artificial metalloenzymes) to perform reactions that are not common in nature. Current projects include:

- chemical modification of alcohol dehydrogenases with non-natural metal catalysts, for the regeneration of NAD(P)H

- introduction of non-natural metalloporphyrins into P450, to catalyse C-H insertions

- artificial metalloenzymes for prodrug activation

Future Research

I welcome enquiries from potential PhD candidates from Home, EU and international countries who are interested in the following research areas: catalysis, biocatalysis, enzyme engineering, artificial metalloenzymes, rational design.

Faculty of Engineering

The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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