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A Sustainable Approach to the Bio-production of Adipic Acid

   School of Biological Sciences

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  Dr Stephen Wallace  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Adipic acid is a platform chemical with applications across a range of industry sectors, from performance materials, drug formulations, food packaging and clothing. However, it is currently manufactured from non-renewable petrochemical feedstocks via industrial processes that emit huge volumes of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, contributing significantly to industrial carbon emissions and global climate change. The development of sustainable approaches to the production of adipic acid is therefore a critical challenge in modern research. This project will pioneer a new synthetic biology approach to the bio-production of adipic acid in the chassis organism E. coli, building on our recent work in this area[1] and working in close collaboration with our industry partners Lubrizol. The fully-funded 4-year PhD project will combine laboratory-based and automated synthetic biology procedures at the world-leading Edinburgh Genome Foundry[2] with cutting-edge biocompatible chemistry in living bacteria[3] to enable new routes to adipic acid from a range of sustainable feedstocks and industrial waste materials. The project will be highly multidisciplinary and will expose the student to a wide range of chemistry, molecular and microbiology techniques (e.g., plasmid design, DNA assembly, genome engineering, chemical synthesis, HPLC, GC and NMR), including regular travel to international project meetings and and a possible industrial placement at Lubrizol. The project will be hosted in the Wallace Lab[4] – a motivated, friendly and inclusive multidisciplinary research team based at the Institute of Quantitative Biology, Biochemistry and Biotechnology (IQB3) in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Edinburgh. The student will also actively participate in SynthSys, a UK Centre for Synthetic and Systems Biology and dynamic network of synthetic biology researchers from across Edinburgh. Applications are welcome from recent graduates and industrial researchers in the biological and chemical sciences who are motivated to develop new biotechnologies for a greener and sustainable chemicals industry.

@Dr_StephenW, @Wallace_Lab

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Funding Notes

This opportunity is a 4-year PhD project which is fully funded by Lubrizol. UK and EU candidates with pre/settled status are invited to apply by 16 February 2022.


[1] ACS Synth. Biol. 2020, 9, 2472–2476
[3] RSC Chem. Biol. 2021, 2, 1073–1083

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