The research project focuses at investigation of the biochemistry and reactions mechanisms of a class of novel enzymes which catalyze the radical-based addition of fumarate to a number of highly recalcitrant compounds, like hydrocarbons. These fumarate-adding enzymes (FAE) form a subclass of the glycyl radical enzymes which are highly oxygen-sensitive and need to be activated to the radical state by special activating enzymes. The research project is conducted within Beethoven Life DFG-NCN scheme in a close cooperation between the German (Marburg University) and Polish (Jerzy Haber Institute of Catalysis and Surface Chemistry, PAS) partners. The project has following major aims: (A) mutagenesis studies to identify the functions of particular active site constituents and to extend the available product spectra, (B) characterization of other FAE after recombinant expression to investigate the respective accommodations to other substrates and including crystallization of various FAE to extend the structural knowledge basis on these enzymes, (C) studies on the activating enzyme to establish in-vitro activation, (D) multiscale high-level computational investigations of the FAE reaction mechanism, backed up with experimental input, and (E) developing methods to apply FAE and their mutant variants for biotechnological production of novel compounds.

The project will use a variety of techniques in molecular biology and enzymology in combination with molecular modeling and biotechnology process engineering. Research results will improve our understanding of bioremediation processes in the petrochemical and chemical industry, providing fundamental biochemical data necessary for better use of microorganisms in hydrocarbon bioremediation.

As part of the offered position for a PhD student, experimental research focused on the characteristics of FAE enzymes was planned, with particular emphasis on the development of new biotechnology tools for the synthesis of valuable chemical compounds and substrates for biodegradable polymers.

We offer:

  • Doctoral position at the Krakow Interdisciplinary Doctoral School (standard scholarship of the doctoral school according to the Act)
  • Scholarship as part of the Beethoven Life project (3 years, 4500 PLN / month)
  • Involvement in an interdisciplinary Polish-German research project
  • Very interesting research topic of both basic and application character
  • Opportunity to develop skills in the field of chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology and biotechnology

We are looking for:

  • - students of biological chemistry, biotechnology, biochemistry, biology
    - highly motivated to conduct demanding research
    - with fluency in English and/or German
  • Highly motivated to conduct demanding scientific research
  • Fluent in English and / or German