Nils is a Postdoc in the Criddle Group, funded by the Stanford Natural Gas Initiative. As member of the Center for the Utilization of Biological Engineering in Space (CUBES) he focuses on engineering gas-fermenting microbes towards production of aromatic polyesters as sustainable alternative to petrochemistry-derived plastics.
Before joining Stanford, Nils was task lead of Synthetic Biology with Universities Space Research Association as an Associate Scientist at NASA Ames Research Center. He received his PhD from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, in Metabolic Engineering working at the Advanced Water Management Centre. Nils holds an engineer’s degree (Dipl. Ing.) in Biochemical Engineering, from the Technical University of Dortmund, Germany.

Professional Education

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University Of Queensland (2016)
  • Diplom, Technische Universitat Dortmund (2012)


  • Production of high-strength bio-polymers from next-generation C1-feedstocks, Stanford University / CUBES (December 17, 2018)



Lab Affiliations

All Publications

  • Editorial: Biotechnological Production and Conversion of Aromatic Compounds and Natural Products. Frontiers in bioengineering and biotechnology Averesch, N. J., Kayser, O. 2020; 8: 646

    View details for DOI 10.3389/fbioe.2020.00646

    View details for PubMedID 32637405

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7318798

  • Metabolic engineering of Bacillus subtilis for production of para-aminobenzoic acid - unexpected importance of carbon source is an advantage for space application MICROBIAL BIOTECHNOLOGY Averesch, N. H., Rothschild, L. J. 2019; 12 (4): 703–14


    High-strength polymers, such as aramid fibres, are important materials in space technology. To obtain these materials in remote locations, such as Mars, biological production is of interest. The aromatic polymer precursor para-aminobenzoic acid (pABA) can be derived from the shikimate pathway through metabolic engineering of Bacillus subtilis, an organism suited for space synthetic biology. Our engineering strategy included repair of the defective indole-3-glycerol phosphate synthase (trpC), knockout of one chorismate mutase isozyme (aroH) and overexpression of the aminodeoxychorismate synthase (pabAB) and aminodeoxychorismate lyase (pabC) from the bacteria Corynebacterium callunae and Xenorhabdus bovienii respectively. Further, a fusion-protein enzyme (pabABC) was created for channelling of the carbon flux. Using adaptive evolution, mutants of the production strain, able to metabolize xylose, were created, to explore and compare pABA production capacity from different carbon sources. Rather than the efficiency of the substrate or performance of the biochemical pathway, the product toxicity, which was strongly dependent on the pH, appeared to be the overall limiting factor. The highest titre achieved in shake flasks was 3.22 g l-1 with a carbon yield of 12.4% [C-mol/C-mol] from an amino sugar. This promises suitability of the system for in situ resource utilization (ISRU) in space biotechnology, where feedstocks that can be derived from cyanobacterial cell lysate play a role.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/1751-7915.13403

    View details for Web of Science ID 000473648300011

    View details for PubMedID 30980511

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6559200

  • Metabolic Network Analysis of Microbial Methane Utilization for Biomass Formation and Upgrading to Bio-Fuels FRONTIERS IN ENERGY RESEARCH Averesch, N. H., Kracke, F. 2018; 6