Kaunas University of Technology and Faculty of Chemical Technology has a strong history and track record in chemistry and chemical engineering. Over the past years, an industrial biotechnology has become one of priorities in the faculty and university. To drive research in this area, Bioprocess Research Centre has been established in 2019. The research in the centre is supported EU structural funding of circa 1 million Euros.
We seek a talented graduate with master degree in biochemistry. molecular biology or microbiology with a keen interest in synthetic biology and biotechnology to perform research and study for a PhD in the area of chemical engineering (synthetic biology and biotechnology) and the following topic:
Development and application of genetically encoded biosensors to discover and engineer the efficient biocatalytic processes for lignin degradation and valorisation pursuing the production of phenolic acids
Modern society is highly dependent on limited oil reserves. Replacing the production of petroleum-based feedstocks with renewable materials using alternative technologies is a critical factor in promoting a carbon-neutral bioeconomy. Lignin derived from biomass offers great potential as a renewable source of aromatic compounds. However, this requires efficient valorisation techniques that allow organic waste to be converted into energy, chemical compounds or substances suitable for use in industrial processes. Synthetic biology and metabolic engineering create the potential for the synergistic development of microorganisms with novel biosynthetic pathways to valuable chemicals from these sustainable sources. The development and optimization of such a biosynthetic pathway is still problematic due to the lack of high-throughput methods to allow screening in large libraries of genetic variants and to improve bioproduction. Biosensors are effective tools to address this problem by utilising them to measure metabolite concentrations directly and without interrupting the bioprocess. They can be used to develop sustainable and economically viable biorefinery, as well as applied for the discovery and engineering of efficient biocatalytic processes for the degradation and valorisation of lignin and for the production of lignin degradation products such as phenolic acids.
The PhD project is funded by Research Council of Lithuania (more information can be found at www.lmt.lt). Position is open for applicants from Lithuania, EU and other eligible countries. Successful candidate is expected to start before 1 October 2020 or as soon as possible thereafter.
To apply please send your application to Ilona.Jonuskiene@ktu.lt including a CV, letter of motivation and contacts of two referees.