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  • Welcome to the Hammer research group

    We aim to design, evolve, understand and apply enzymes for new catalytic reactions.

    © Universität Bielefeld


New catalytic reactions by directed enzyme evolution

Our research group combines methods from organic chemistry, protein biochemistry and directed evolution to design, apply and understand new enzyme function. Completely new catalytic reactions can be envisioned in enzymes, because their macromolecular structure enables a very high level of molecular recognition to control catalytic cycles. Reaction discovery and development in enzyme active sites benefit from the ability to precisely bind substrates in defined conformations, to guide competing reactions pathways and to control highly reactive intermediates such as carbocations and radicals.

We aim to develop a new class of catalysts for synthetic organic chemistry that is protein-based, fully genetically encoded and catalyzes fundamental C-C, C-N and C-O bond formations that do not have a good catalytic solution. These new enzymes will potentially be applied in organic synthesis, increase our understanding in enzymology and can expand the metabolism in living organisms.


Selected Publications

Engineered enzymes enable selective N‐alkylation of pyrazoles with simple haloalkanes

Bengel LL, Aberle B, Egler-Kemmerer AN, Kienzle S, Hauer B, Hammer SC, Angew Chem Int Ed2021, 60, 5554. This research article has been highlighted in Synfacts and as HOT Paper by Angewandte Chemie.


Asymmetric Enzymatic Hydration of Unactivated, Aliphatic Alkenes

Demming RM, Hammer SC, Nestl BM, Gergel S, Fademrecht S, Pleiss J, Hauer B, Angew Chem Int Ed201958, 173. This research has been highlighted in Synfacts.


Anti-Markovnikov alkene oxidation by metal-oxo–mediated enzyme catalysis

Hammer SC, Kubik G, Watkins E, Huang S, Minges H, Arnold FH. Science 2017, 358, 215. This research has been highlighted in C&ENSynfacts and in “Chemistry Research of the year 2017”.


Design and evolution of enzymes for non-natural chemistry

Hammer SC, Knight AM, Arnold FH. Curr. Opin. Green Sustain. Chem20177, 23. One of the most cited articles in Current Opinion in Green and Sustainable Chemistry.


Squalene hopene cyclases are protonases for stereoselective Brønsted acid catalysis

Hammer SC, Marjanovic A, Dominicus JM, Nestl BM, Hauer B. Nat. Chem. Biol. 201511.



Stephan C. Hammer

Jun.-Prof. for Organic Chemistry and Biocatalysis & Emmy Noether Research Group Leader

Curriculum vitae

Google Scholar



Iris Dopheide



Alina Klein

Chemical Laboratory Assistant

Alina is our Bielefeld local and manages our lab. She joined the group after successfully completing her training as chemical laboratory assistant at Bielefeld University.


Matúš Gajdoš

PhD Student

Matúš is from Bratislava (Slovakia) and studied biotechnology in Bratislava and Graz. Matúš joined our group after his master thesis with Robert Kourist.


Sebastian Gergel

PhD Student

Sebastian is from swabia in southwest Germany. He is a chemist by training and performed his master thesis with Bettina Nestl and Bernhard Hauer.


Kathrin Hörnschemeyer

Master Student

Kathrin is doing her master thesis with us. She is from Emsland in northwest Germany and studies biochemistry with a focus on chemical biology.


Cindy Klaus

PhD Student

Cindy is from Switzerland where she studied chemical biology at ETH Zürich. Cindy joined us after her master thesis with Donald Hilvert.


Felipe Ospina Sánchez 

PhD Student

Felipe comes from Colombia and is a chemist by training. Before joining our group, Felipe worked as lecturer and research assistant with Felipe Otálvaro at Universidad de Antioquia in Medellín.


Kai Schülke

PhD Student

Kai is from southern Germany, studied technical biochemistry at Stuttgart University and already made an internship in industry (Roche Biocatalysis). He joined us with a DBU PhD scholarship.



Would you like to join our group? Please come and talk to us.


Stephan Hammer
Jun.-Prof. für Organische Chemie und Biokatalyse
Universität Bielefeld, Fakultät für Chemie
Universitätsstraße 25, D-33615 Bielefeld
+49 521 106-67892

Iris Dopheide
+49 521 106-6963

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