Department of Chemistry and Materials Science

Bioorganic Chemistry

Complex organic synthesis based on biological & chemoenzymatic strategies


Our research areas:

  1. Organic Synthesis

  2. Enzyme Catalysis

  3. Synthetic Biology

As one of the core disciplines within the chemical sciences, organic chemistry provides the enabling tools for today's chemical industry to address pivotal societal challenges by means of pharmaceutical and agrochemical technologies. Here, the implementation of biological instruments, arising from the enormous progress in modern biotechnology in recent years, offers new opportunities en route to improved synthetic strategies with regard to selectivity, resource-efficiency and cascade design. Combining techniques of contemporary organic chemistry, catalysis and biotechnology, our group provides the interdisciplinary environment to tackle the challenges of modern synthesis from the basic method development to applications in the preparation of natural products.

For more detailed information about our research activities visit


The team:

Prof Jan Deska

Head of the Research Group: Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Jan Deska

Biography: Jan Deska was born on May 27, 1979 in Quierschied, Germany. He received his diploma in Chemistry (2004) and his Dr. rer. nat. (2007) from Saarland University, Germany under supervision of Prof. Uli Kazmaier (topic: novel methods for metal-mediated peptide backbone modifications). From 2007 to 2010, he conducted postdoctoral studies in the groups of Prof. Goverdhan Mehta (IISc Bangalore, India, topic: total synthesis of phaeofuran A) and Prof. Jan-E. Bäckvall (Stockholm University, Sweden, topic: dynamic-kinetic resolution of axially chiral allenes). In 2010, Deska joined Cologne University, Germany, as Liebig junior group leader establishing his independent research in the field of Synthetic Biocatalysis. Additionally, in 2014/2015, he held the position of teaching substitute professor (chair for Organic Chemistry I) at RWTH Aachen University, Germany. In August 2015, Deska was appointed as Associate Professor to Aalto University where he is currently heading the research group of Synthetic Organic Chemistry.  

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Natural catalysts convert simple biorefinery chemicals into high-value functional synthetic building blocks.

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Latest publications:

Beyond hydrophobicity: how F4-TCNQ doping of the hole transport material improves stability of mesoporous triple-cation perovskite solar cells

Maning Liu, Staffan Dahlström, Christian Ahläng, Sebastian Wilken, Aleksandr Degterev, Anastasia Matuhina, Mahboubeh Hadadian, Magnus Markkanen, Kerttu Aitola, Aleksi Kamppinen, Jan Deska, Oliver Mangs, Mathias Nyman, Peter D. Lund, Jan Henrik Smått, Ronald Österbacka, Paola Vivo 2022 Journal of Materials Chemistry A

Anti-Angiogenic Effect of Cantharellus cibarius Extracts, its Correlation with Lipoxygenase Inhibition, and Role of the Bioactives Therein

Sandesh J. Marathe, Wahiba Hamzi, Abdulla M. Bashein, Jan Deska, Tuulikki Seppänen-Laakso, Rekha S. Singhal, Salem Shamekh 2022 Nutrition and Cancer

Cascade Catalysis Through Bifunctional Lipase Metal Biohybrids for the Synthesis of Enantioenriched O-Heterocycles from Allenes

Janne M. Naapuri, Noelia Losada-Garcia, Robin Alexander Rothemann, Manuel Carmona Pichardo, Martin H.G. Prechtl, Jose M. Palomo, Jan Deska 2022 ChemCatChem

Enzymatic Bromocyclization of α- and γ-Allenols by Chloroperoxidase from Curvularia inaequalis

Janne M. Naapuri, Philip K. Wagner, Frank Hollmann, Jan Deska 2022 ChemistryOpen

Investigation on mycelial growth requirements of Cantharellus cibarius under laboratory conditions

Shweta Deshaware, Sandesh J. Marathe, Dattatray Bedade, Jan Deska, Salem Shamekh 2021 Archives of Microbiology

In silico characterization of bacterial chitinase : illuminating its relationship with archaeal and eukaryotic cousins

Bhramar Dutta, Jan Deska, Rajib Bandopadhyay, Salem Shamekh 2021 Journal of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology

Methanol-Driven Oxidative Rearrangement of Biogenic Furans – Enzyme Cascades vs. Photobiocatalysis

Christina Jäger, Cloé Bruneau, Philip K. Wagner, Martin H.G. Prechtl, Jan Deska 2021 Frontiers in Chemistry

Arylative Allenol Cyclization via Sequential One-pot Enzyme & Palladium Catalysis

Janne M. Naapuri, Gustav A. Åberg, Jose M. Palomo, Jan Deska 2021 ChemCatChem
More information on our research in the Research database.
Research database
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