NEB® TV Ep. 18 – Enzymes for Innovation

NEB’s Chief Scientific Officer, Sir Richard Roberts, describes the Enzymes for Innovation initiative, and the importance of new enzyme discovery and screening.


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Deana Martin:

Welcome to NEB TV. Today, I'm honored to introduce NEB's Chief Scientific Officer and Nobel Laureate, Sir Richard Roberts, as he talks about our Enzymes for Innovation initiative. Let's take a look.


Richard Roberts:

My name is Rich Roberts. I'm Chief Scientific Officer here at New England BioLabs. I first got associated with the company in 1975, when we started to sell restriction enzymes. At that time we sold a lot of enzymes, we had no idea whether anybody was going to use them or not, of course, we hoped they would. The result was a great boost for the biotechnology industry.


What are Enzymes for Innovation?


Richard Roberts:

A few years ago we realized that there were actually many enzymes that do interesting things on DNA or protein or RNA, or in the glycobiology field. Some of them were described in the literature, some of them had just come from bioinformatic searches, but we realized that many of these enzymes might turn out to be equally useful as tools for molecular biologists, and for biotechnologists. So we made a commitment to start a new project, which we call Enzymes for Innovation. The idea are these are enzymes that have useful properties, they perhaps do something interesting to DNA or something interesting to RNA, and we would make them available and offer them to researcher's in the field with the idea that they might do what Sydney Brenner used to do.


He told me that when he got on an airplane he used to take, like to take, the New England BioLabs catalog with him, and look and see what was new, what reagents were there that he didn't know about, with the idea that perhaps he could dream up some new use for him, for them, and some way in which they might be used to make a discovery or to develop a new method, or for whatever purpose he wanted. I know that he is not the only person who does this, there are many people who look around to see what new reagents are available. We intend to advertise those and make them available to people thru our Enzymes for Innovation program.


Become an Enzyme Innovator


Visit to view the full list of products available.


Looking for a specific enzyme activity that is not currently available?  


Have you found an application for an enzyme listed on the Enzymes for Innovation web page?


Let us know at!


Deana Martin:

Thanks so much for watching today. As always, if you have any suggestions for future episodes please let us know.

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