PhD Research Studentship in Catalysis – (3 years)

Biorenewables and Bioprocessing Research Group

Faculty of Engineering

Applications are invited for a PhD Studentship (3 years) funded by the Faculty of Engineering, University of Nottingham to undertake research related to

The creation of artificial enzymes for catalytic organic reactions

Sustainable chemicals synthesis is a primary goal and a major challenge of modern chemical industry. A very attractive solution for minimizing energy consumption and waste generation is the use of catalysis. Enzymatic catalysts offer many benefits: they are prepared from renewable feedstocks, react in water and can afford high activities and selectivities. On the other hand, chemical catalysts are simpler to design and offer novel reactivities. To combine the advantages of both worlds, an attractive field has developed over the past decades: the creation of artificial enzymes, constructed by combining proteins with chemocatalysts.

The focus of the PhD project is the development of such artificial systems, containing unnatural catalytic metals incorporated into protein scaffolds. You will design and carry out experiments involving: a) the expression, purification and chemical modification of target proteins; b) the characterization of the modified proteins using spectroscopic techniques; c) the application of the modified proteins to the catalysis of organic reactions – in particular the reduction of imines to amines. You will be working in an interdisciplinary research environment and will interact with microbiologists and chemists, in a new lab equipped for developing bioproduction of chemicals from renewable feedstocks (

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Applications are invited from students with a background in chemistry, biochemistry, (bio)chemical engineering or a related discipline, who have or expect to graduate with a first-class or good 2:1 honours degree, or a distinction or high merit at MSc level (or international equivalent). The studentship will cover full PhD tuition fees and a tax free stipend for three years (£13,590 for the 2013-14 academic year) for UK/EU students. An additional £2000 a year may be awarded for students with a 1st class degree / MSc Distinction from a UK Russell Group University or equivalent. The studentship is expected to start in September 2013, or as early as possible after this date.

Informal enquiries prior to making an application may be addressed to Dr Anca Pordea, email:

To apply, please contact Anca Pordea directly, via the apply button below, with a covering letter stating clearly how you fulfil the requirements of the studentship and your research interests, and include a CV, an academic transcript, and the names and addresses of two academic referees.

Please quote ref. ENG/681. This studentship will remain open until filled.

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