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Advertising division: IBG-1 - Biotechnology
Reference number: D081/2018, Biotechnology, chemical engineering, biochemistry

PhD position in biocatalysis with focus on enzyme immobilization and reaction engineering

Starting date: July 1st, 2018 or later at the IBG-1: Biotechnology

Forschungszentrum Jülich pursues cutting-edge interdisciplinary research on the pressing issues of our time. It helps to solve the grand challenges facing society in the fields of energy and environment as well as information and the brain. With more than 5,500 employees, Jülich – a member of the Helmholtz Association- is one of the large interdisciplinary research centres in Europe.

Research at IBG-1 aims at a detailed molecular understanding of microorganisms and enzymes which are used as biocatalysts and includes approaches of systems biology and synthetic biology. The resulting knowledge and technologies are used for the development of novel resource-efficient and sustainable bio-processes, thereby reducing our dependency on fossil carbon sources, in particular crude oil.

In the field of biocatalysis we investigate and optimize enzymes and biocatalytic processes for the production of preferably chiral fine chemicals. Therefore we use an integrated engineering approach to tailor enzymes and reactions systems for a desired reaction. We work on new strategies for the immobilization of biocatalysts for different reactor concepts. Our main goal is to develop robust scaleable concepts for the application of biocatalysis at the interface to chemisty.

The present project will focus on immobilization techniques using magnetic particles and their evaluation for the application in biocatalysis using different enzymes and enzyme cascades at various scale and with different reactor concepts.

Job description:
Magnetic beads offer the possibility to perform biocatalysis from the nanoliter scale to the liter scale. Using selected biotechnological relevant enzymes from our diverse enzyme toolboxes the potential of different magnetic bead-based reactor concepts should be evaluated. Different magnetic beads offering covalent and non-covalent binding of respective target enzymes will be tested in batch as well as in continuous flow set-ups. For the latter the reaction control of different enzymes in a cascade is of great interest. Interested candidates should be interested in reaction engineering, specifically in the design of respective reactor tools

Your tasks:
Immobilization of model enzymes on different magnetic carriers; evaluation of residual activity and stability under storage and reaction conditions; set-up of continuous cascade reactions using novel continuous reactor concepts.

Your profile:
We are looking for a very good creative PhD student with a Master's (or related) degree in biotechnology, chemical engineering, biochemistry and related fields, with a background in reaction engineering and basic enzymology. Knowledge in preparation and/or application of magnetic particles is beneficial. Basic knowledge in microbiology and molecular biology as well as instrumental analysis of reaction products (GC, HPLC, NMR) is desired. Candidates should work independently, develop and implement your own ideas and should be good team players.

We offer:
An excellent working environment in an interdisciplinary team. A specific doctoral programme provides excellent training opportunities.
Employment for a fixed term of 3 years, starting from July 2018. Salary and social benefits in conformity with the provisions of the Collective Agreement for Civil Services (TVöD).

Please send your CV, records from high school and university as well as a motivation letter until May 31, 2018 to Prof. Martina Pohl (

Prof. Martina Pohl
Forschungszentrum Jülich
IBG-1: Biotechnology

Additional Information

Forschungszentrum Jülich aims to employ more women in this area and therefore particularly welcomes applications from women. We also welcome application from disabled persons. We look forward receiving your application.