Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
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Barends0119 - Scientist (f/m) / PhD position
Project no:

Project leader:

Project supervisor:
Barends, Thomas
Application deadline:
31. May 2020
Start of PhD project:
1. Jul 2020

Project description:

Ladderane Lipid Biosynthesis
Ladderanes are highly unusual hydrocarbon moieties with linearly concatenated cyclobutane rings. They are found in the membranes of bacteria performing anaerobic ammonium oxidation (“anammox”). How these complicated molecules are produced is expected to involve both novel enzymes and specially evolved versions of known proteins, but the details remain enigmatic. How do these enzymes assemble such intricate carbon skeletons? How do they control the complex stereochemistry involved? How do they deal with the typical nonreactivity of hydrocarbons? How do they overcome the ring strain inherent in these molecules? Answering these and other questions about the molecular mechanism of ladderane biosynthesis will open up new frontiers in enzymology.
We are looking for two outstanding PhD students to investigate enzymes involved in lipid biosynthesis in ladderane-producing microorganisms. The PhD students will express these enzymes both separately to perform crystallographic and biochemical studies, and in combination to establish an in-vivo system for the investigation of the biosynthetic pathway of ladderanes.
Sinninghe Damste, J. S., Strous, M., Rijpstra, W. I. C., Hopmans, E. C., Geenevasen, J. A. J., van Duin, A. C. T., van Niftrik, L. A. & Jetten, M. S. M. (2002). Nature (London) 419, 708-712.
Methods that will be used:
Chemical biology, protein crystallography, lipidomics
Cooperation partners:
Mike Jetten, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, the Netherlands
Personal qualifications:
The successful candidate will hold a university degree in chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology or related field. Experience with iron-sulfur cluster proteins is a welcome plus. Applicants should have good English writing and communication skills. We expect that the candidate is highly motivated, open-minded, and capable of critical and analytical thinking.
ladderanes, protein crystallography, lipidomics