Meet the scientists researching at Goethe University: Chemist Martin Grininger

We wanted to know: Why did our scientists want to become scientists in the first place? What are they working on, and what do they still want to discover? You can read their answers to these questions and more – including how they motivate their working groups and what they could really do without – as part of this series, which successively introduces some of the people behind the research conducted at Goethe University.

Name: Prof. Dr. Martin Grininger
Profession: Chemist
Place of work: Institute for Organic Chemistry and Chemical Biology

Why did you become a scientist?

I am fascinated by the idea of being the first to gain insights into nature, and of building close-to-nature systems and processes based on my own creativity.

What are you currently working on?

We want to do chemistry using enzymes. For instance, we use the fatty acid synthase, which naturally synthesizes fatty acids in cells, to synthesize industrially and medically important hydrocarbons. To be able to do this, the fatty acid synthase must first be rebuilt and then introduced into microorganisms, such as baker’s yeast.

What do you still want to find out/discover?

How computer models can be used to accurately model and precisely rebuild enzymes. Tailoring enzymes today often yields imprecise results and a lot of trial and error is required to achieve a new desired function.

What does your ideal workday look like?

Maybe some teaching, but definitely with enough time to work on scientific questions.

What could you easily do without in your daily work?

One or two expert reports.

What I like about my job is…

…exchanging ideas with others who have different professional backgrounds.

How do you motivate your working group?

I often talk with my team about the potential discoveries and benefits that could await at the end of an arduous journey.

To me, Goethe University Frankfurt is…

… a good place for me to grow my science.

What should society know about your research? Are there common misconceptions, and if so, which?

Chemistry is not evil, it is the basis of all life.

Which famous personality would you like to swap days with?

With Belgian cyclist Wout van Aert.

How do you get your mind off research?

Outdoors with my family, at best involving sports.

Prof. Dr. Martin Grininger is member of the SCALE cluster project. The research cluster aims to use modern imaging techniques to uncover how cells organize themselves.

More information
on Prof. Grininger’s research topics is available here.

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