PhD Studentship in Directed Evolution of Enzymes in Microfluidic Droplets

(Fixed Term)

Reference: PH01019

Closing date: 05 April 2013

A PhD studentship is available from 1 October 2013 (or later) to work at the Biochemistry Department of Cambridge University (with Dr Florian Hollfelder – and at GlaxoSmithKline (with Dr Murray Brown –

The objective of the PhD project is to generate enzyme catalysts for more environmentally friendly, but also more efficient industrial production lines. To this end we will apply a new ultrahigh-throughput screening system that uses water-in-oil emulsion droplets handled in microfluidic devices as cell-like in vitro compartments as `evolutionary units’. We hope that the unprecedented throughput, we can screen >10e6 clones per hour! together with mechanistic and structural analysis and inspiration from new ideas emerging from theoretical evolution, will bring about useful new enzyme catalysts more quickly that currently possible.

Candidates will be mainly based in the Biochemistry Department (in central Cambridge), but also work for extended secondments at GSK’s Stevenage site and thus receive training in a basic science as well as an industrial context. 

Applicants should have a first or upper second class degree in chemistry, biochemistry, biotechnology or a related, relevant subject. Specific skills in protein and metabolic engineering, directed evolution, organic synthesis, cloning, DNA manipulation (including preparation and handling of DNA libraries) and familiarity with other molecular biology techniques are advantages.

This project is fully funded by the BBSRC and GSK (via a CASE award) for up to 48 months.  Due to funding restrictions studentships are only available to British citizens and citizens of the EU or the European Economic Area. To qualify for the full rate of the studentship UK residency requirements must be met (see e.g. or 

Also Read  PhD Studentship 2013 Centre for Applied Pharmacokinetic Research

If qualifying, the full stipend will be paid at RCUK rates for the 4 year duration of the award (£13,590 per annum for 2012-13); fees will be met in full.

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 4 years in the first instance.

Applications should contain a description of your research interests (e.g. as part of the cover letter) and your detailed CV (with exam marks and all relevant practical experience). Please also include the names and email-addresses of at least two referees, who know you from your courses or laboratory research work. Send your application by 5 April 2013 by email to For informal enquiries please contact Dr Rachel Cook at the same email.

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