Initiating a North Atlantic Network on Sustainable Holothurian Technology and Innovation





MATIS ltd. - Icelandic Food and Biotech R&D are a government-owned, independent Icelandic Food and Biotech R&D institute working on a diverse array of projects spanning the entire food/ingredient value chain. MATIS's long term strategic vision is to increase the value of abundant and underutilized marine biomass by developing enzymatic and microbial biorefinery tools and processes for the production of various bio-based products. Further, the vision is to increase the quality and safety of food and ingredients through sustainable production practices, cutting edge R&D and innovation, new business models as well as effectively disseminating and commercializing the knowledge generated. MATIS plays a significant role in food science and biotech education, both locally and internationally, and functions as a bridge between academia and companies.

MATIS plays a leading role in many national and international R&D and innovation projects, including FP7 and Horizon2020 programs (33 projects since 2010), and has an ongoing fruitful global cooperation with many of the largest food and ingredient companies, many SMEs and entrepreneurs, as well as universities and institutes. MATIS is also a core partner in the recent EIT Food KIC program which is funded by the EIT for the next seven years.




Olafur Fridjonsson 

Dr. rer nat. in Molecular Biology University of Stuttgart 1999. Research group leader at Matís – Research & Innovation. Manager and lead scientist in projects involving molecular biology, microbiology, genomics and metabolic engineering, process development, upscaling, biorefineries, and enzymes, i.e. bioprospecting, chemistry, recombinant production, modification, biotransformation process development. Expertise in starch and marine carbohydrates and enzymes. PI of several projects including “Cartilage saccharides – and bioactive compounds from sea cucumber” supported by the Technical Research Fund and the Icelandic Fishing Industry Research Fund AVS 2008-2011.  (50 peer reviewed papers, 7 patents and two book chapter).


Dr. Gudmundur Oli Hreggvidsson

Ph.D. Molecular Biology from the University of Edinburgh. Head of Biotechnology Group at MATIS and a Professor at the University of Iceland. Research field: Microbiology & bioprospecting: Genomic and metagenomic bioprospecting of thermophilic and marine biotopes. Metabolic engineering: Biorefinery organisms for production of platform chemicals, and energy carriers from macroalgal and lignocellulose sugars; Enzyme development: Carbohydrate active enzymes and „molecular enzymes“ for genetic engineering; Molecular microbial ecology: physiological, genomic, metagenomic and pangenomic approaches; Publications: 85 papers in peer reviewed journals, 5 patents (plus two pending), 3 (plus 2 in press) book chapters. Gudmundur has decades of experience as project leader and research director, currently leading a group of 10 scientist at Matis in molecular biotechnology. Lead scientist in industrial client projects (2001-2014): Bioprospecting and enzyme development: e.g. Roche, Nestle, Roquette Frères, Wacher Chemie and SudChemie, Pepsico. Lead scientist and research manager in international projects in EU projects since 1994 relating to bioprospecting and development of robust enzymes and organisms for, the chemical industry, biorefineries and other biomass utilization: From 2010 to present: AMYLOMICS (Coordinator, EU-FP7 2011-14); SEABIOTECH (Principal Investigator (PI), EU-FP7 2012-16); EXOGENOMES (PI, EU-FP7-SME, 2012-14); Macrofuels (PI, EU-H2020, 2016-19). Virus-X (PI, EU-H2020 2016-20); MacroCascade (PI, EU-BBI-H2020 2016-2020), Mar3Bio (PI, EU-Era-Net MBT 2016-19); Thermofactories (PI, EU-Era-Net MBT  2016-19). SusBioFuel (PI, NordForsk-TFI 2010- 14). From 2010 to present: AMYLOMICS (Coordinator) (FP7 2011-2014); SEABIOTECH (FP7 2012-2016) Principal Investigator (PI)), EXOGENOMES (FP7-SME, 2012-2013, PI). 

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