Arno Fricke

Biography:

I was always interested in natural sciences and finished school with biology as one of my major subjects. To pursue this interest I started my bachelor’s degree in biology at the Philipps-Universität Marburg. After the general introduction I specialised with coursework in microbiology, cell biology and genetics. During that time I also joined the iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine) competition with a team of students from different research backgrounds. The competition was a great chance to develop our own research project from scratch to present at the final presentation in Boston along with more than 200 other teams from around the world (http://2014.igem.org/Team:Marburg).

My bachelor thesis comprised of the characterization of enzymes from anaerobic lactate fermenting bacteria. During that time I also came to the understanding that I am more interested in application driven research, therefore I started my master in biotechnology at the University of Münster. My coursework featured various aspects of biotechnology from protein characterization, bio-nanotechnology, bioinformatics, fermentation to project management and patent law. To underline the application driven focus of my studies I joined the Cilian AG (http://www.cilian.com/) for my master thesis. Throughout my master studies I actively participated in the btS (biotechnologische Studenteninitiative, https://gs.bts‑ev.de/muenster) student initiative, first as a member helping to organise various projects like panel discussions, industry excursions and lectures and later as a board member of the Münster branch.

In early 2017 I joined the NEWTRIENTS project as a PhD student.  This project comprises key features I am interested in, like working in an interdisciplinary team of researchers on an application driven project to develop new sustainable solutions for the dairy industry.

Research interests:

I am particularly interested in the development of sustainable solutions for the industry. One way to transform the sector is to change from a linear approach towards circular systems and to use renewable sources compared to crude oil. My first contact with this field of research was during my master studies where I was working on the bacterial degradation of used rubber tires to create reusable platform molecules. These basic principles can also be applied to other industries like the dairy industry in the NEWTRIENTS project.

In order to realise this transformation process it is essential to gather expertise from different disciplines to tackle these problems from different angles. Ever since my first contact with interdisciplinary work during my time as part of the iGEM team Marburg 2014, I enjoy the benefits of working in these teams and expanding the horizon of my own research.

Another major responsibility of today’s research is the inclusion of the general public. In order to change towards a sustainable society it is key to inform people about the current progress and to raise awareness towards the problems we are facing in our modern world. In the case of the NEWTRIENTS project, we are trying to develop a circular economy approach for dairy processing wastewater. This approach could generate value added products like PHB bioplastic and protein rich duckweed as a feedstock, while cleaning the wastewater to a level it could enter a natural water body.