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PhD Candidate on Biocatalytic cascade reactions - Germany

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The BIOCASCADES Innovative Training Network for European Industrial Doctorates (ITN-EID) is an interdisciplinary research training network of 7 universities and 5 industrial enterprises from 5 European countries.  It is funded under the “Excellent Science” cluster of the EU’s Horizon 2020 program.  BIOCASCADES aims to develop the ESRs’ scientific expertise to produce excellent research, interdisciplinary collaboration with scientists from different fields (biology, chemistry and engineering) and entrepreneurship. 

Roles and Responsibilities 

As an ESR you will work with two supervisors (academic and industrial) on your specific research project. Your PhD degree will be awarded on the basis of successful completion of the research work. The main part of your work will be carried out at Bielefeld University, and a secondment placement will be continued at an industrial institution in Spain, who is also a member of the BIOCASCADES network.
You will also be required to participate in the training and workshop organized by the ITN-EID.  As a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions fellow, you are also expected to contribute your time in the dissemination of your project’s result through public engagement and other scientific platforms.

Topic:  Amine synthesis by combination of transaminases with Suzuki cross-coupling 

This PhD will focus on the combination of palladium-catalyzed Suzuki-cross coupling reactions with biocatalytic transaminations of ketones towards one-pot processes for the enantioselective syntheses of a range of chiral amines. For the transamination step, identification of suitable enantioselective amine transaminases accepting biarylic substrates is one task besides, e.g., process development of such biotransformations. After establishing a proof of concept for such chemoenzymatic one-pot processes the ESR is expected to develop a novel chemoenzymatic synthetic route towards Odanacatib as well as related pharmaceutically relevant chiral amines and derivatives thereof. A further focus should be also on scale up issues demonstrating a proof of concept of the technical feasibility of the developed process technology.

The ideal candidate
  • The applicant should have completed at least four or five years education with a Master’s degree or Diploma from a recognized university in Biochemistry or Chemistry and should be eligible as graduate student at Bielefeld University.
  • The applicant should have research experience in organic synthesis and instrumental analytics (in particular NMR, MS, IR, HPLC and/or GC). Expertise in working with enzymes, biocatalysis, microbiology, molecular biology, protein engineering, structural biology is welcome.
  • The applicant should show interest in conducting a research project independently and should enjoy the work in an international, interdisciplinary environment.
  • At the time of recruitment, the applicant must not have resided (or carried out his/her main activity e.g. work, studies, etc.) in Germany, for more than 12 months in the last 3 years immediately prior to the reference recruitment date.
  • The applicant should have an excellent command of the English language at a proficient level (spoken and written) and the willingness to learn the local language of the recruiting country.
  • Background in general laboratory skills and experience in applying enzymes in organic synthesis as well as experience in microbiology, molecular biology, protein engineering and structural biology would be an advantage along with a good knowledge of statistics.
We emphasize equal opportunities in the biotechnology sector. We support the applications of female candidates in areas where they are underrepresented and encourage female candidates to apply for this program. Also, applications from handicapped candidates are very welcome.


Contact detail

How to apply:
To apply for the position, kindly provide: (i) a letter of motivation including a 1-page statement of your research interests, relevant skills and experience; (ii) a CV including publication list; and (iii) names and contact details of three referees willing to write confidential letters of recommendation.  All materials should be attached as a single PDF file (max. size 5MB).  The PDF file name should include your first name and last name.

The closing date for all applications is 20th January 2015.

Send your applications to:
Send application to
Prof. Dr. Harald Gröger


Job profile

Working hours
Contract duration
Type of job
PhD Project
Work experience
job experience is not required
Germany (Nordrhein-Westfalen)
Working place
33501 Bielefeld
Area of expertise
Biotechnology, Biology & Life Sciences, Chemistry