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Establishing a machine learning platform to build synthetic enzymes relevant to the fuels industry (Newcastle, iCASE award)

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  • Full or part time
    Dr T Howard
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The production of transport fuels from petrochemical alternatives are a market reality. In 2001 ethanol in the US constituted little over 1% of gasoline (petrol) consumption, but by 2011 this had risen to 10%. This large-scale production of ethanol demonstrates the feasibility for significant industrial production of biologically manufactured fuels and chemicals. However, ethanol is naturally produced with very high efficiency from sugars by the brewer’s yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In order to generate a broad range of fuels and chemicals from a broad range of renewable feedstock, new organisms and new biochemistries are needed. In this project the PhD candidate will be central to establishing an innovative, interdisciplinary platform to allow engineering and optimisation of complex biological systems. Specifically we will be developing novel enzymes with new and improved function. To achieve this, this project will fuse two highly topical and cutting edge research areas - synthetic biology and machine learning - and apply these methodologies to the task of developing waste-to-product bio-commodities. Importantly. The project partners with ZuvaSyntha Ltd - an Industrial Biotechnology company developing microbial technologies for fuels and chemical biosynthesis from low cost, renewable resources. This project therefore requires a talented individual with the motivation to work across disciplines and sectors towards the goal of sustainable industrial biotechnology.

For further information see the website:

To apply:
Please submit a full CV and covering letter directly to [Email Address Removed]

Funding Notes

This is a 4 year BBSRC iCASE studentship under the Newcastle-Liverpool-Durham DTP. The successful applicant will receive research costs, tuition fees and stipend (£14,057 for 2015-16). The PhD will start in September 2016. Applicants should have, or be expecting to receive, a 2.1 Hons degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject. EU candidates must have been resident in the UK for 3 years in order to receive full support. There are 2 stages to the application process.


Yehezkel TB et al., (2015) Synthesis and cell-free cloning of DNA libraries using programmable microfluidics. Nucl. Acids Res. doi:10.1093/nar/gkv1087

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