Team

Mart Loog

Professor of Molecular Systems Biology

Mart received PhD in medicinal biochemistry from Uppsala University, followed by postdoctoral training at University of California, San Francisco. In 2015 he was awarded the European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grant and became a principal coordinator of a H2020 ERA Chair projects SynBioTEC and GasFermTEC to establish the multidisciplinary Estonian Centre for Synthetic Biology.  Mart’s research directions include regulation of eukaryotic cell cycle, synthetic circuit design and systems biology of regulatory networks. He is leading a laboratory of 20 people and is also actively leading the innovative undergraduate and graduate programs in synthetic biology.

Siim Salmar

Senior Scientist in Wood Chemistry

Siim has a strong background in physical organic chemistry as well in material science, ultrasound-assisted chemistry and molecular modelling of solutions of organic molecules. He is expert in wood biomass analysis. His expertise is currently focused on valorizing wood lignin.

Lauri Vares

Senior Scientist and Group Leader

Lauri has a strong background in synthetic organic chemistry both from academia and industry (AstraZeneca). He has published >30 articles in peer reviewed journals, has an owner of one patent and is an author in two patent applications. Has is currently leading several international projects related to green chemistry and developing novel materials from lignocellulosic biomass.

Prof. Patric Jannasch is one of the Europa’s leading expert on polymer sciences. His main research interests are: molecular design, synthesis, and characterization of polymers, structure – morphology – property relationships of polymers, ionic polymers, polymer self-assembly, polymer blends and composites, charge transport properties of polymers, polymer electrolytes and membranes, fuel cells and batteries, bio-based monomers and polymers from renewable resources. He has published over 100 highly ranked papers, is an coauthor in 12 patents and has supervised 12 PhD thesis.

Petri-Jaan Lahtvee

Senior Scientist
ERA Chair in Synthetic Biology

Petri-Jaan Lahtvee is leading the ERA Chair in Synthetic Biology reasearch group at University of Tartu, where they have mainly focussed on designing cell factories for the valorization of lignocellulose-based substrates and they are using multi-omic analysis for determination of genotype-phenotype associations.

Ilona Faustova

Research Fellow in Molecular Biology, PhD

Ilona Faustova defended her PhD in bio-organic chemistry in 2013. She has strong background in enzyme catalysis and kinetic analysis. Ilona has been the key figure behind establishing the innovative international curriculum “Science & Technology”, and the master’s program “Bioengineering” that combine chemistry, material science, synthetic biology, and engineering. Her current focus is to further develop the bioengineering master’s program and the new wood technologies focused PhD program to meet industries needs for specialists in biomass conversion, wood bioprocessing and wood chemistry. Ilona is also the initiator and the leader of iGEM Estonia team, taking part in the largest student competition in synthetic biology initiated by MIT. The iGEM Estonia team has won two silver medals for projects aimed to design microbial strains capable of using wood-derived lignocellulosic sugars for production of high-value chemicals.

Jaak Järv

Professor of Organic Chemistry
Member of tha Academy of Sciences of Estonia

Jaak Järv, PhD (Organic Chemistry, 1976), Doctor of Chemical Sciences (Physical Biochemistry, 1990), Professor of Bioorganic Chemistry and later Organic Chemistry at the University of Tartu (from 1991), Member of the Estonian Academy of Sciences (1997). The main research interests are focused on the mechanism of action, design and synthesis of bioactive compounds, the study of the structure and function of natural compounds, and the mechanism and specificity of biocatalysis.

Kaspar Valgepea

Senior Scientist
ERA Chair in Gas Fermentation Technologies

Kaspar has a strong background in gas fermentation technologies and systems biology. He has published articles in leading journals of the field and also collaborated with the leading biotechnology industry LanzaTech and Genomatica. He is currently leading the development of gas fermentation technologies and systems and synthetic biology tools for sustainable production of fuels and chemicals from waste feedstocks within GasFermTEC.

Kait-Kaarel Puss

PhD student in wood chemistry

Kait Kaarel Puss has a background in enzyme kinetics and biochemistry. He is doing his Graduate studies at the Wood Chemistry and Bioprocessing Core Laboratory in collaboration with Graanul Biotech. The goal of this project is to effectively valorize lignocellulosic biomass in industrial applications.