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Dr Stefanie Frank

Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship

School of Biosciences


Stefanie obtained her MSc in 2001 from the Friedrich-Schiller University Jena (Germany) and went on to work in the group of Prof David Becker (University College London) investigating the role of gap-junctional communication in wound healing. Stefanie joined Prof Martin Warren's group (Queen Mary University of London) as a PhD student in 2003 where she developed an interest in pathway engineering while investigating the mechanisms of enzymes along the anaerobic vitamin B12 synthesis route. The group moved to the University of Kent in 2005 where Stefanie completed her PhD in 2007. She continued onto a post-doctoral position where she investigated bacterial compartmentalization of pathways.

In June 2013, Stefanie was awarded a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship, enabling her to work on the engineering of bacterial microcompartments for recombinant protein production.

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Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository

Eastwood, T. et al. (2017). An enhanced recombinant amino-terminal acetylation system and novel in vivo high-throughput screen for molecules affection alpha-synuclein oligomerisation. FEBS letters [Online] 591:833-841. Available at:
Liang, M. et al. (2017). Bacterial microcompartment-directed polyphosphate kinase promotes stable polyphosphate accumulation in E. coli. Biotechnology Journal [Online] 12:1600415. Available at:
Mayer, M. et al. (2016). Effect of bio-engineering on size, shape, composition and rigidity of bacterial microcompartments. Scientific Reports [Online] 6:36899. Available at:
Widner, F. et al. (2016). Total Synthesis, Structure, and Biological Activity of Adenosylrhodibalamin, the Non-Natural Rhodium Homologue of Coenzyme B12. Angewandte Chemie International Edition [Online] 55:11281-11286. Available at:
Lee, M. et al. (2016). Employing bacterial microcompartment technology to engineer a shell-free enzyme-aggregate for enhanced 1,2-propanediol production in Escherichia coli. Metabolic Engineering [Online] 36:48-56. Available at:
Jameson, E. et al. (2015). Anaerobic choline metabolism in microcompartments promotes growth and swarming of Proteus mirabilis. Environmental Microbiology [Online] 18:2886-2898. Available at:
Lawrence, A. et al. (2014). Solution Structure of a Bacterial Microcompartment Targeting Peptide and Its Application in the Construction of an Ethanol Bioreactor. ACS Synthetic Biology [Online] 3:454-465. Available at:
Frank, S. et al. (2013). Bacterial microcompartments moving into a synthetic biological world. Journal of Biotechnology [Online] 163:273-279. Available at:
Moore, S. et al. (2013). Elucidation of the anaerobic pathway for the corrin component of cobalamin (vitamin B12). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences [Online] 110:14906-14911. Available at:
Parsons, J. et al. (2010). Synthesis of Empty Bacterial Microcompartments, Directed Organelle Protein Incorporation, and Evidence of Filament-Associated Organelle Movement. Molecular Cell [Online] 38:305-315. Available at:
Heldt, D. et al. (2009). Structure of a trimeric bacterial microcompartment shell protein, EtuB, associated with ethanol utilization inClostridium kluyveri. Biochemical Journal [Online] 423:199-207. Available at:
Parsons, J. et al. (2008). Biochemical and Structural Insights into Bacterial Organelle Form and Biogenesis. Journal of Biological Chemistry [Online] 283:14366-14375. Available at:
Frank, S. et al. (2007). Elucidation of substrate specificity in the cobalamin (vitamin B12) biosynthetic methyltransferases. Structure and function of the C20 methyltransferase (CbiL) from Methanothermobacter thermautotrophicus. Journal of Biological Chemistry [Online] 282:23957-23969. Available at:
Coutinho, P. et al. (2005). Limiting burn extension by transient inhibition of Connexin43 expression at the site of injury. British Journal of Plastic Surgery [Online] 58:658-667. Available at:
Frank, S. et al. (2005). Anaerobic synthesis of vitamin B12: characterization of the early steps in the pathway. Biochemical Society Transactions [Online] 33:811-814. Available at:
Coutinho, P. et al. (2003). Dynamic changes in connexin expression correlate with key events in the wound healing process. Cell Biology International [Online] 27:525-541. Available at:
Qiu, C. et al. (2003). Targeting connexin43 expression accelerates the rate of wound repair. Current Biology [Online] 13:1697-703. Available at:
Total publications in KAR: 17 [See all in KAR]
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My research interests include prokaryotic compartmentalisation, macromolecular assemblies, protein-protein interactions, protein structure/function, metabolic pathway engineering, synthetic biology and imaging.

Bacterial microcompartments (BMC) are large macromolecular protein assemblies that facilitate the separation of metabolic processes from other activities in the cell in order to avoid cell damage through toxic intermediates and improve pathway efficiency. I am particularly interested in the function, assembly and spatial arrangement of such bacterial microcompartments and their potential for biotechnological applications. My work is based on engineering recombinant microcompartments in E. coli. I use molecular biology, biochemistry and microscopy (TEM, AFM, live cell imaging) methods to study and manipulate the composition of microcompartments with the idea to direct specific enzymes to the BMC and to produce bioreactors, that are adaptable for specific metabolic processes.

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Membership/administrative role on committees:

  • 2013 Researcher Development Working Group (RDWG) (faculty representative)
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Enquiries: Phone: +44 (0)1227 823743

School of Biosciences, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NJ

Last Updated: 21/03/2014