PhD Student in Photo Biocatalysis (Early Stage Researcher) - ESR5

Graz University of Technology
September 28 2017
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type
Light-driven Rieske-type hydroxylations using unexplored photoantenna cofactors
Roles and Responsibilities

The main part of the work (24 months) will be carried out in Graz University of Technology under the supervision of Dr. Sandy Schmidt in the group of Protein Engineering & Biocatalysis at the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology.

An academic research stay (6 months) will take place at Aix Marseille University (France, with Prof. Véronique Alphand) and another academic placement will take place (3 months) at Delft University of Technology (The Netherlands, with Prof. Frank Hollmann).

Additionally, an industrial secondment at a company is foreseen (3 months). The PhD-project is funded for three years and the PhD may start as early as April 2018 (or later).

The PhD degree will be awarded on the basis of successful completion of the research work from two universities (Graz University of Technology, Austria and Aix Marseille University, France) with two PhD certificates (double-degree).

As part of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, the ESR will be offered additional training and workshop organized by the ITN-EJD Training Program. The ESR is also expected to contribute their time in the dissemination of your project's result through public engagement and other scientific platforms.

The PhD research will focus on:

i) Evaluation of photoantenna cofactors for photosensitation in terms of capturing photons and the transfer of the excitation energy (in form of electrons); 

ii) If necessary, enzymatic synthesis of the photoantenna cofactors (methenyltetrahydrofolate by a synthetase); 

iii) Using Rieske non-heme oxygenases as model system for the coupling of the new photosensitizers with selective mono-and dihydroxylations of various arenes and olefins; 

iv) Expression optimization and generation of evolved RO variants; 

v) Generation of fusion proteins between cyanobacterial FNR and Rieske oxygenases for in vivo biotransformations - syntheses of maleimide linkers which selectively bind to an introduced cysteine on the surface of the RO to covalently bind the photoantenna cofactors.


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