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Professor Eriko Takano

Professor of Synthetic Biology

+44 (0)161 306 4419

Manchester Institute of Biotechnology
Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Manchester
131 Princess Street
Manchester, M1 7DN

Prof. Eriko Takano has an internationally leading position in the field of small signalling molecules in Streptomyces coelicolor, the model organism of the major group of commercial antibiotic producers. She has been working in both industrial and academic Streptomyces antibiotic research for 26 years.

She studied pharmacy at Kitasato University, School of Pharmacy, Tokyo, Japan. After working as a researcher at the Department of Genetics of Meiji Seika Kaisha, Yokohama, Japan, for four years, she moved to the John Innes Center, Norwich, UK, where she obtained her PhD from the University of East Anglia in 1994 and worked as a postdoc in the Molecular Microbiology department until 2002.

After three years as Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology / Biotechnology, University of Tübingen, Germany, she was appointed as a Rosalind Franklin Fellow in Microbial Physiology at the Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute (GBB), University of Groningen, The Netherlands in 2006 and as an Associate Professor in Synthetic Microbiology at 2010.

Since September 2012 she is Professor of Synthetic Biology at the University of Manchester, Faculty of Life Sciences, Manchester Institute of Biotechnology. In 2014 she was appointed as the Biotechnology and Synthetic Biology Research Theme Director of the Faculty and the director for the newly funded SYNBIOCHEM, BBSRC-EPSRC Synthetic Biology Research Centre at the University of Manchester.

Present and past funding include STW (the Dutch Research Agency, Technology Foundation), NWO (The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research), BE-Basic, EraSysBio SysMO-STREAM, EUFP6 ActinoGEN, DFG, BBSRC, ERA-IB, TSB.

Research interests

Prof Takano has been working in the field of antibiotics throughout her academic and industrial career, on elucidating the regulatory elements of antibiotic production and in consequence for higher yield.

Currently, her group is focussing on the use of synthetic biology for the large-scale genome-based re-engineering of antibiotic production, awakening “sleeping” antibiotic biosynthesis gene clusters discovered in newly sequenced microbial genomes. Using and redesigning the enzymes and microbes found in nature the group aim at expanding chemical diversity and biotechnological efficiency, while avoiding the negative environmental impact of classical organic chemistry at the industrial scale. This synthetic biology approach brings together expertise from molecular microbiology and many other disciplines, reaching out towards chemistry, computing science, and engineering.