Univ.Prof.i.R. Dipl.Ing. Dr.Techn. Helmut Schwab

Institute of Molecular Biotechnology,

Graz University of  Technology &

Austrian Centre of Industrial Biotechnology GmbH (ACIB)

University education:

1968 – 1973: Diploma study (degree “Dipl.Ing.”) on Technical Chemistry with specialization on Biochemistry/Biotechnology.

1976 – 1980: Doctoral thesis “Transfer of Plasmid-DNA into the bacterium Alcaligenes eutrophus H16″

Professional career:

1974 – 1985: Assistant at the Institute of Biotechnology of TU Graz (Graz University of 1979:

1979: 6 months period in industry (Vogelbusch GmbH, Vienna), Yeast fermentation at 200 m³ scale (continuous)

1983 – 1985: two years period in industry, establishing molecular genetics group, Sandoz (now Novartis) GmbH, Kundl

1985 – 2003: assistant/associate  professor at the Institute of Biotechnology, University of Technology, Graz.

1988: Habilitation: “Biotechnology with Special Emphasis on Gene Technology”

1995: Fulbright Senior Research Fellow, Sabbatical at the Center for Molecular Genetics, UCSD, La Jolla, CA

Since 2002: Foundation and leading (CEO) of SME “Molekulare Biotechnologie GmbH”

2003 – Sept 2015: Full Professor (chair) of Molecular Biotechnology at Graz University of Technology

Since Oct. 2015: officially retired, still active in research and teaching, part time employment at TU Graz

Since March 2017: Part time employment at Austrian Centre for Industrial Biotechnology – Key Researcher, PI for projects on Cell and protein engineering

Recent major research activities:

Research interests are focussed on molecular biotechnology and include heterologous gene expression (protein and metabolite production) in industrial microorganisms (bacteria, fungi) , molecular enzymology,  enzyme engineering and microbial cell engineering for cell factory construction, biological carbon dioxide fixation for bio-production of chemicals, fuels and biopolymers.  Projects funded by national (FWF, FFG, CDG) and international (EU) agencies as well as industry.

Various industry co-operation projects, mostly in the frame of the Austrian Center for Industrial Biotechnology (ACIB) and of the Christian Doppler Laboratories: Topics include recruiting and developing industrial enzymes, heterologous expression of proteins in bacteria and fungi, enzyme engineering by rational and random approaches.

2002-2009: Key Researcher at the Competence Centre “Applied Biocatalysis”

2010-2014: Head of Area “Protein Design and Engineering” and Key researcher of the 

Austrian Centre of Industrial Biotechnology (ACIB).

2015: Head of the Area “Bioprospecting and Synthetic Biology” of the Austrian Centre of Industrial Biotechnology (ACIB).

2015: retired from position as university professor, still active in different research projects, mainly in the frame of ACIB (industry cooperation)

Major activities in national und international bodies:

2002:-2008: Vice president & President of the Austrian Society for Biotechnology

Member of External Scientific Advisory Boards 

  • – Cell Factory Program of Framework V (EU)
  • – Competence Centre “White Biotechnology – Green Chemistry”, Finland
  • – “GENOMIK Transfer” program, Germany
  • – “Bielefeld Genome Network”

Editorial activities:

Editor of “Journal of Biotechnology”

Board of editors of  “Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology”

Editor of FEMS Microbiology Reviews (2011-2013)


2000: DSM Research award

2006: Dr. Wolfgang Houska Award , 1st Price (Team member)

2007: DSM Innovation Award

2009: Dr. Wolfgang Houska Award, recognition price (Team member)

Publications & Patents:

> 30 patent applications

> 140 publications in scientific journals

Molekulare Biotechnologie e.U.

Mariagrünerstraße 91

8043 Graz Austria