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Engineering Biology in Cambridge



I have completed my Bachelor's degree in Biotechnology at the University of Edinburgh. I have moved to Cambridge in 2014 to study for a PhD as a part of the BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnership. After completing two rotation projects, I have started my PhD research supervised by Prof. Paul Dupree at the Department of Biochemistry. My main research interests are understanding the molecular structure of plant biomass and developing genetic engineering approaches to alter it. My recent work focused on understanding cell wall features that make biomass hard to digest and characterising softwood enzymes involved in biosynthesis of these recalcitrance determining factors. I am currently interested in developing synthetic biology tools enabling specific engineering of wood structure in trees.


Synthetic biology, molecular biology, plant biology and genetic engineering, bioenergy, plant cell wall biology, microbial biotechnology, high magnification imaging of natural materials - especially scanning electron microscopy of timber.


Key publications: 

Lyczakowski JJ, Wicher KB, Terrett OM, Faria-Blanc N, Yu X, Brown D, Krogh KBRM, Dupree P, Busse-Wicher M. (2017) Removal of glucuronic acid from xylan is a strategy to improve the conversion of plant biomass to sugars for bioenergy. Biotechnol Biofuels. 19;10:224.

Grantham NJ, Wurman-Rodrich J, Terrett OM, Lyczakowski JJ, Stott K, Iuga D, Simmons TJ, Durand-Tardif M, Brown SP, Dupree R, Busse-Wicher M, Dupree P. (2017) An even pattern of xylan substitution is critical for interaction with cellulose in plant cell walls. Nat Plants 3(11):859-865.

Lewicka AJ, Lyczakowski JJ et al. (2014) Fusion of Pyruvate Decarboxylase and Alcohol Dehydrogenase Increases Ethanol Production in Escherichia coli. ACS Synth. Biol. 3 (12):976–978.

PhD Student
 Jan  Lyczakowski

Contact Details

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Departments and institutes: