Dr Guangcai Xu

Guangcai obtained his Bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University and the University of Liverpool (2+2 programme) in 2012. He continued his master studies at the University of Liverpool (2013). Afterward, he moved to Suzhou (China) to work on industrial biocatalysis. In 2017, he joined the research group of Prof. Gerrit J. Poelarends at the University of Groningen (The Netherlands) to pursue his doctoral degree. During his doctoral studies he worked on the design and directed evolution of enzymes for iminium catalysis. In 2021, he moved to the University of Manchester, as a postdoctoral research associate in the Micklefield group, working on amide-bond forming ligases.


  1. Xu, G.J. Poelarends. Unlocking New Reactivities in Enzymes by Iminium Catalysis. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2022, 61, e202203613.
  2. Xu, A. Kunzendorf, M. Crotti, H.J. Rozeboom, A.M.H. Thunnissen, G.J. Poelarends. Gene Fusion and Directed Evolution to Break Structural Symmetry and Boost Catalysis by an Oligomeric C-C Bond-Forming Enzyme. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2022, 61, e202113970.
  3. Kunzendorf, G. Xu, J.J.H. van der Velde, H.J. Rozeboom, A.M.H. Thunnissen, and G.J. Poelarends. Unlocking Asymmetric Michael Additions in an Archetypical Class I Aldolase by Directed Evolution. ACS Catal. 2021, 11, 13236-13243.
  4. Kunzenforf, G. Xu, M. Saifuddin, T. Saravanan, G.J. Poelarends. Biocatalytic Asymmetric Cyclopropanations via Enzyme-Bound Iminium Ion Intermediates. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2021, 60, 24059-24063.
  5. Xu, M. Crotti, T. Saravanan, K.M. Kataja, G.J. Poelarends. Enantiocomplementary Epoxidation Reactions Catalyzed by an Engineered Cofactor-Independent Non-natural Peroxygenase. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2020, 59, 10374-10378.


(co-first author)