Pharmaceutical Biotechnology


Our Misson

The principal interests of our group encompass basic and applied research on the discovery and production of novel secondary metabolites by bacteria and medicinal plants. We focus on isolation, genome-based bioprospecting and genetic manipulation of bacteria known as prolific producers of secondary metabolites, as well as development of approaches to sustainable plant micropropagation and production of bioactive compounds by plant organ and cell cultures.


Major Topics

  • Isolation of bacteria from a variety of environments (medicinal plants, rhizospheres, sediments, bryozoa etc)
  • Bioprospecting (conventional and genome-based) for bioactive secondary metabolites from newly isolated bacteria
  • Synthetic biology and metabolic engineering for drug discovery
  • Application of plant tissue culture for in vitro propagation of rare and endangered medicinal plant species
  • Production of secondary metabolites using plant tissue culture
  • Maintenance of the medicinal plant garden and the greenhouse

Funded Projects

  • 2020 - 2024
    Research platform MetaBac (funded by the University of Vienna)
    Secondary Metabolomes of Bacterial Communities
    Joint project between Sergey B. Zotchev (platform leader), Alexander Loy, Thomas Rattei and Martin Zehl
  • 2020 - 2021
    Die Letzte ihrer Art - Einsatz von Biotechnologien im Artenschutz (A. Kodym)
    Support programme Kommunikation/18 - 22+ of the Wirtschaftsagentur Vienna
  • 2020 Apr-Oct
    In vitro Vermehrung von Wasabi und Safran (A. Kodym)
    Industrial collaboration project (PhytonIQ Wasabi GmbH, Oberwart, Austria)
  • 2019 - 2023
    FWF - Project Number P 32823-B
    Novel bacterial metabolites via synthetic biology
    Joint project between Department of Pharmacognosy, Mass Spectrometry Centre and Joint Genome Institute (USA).
  • 2019-2021
    Pilot Project for Interdisciplinary Research network
    Multidisciplinary approach to unravelling secondary metabolite biosynthesis within bacterial microbiome of the bryozoan Cristatella mucedo.
    Joint project between Sergey B. Zotchev and Thomas Rattei.
  • 2018 – 2020
    Austria Wirtschaftsservice - Project P1715748-WZP01
    Viennamycin Antibiotika.
  • 2018 – 2021
    FWF - Project Number P 30986-B32
    StrepStress.
    Joint project between Department of Pharmacognosy, Department of Microbiology and Ecosystem Science and Mass Spectrometry Centre.
  • 2017
    FFG Innovation Check Plus - Project No. 859008
    LED-Pflanzenlampe.
  • 2016 – 2018
    Pilot Project for Interdisciplinary Research network
    Microbial communities in marine sediments: preliminary analyses of diversity and secondary metabolite biosynthesis potential.
    Joint project between Sergey B. Zotchev, Gerhard Herndl & Judith M. Rollinger.
  • 2014 – 2018
    EU-FP7 - Project 613877
    STREPSYNTH: Rewiring the Streptomyces cell factory for cost-effective production of biomolecules.

Recent Publications