“Artificial intelligence will play a key role for biotechnology”


In her master’s thesis, which has received two awards, the biotechnologist Laura Helleckes shows the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) for a more efficient development of bioprocesses. The researcher developed her fascination for microbial processes at school, which prompted her to study biotechnology at RWTH Aachen University. Important milestones in her career were a semester abroad in Helsinki and her final thesis at Forschungszentrum Jülich. There, as a member of the Microbial Bioprocess Lab, she is continuing this research in her doctoral studies with a focus on laboratory automation and process modeling.


In a bioprocess, microorganisms or their components are used to produce chemical or biological products. Helleckes wants to understand these processes in detail. For the researcher, the solution is digitalization. “AI and especially the sub-area of machine learning will be a key for biotechnology,” she says. Laboratory robots supply so much data that manual evaluation becomes impossible. With the help of AI, this data can now be used in the course of a bioprocess and not just after it has been completed. Helleckes employs her models to analyze this data and then uses this knowledge to create optimized bioprocesses.

Photo: Research Center Jülich / Ralf-Uwe Limbach


The green revolution

Undreamed-of opportunities: Biotechnology has a long history and is one of the key sciences of the 21st century.


The power of microorganisms

Natural bacteria, fungi, and cells easily conduct complicated reactions that technical chemistry fails to accomplish.

Artificial photosynthesis

How new chemicals are being made from CO₂

Evonik and Siemens produce specialty chemicals from electricity and carbon dioxide with the help of electrolysis and bacteria.


Growth thanks to biotechnology

Is biotechnology a booster for the economy? Which sectors are benefiting from these innovations? An outlook in figures.

ELEMENTS Newsletter
Get fascinating insights into the research Evonik is conducting, and its social relevance, by subscribing to our free newsletter.