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  Novel Enzyme Immobilisation Scaffolds for Biomanufacturing

   Department of Chemistry

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  Prof Sam Hay, Prof N Scrutton  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

There is substantial and growing interest in the use of enzymes as biocatalysts for the synthesis of higher-value chemicals.1 Enzymes can be considered relatively environmentally friendly, cost-effective and sustainable alternatives to conventional chemical catalysts, since they can function under mild conditions (ambient temperature, pressure, pH etc.) and benign solvents such as water.1,2 The immobilization of enzymes onto porous scaffolds can improve their activity, stability and recyclability, as well as permit their use in efficient continuous-flow bioreactors.1,3 The current generation of porous scaffolds and immobilization techniques are prohibitively expensive for large-scale biomanufacturing however, and problems such as loss of activity and enzyme leeching persist.

This interdisciplinary project is a collaboration between the University of Manchester, Keele University and EnginZyme, and will involve the fabrication of novel, low-cost porous or particulate scaffolds, their functionalisation, and the immobilisation of enzymes through covalent or ionic means.4 The enzyme-functionalised scaffolds will then be integrated into continuous-flow biocatalytic systems and evaluated for performance in comparison with commercial alternatives.

The ultimate aim is to produce a low-cost, robust, effective and scalable enzyme immobilization system that can be used for a diverse range of natural and synthetic enzymes for use in large-scale continuous-flow biomanufacturing.

This PhD project will take place in the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology (MIB) as part of the Future Biomanufacturing Research Hub programme.

About EnginZyme

EnginZyme are an innovative biotechnology company based in Stockholm, Sweden that are commercialising novel cell-free biomanufacturing platforms empowered by a disruptive core technology based on enzyme immobilisation.5 To learn more please visit:

About the Future Biomanufacturing Research Hub

An EPSRC & BBSRC funded UK biotechnology programme that brings together academic and industry capabilities to accelerate the development of sustainable bio-based manufacturing in four key sectors:

Pharmaceuticals | Value-added chemicals | Engineering materials | Synthetic fuels

To learn more please visit:

Academic background of candidates 

Applicants are expected to hold, or about to obtain, a minimum upper second class undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in molecular biology / biotechnology / chemistry / biochemistry / materials science or a related subject. A Master’s degree in a relevant subject is desirable. 

Equality, diversity and inclusion is fundamental to the success of The University of Manchester, and is at the heart of all of our activities. We know that diversity strengthens our research community, leading to enhanced research creativity, productivity and quality, and societal and economic impact. We actively encourage applicants from diverse career paths and backgrounds and from all sections of the community, regardless of age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation and transgender status.

All appointments are made on merit.

Contact for further Information

Lead Supervisor: Professor Sam Hay [Email Address Removed]

Future BRH Commercial Director: Dr Kirk Malone [Email Address Removed]

Biological Sciences (4) Chemistry (6) Materials Science (24)

Funding Notes

This is a 4 year PhD studentship funded by the University of manchester and EnginZyme. Covering fees and an enhanced stipend (£17,609 in 2021-22) plus consumables.
Open to Home applicants only.
Start date - April 2022


1. R. A. Sheldon and S. van Pelt: Enzyme immobilisation in biocatalysis: why, what and how. Chem. Soc. Rev. 42, 6223- (2013).
2. G. A. Aleku, A. Saaret, R. T. Bradshaw-Allen, S. R. Derrington, G. R. Titchiner, I. Gostimskaya, D. Gahloth, D. A. Parker, S. Hay, D. Leys, Enzymatic C–H activation of aromatic compounds through CO2 fixation. Nature Chem. Bio. 16, 1255- (2020)
3. M. P. Thompson, I. Peñafiel, S. C. Cosgrove, and N. J. Turner: Biocatalysis Using Immobilized Enzymes in Continuous Flow for the Synthesis of Fine Chemicals. Org. Process Res. Dev., 23), 9- (2019).
4. A. D. Roberts, K. A. P. Payne, S. C. Cosgrove, V. Tilakaratna, I. Peñafiel, W. Finnigan, N. J. Turner, and N. S. Scrutton, Enzyme immobilisation on wood-derived cellulose scaffolds via carbohydrate-binding module fusion constructs. Green Chem. 23, 4726- (2021).
5. K. E. Cassimjee, M. Kadow, Y. Wikmark, M. S. Humble, M. L. Rothstein, D. M. Rothstein, and J.-E. Bäckvall: A general protein purification and immobilization method on controlled porosity glass: biocatalytic applications. Chem. Commun. 50, 9134- (2014).

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