Dr James Behrendorff

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PhD (The University of Queensland)

B.Sc. (Hons I) (University of Otago)

James Behrendorff is a synthetic biologist with academic and industrial experience. He is a CSIRO SynbioFSP research fellow at QUT, developing synthetic biology approaches for upcycling agricultural and industrial waste products. Identifying new ways to create economic value from waste streams is a key step in developing the circular economy.

Background James has broad experience in the synthetic biology disciplines of protein engineering and metabolic engineering provide the foundation for my research. He studied directed evolution of cytochrome P450 enzymes during his PhD and gained experience in microbial metabolic engineering during his first postdoc. Subsequently he worked for LanzaTech, Inc., engineering their proprietary gas-fermenting bacterium to produce valuable chemicals from industrial waste gases. More recently he was a Marie Curie research fellow at the University of Copenhagen where he applied my skills to studying and engineering plants, giving him a very broad range of experience when it comes to engineering different organisms.


Behrendorff, J. B. Y. H., Borràs-Gas, G., Pribil, M. (2020) Antimicrobial solid media for screening non-sterile Arabidopsis thaliana seeds. Physiol. Plant. https://doi.org/10.1111/ppl.13079 

Behrendorff, J. B. Y. H., Borràs-Gas, G., Pribil, M. (2019) Synthetic protein scaffolding at biological membranes. Trends Biotechnol. 38, pp. 432-446.

Behrendorff, J. B. Y. H., Sandoval-Ibañez, O. A., Sharma, A., Pribil, M. (2019) Membrane-bound protein scaffolding in diverse hosts using thylakoid protein CURT1A. ACS Synth. Biol. 8, pp. 611-620.

Lemgruber, R. S. P., Valgepea, K., Tappel, R., Behrendorff. J. B., Palfreyman, R. W., Plan, M.,Hodson, M. P., Simpson, S. D., Nielsen, L. K., Köpke, M., Marcellin, E. (2019) Systems-levelengineering and characterization of Clostridium autoethanogenum through heterologous production of poly-3-hydroxybutyrate (PHB). Metab. Eng. 53, pp. 14-23.

Gumulya, Y., Baek, J., Wun, S., Thomson, R., Harris, K., Hunter, D., Behrendorff, J., Kulig, J., Zheng., S., Wu, X., Wu, B., Stok, J., DeVoss, J., Schenk, G., Jurva, U., Andersson, S., Isin, E., Boden, M., Guddat, L., Gillam, E. (2018) Engineering highly functional thermostable proteins using ancestral sequence reconstruction. Nat. Catal. 1, pp. 878-888.

Mellor, S. B.*, Behrendorff, J. B. Y. H.*, Nielsen, A. Z., Jensen, P. E., Pribil, M. (2018) Nonphotosynthetic plastids as hosts for metabolic engineering. Essays Biochem. 62, pp. 41-50.

Valgepea, K., Lemgruber, R. S. P., Meaghan, K., Palfreyman, R. W., Abdalla, T., Heijstra, B. D., Behrendorff, J. B., Tappel, R., Köpke, M., Simpson, S. D., Nielsen, L. K., Marcellin, E. (2017) Maintenance of ATP homeostasis triggers metabolic shifts in gas-fermenting acetogens. Cell Systems, 4, pp. 505-515.

Valgepea, K., Loi, K. Q., Behrendorff, J. B., Lemgruber, R. de S. P., Plan, M., Hodson, M. P., Köpke, M., Nielsen, L. K., Marcellin, E. (2017) Arginine deiminase pathway provides ATP and boosts growth of the gas-fermenting acetogen Clostridium autoethanogenum. Metab. Eng. 41, pp. 202-211.

Behrendorff, J. B. Y. H. and Gillam, E. M. J. (2017) Prospects for applying synthetic biology to toxicology: future opportunities and current limitations for the repurposing of cytochrome P450 systems. Chem. Res. Toxicol. 30, 453-468.

Marcellin, E.*, Behrendorff, J. B.*, Nagaraju, S., DeTissera, S., Segovia, S., Palfreyman, R. W., Daniell, J., Licona-Cassani, C., Quek, L., Speight, R., Hodson, M. P., Simpson, S. D., Mitchell, W. P., Köpke, M., Nielsen, L. K. (2016) Low carbon fuels and commodity chemicals from waste gases –systematic approach to understand energy metabolism in a model acetogen. Green Chem. 18, pp. 3020-3028.

Behrendorff, J. B. Y. H., Huang, W., Gillam, E. M. J. (2015) Directed evolution of cytochrome P450 enzymes for biocatalysis: exploiting the catalytic versatility of enzymes with relaxed substrate specificity. Biochem. J., 467, pp. 1-15.

Vickers, C., Behrendorff, J. B. Y. H., Bongers, M., Brennan, T. C. R., Bruschi, M., Nielsen, L. K. (2015), Production of industrially relevant isoprenoid compounds in engineered microbes. In: Kamm B. (ed) Microorganisms in Biorefineries. Microbiology Monographs, vol 26. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

Bongers, M., Chrysanthopoulos, P. K., Behrendorff, J. B. Y. H., Hodson, M. P., Vickers, C. E., Nielsen, K. (2015) Systems analysis of methylerythritol-phosphate pathway flux in E. coli: insights into the role of oxidative stress and the validity of lycopene as an isoprenoid reporter metabolite. Microb. Cell Fact., 14, p. 193.

Behrendorff, J. B. Y. H., Johnston, W. A., and Gillam, E. M. J. (2014) Restriction enzyme-mediated DNA family shuffling. Methods Mol. Biol. 1179, pp. 175-187.

 Behrendorff, J. B. Y. H., Chrysanthopoulos, P., Vickers, C. E., Nielsen, L. K. (2013) 2,2-Diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl as a screening tool for recombinant monoterpene biosynthesis. Microb. Cell Fact., 12, p76.

Behrendorff, J. B. Y. H., Johnston, W. A., Gillam, E. M. J. (2013) DNA shuffling of cytochrome P450 enzymes. Methods Mol. Biol. 987, pp. 177-188.

Behrendorff, J. B. Y. H., Moore, C. D., Kim, K. H., Kim, D. H., Smith, C. A., Johnston, W. A., Yun, C.H., Yost, G. S., Gillam, E. M. J. (2012) Directed evolution reveals requisite sequence elements in the functional expression of P450 2F1 in E. coli. Chem. Res. Toxicol. 25, pp. 1964-1974.

Rowland, S. L., Lawrie, G. A., Behrendorff, J. B. Y. H., Gillam, E. M. J. (2012) Is the undergraduate research experience (URE) always best? The power of choice in a bifurcated practical stream for a large introductory biochemistry class. Biochem. Mol. Biol. Educ. 40, pp. 1539-3429.

Hunter, D. J. B., Behrendorff, J.B.Y.H., Johnston, W.A., Hayes, P.Y., Huang, W., Bonn, B., Hayes, M.A., De Voss, J.J., Gillam, E.M.J. (2011) Facile production of minor metabolites for drug development using a CYP3A shuffled library. Metab. Eng., 13, pp. 682-693.


Projects (Chief investigator)