Excellence Prize

Renowned enzyme scientist receives prestigious award

DTU Professor Anne S. Meyer takes inspiration from nature to create new enzymes. Her work can contribute to a more sustainable use of natural resources through the production of healthier foods and creating value for people and society. Now she has been honoured with the Nils Foss Excellence Prize 2023.

 Anne S. Meyer conduct her research into reactions catalyzed by enzymes. Photo: Mikal Schlosser.
Anne S. Meyer plans each experiment in detail and works closely with the students. Photo: Mikal Schlosser.

Circular thinking

She believes that enzymes are essential to improving our health and nutrition at a time when we are facing global challenges such as malnutrition, overnutrition, and hunger as well as climate change and a lack of resources. By using the biological catalysts, you can recycle nature’s own materials and produce everything from food to climate solutions and materials in a sustainable way.

Today, she works on major research projects with both companies and other universities in Denmark and abroad. One of the projects is funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation and aims to find out how best to recycle the side streams from different industries to transition to a more sustainable society.

In the project, Anne S. Meyer conducts research into turning basically worthless pulp from beets into new materials and valuable dietary fibre with health-promoting properties. The dietary fibres can help improve people’s health. And the cellulose from the beets can be used to make new materials, replacing plastic or clothing. This way, the materials can be reused again and again.

Another project is developing new biotechnological methods for creating sustainable plant-based foods as an alternative to animal protein sources. She is also involved in developing enzyme-based process strategies to replace chemical modification of potato starch.

The researchers have taken a new approach specializing in enzymes that modify carbohydrates found in nature. Specifically, the DTU researchers are working on a project in which enzymes are used to design molecules that are copies of the carbohydrates found in breast milk. This will help strengthen children’s immune systems.

Enzymatic processes can prevent diseases

When asked about the future prospects of enzyme research, Anne S. Meyer says that she feels that we are on the verge of taking the big next step. If we can make better use of nature and understand how enzymes work, we can help create a better world:

“We’re looking at a future where we need to develop healthier foods, where people aren’t just healthy, but also actively healthy and live longer without diseases. In addition to producing foods with less fat, sugar, and salt, there’s also an increased interest in producing products containing high levels of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, dietary fibre, etc. Dietary fibres can help prevent diseases by improving our entire intestinal bacteria system, which has proven really important for the health of both children and adults.”

Read more about Nils Foss Excellence Pris

Read more about enzymes. 

Anne Meyer is 60 years old and lives in Copenhagen with her husband Morten Meyer. They have three children.

2018- Professor, Head of Section Protein Chemistry & Enzyme Technology, DTU Bioengineering
2017-2019 Visiting Professor, Dept. Chemical and Biomolecular Eng., University of Melbourne, Australia
2006-2018 Professor, Head of Center for BioProcess Engineering, DTU Chemical Engineering
1998-2006 Associate Professor, DTU Systems Biology
1995; 2001 International research stays: UC Davis, California, USA, 1995-1996; 2000-2001.
1987-1998 PhD student, scientific assistant, assistant professor, all at DTU Systems Biology

Contact

Anne Merete Boye Strunge Meyer

Anne Merete Boye Strunge Meyer Professor Department of Biotechnology and Biomedicine Phone: +45 45252598