Meet over 65 universities on 27 & 28 April > REGISTER NOW
Coventry University Featured PhD Programmes
University of Reading Featured PhD Programmes

PhD position (ESR06) in Marie Skłodowska Curie ITN “ConCO2rde”: Engineering of C. necator for H2-driven production of functionalized piperazines

EU Project ConCO2rde

Dr Lars Lauterbach , Dr Sandy Schmidt Applications accepted all year round Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
Berlin Germany Biochemistry Bioinformatics Biomedical Engineering Genetics Molecular Biology

About the Project

Research topic:

Piperazines as valuable building blocks for the production of pharmaceuticals. In a previous work, enantiopure piperazines were directly synthesized from easy-to-access dicarbonyls and diamines using the R-selective imine reductase from Myxococcus stipitatus (IRED) as biocatalyst (1). However, the access to both enantiopure products is essential to uncover new bioactive molecules. In the proposed project, engineered IRED and dioxygenase will be recombinantly produced in Cupriavidus necator enabling H2-driven synthesis of functionalised piperazines (2). 

Within this interdisciplinary project, the PhD research will focus on:

(i) Altering the stereoselecticity of well-described R-selective IRED_Ms (first secondment),

(ii) Oxyfunctionalization of piperazines by dioxygenases (first secondment),

(iii) Characterization of recombinant C. necator carrying designed IRED and dioxygenase in small-scale cultures under autotrophic and heterotrophic conditions,

(iv) Developing fed-batch processes for H2 driven production of piperazines in C. necator,

(v) Process development of H2-driven synthesis of piperazines (academic secondment)


The main part of your PhD research (3 years) will be carried out at the Technische Universität Berlin (TUB, Germany) under the supervision of Dr. Lars Lauterbach at the Institute of Chemistry. Within these three years an academic secondment (12 months) will take place at the University of Groningen (RUG, the Netherlands) under the supervision of Assist. Prof. Dr. Sandy Schmidt with an additional secondment (3 months) at INSA Toulouse, France, under the supervision of Prof. Stéphane Guillouet. The H2020 Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions (MSCA) – Innovative Training Network (ITN) project starts in January 2021. The date of recruitment and start of the PhD project is planned for May 2021 and latest in December 2021. Your PhD degree will be awarded based on successful completion of the research work from two universities (TUB, Germany and RUG, the Netherlands). You will also be required to participate in the training events and workshops organized by the ITN-European Joint Doctorates (EJD) program. As a Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions (MSCA) fellow, you are also expected to disseminate your PhD project’s result through public engagement and other scientific platforms.

 Primary supervisor: Dr. Lars Lauterbach ()

Recruiting institution: Technische Universität Berlin (TUB, Germany)

Double degree awarding institution: University of Groningen (the Netherlands)


•                An outstanding M.Sc. degree in Biology, Biotechnology, Biochemistry, Chemistry or related field

•                Research experience in molecular biology, analytical methods, biochemistry and microbiology

•                Ability to work in an international team,

•                Inter- and multidisciplinary thinking,

•                High motivation, excellent communication and social skills,

•                Fluency in English – written and oral.


•           ESRs must not have resided in the country of the recruiting beneficiary for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date (and not have carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in that country) — unless as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention 1. In addition, local regulations of the host countries may apply. The salary is based on standard living, mobility and family allowances which are adapted to the respective country of recruitment.

•          ESRs must be at the date of recruitment an ‘early stage researcher’ (i.e. in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of his or her research career)

•      ESRs must not hold a doctoral degree


In accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for German Universities we offer you:

A salary starting from a minimum of € 3.771,90 to a maximum of € 4.271,90 pre-tax per month

The full time appointment is temporary for a specified period of three years. The preferred starting date is between May 1st and July 1st 2021.

To apply for the position, kindly provide:

(i)               A letter of motivation including a statement of your research interests, relevant skills and experience;

(ii)             A CV including publication list; and

(iii)            Names and contact details of three referees willing to write confidential letters of recommendation.

Please upload applications only according to instructions at

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our University. To ensure equal opportunities for women and men, applications by women with the required qualifications are explicitly supported. Qualified individuals with disabilities will be favored.


21st of May 2021 11:59pm Central European Time

Funding Notes

Innovative Training Network – European Joint Doctorates
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 955740.


Further literature:
(1) Borlinghaus N, Gergel S, Nestl BM 2018 Biocatalytic access to piperazines from diamines and dicarbonyls ACS Catal. 2018, 8, 4, 3727–3732
(2) Lauterbach L, Lenz O 2018 How to make the reducing power of H2 available for in vivo biosyntheses and biotransformations. Curr Opin Chem Biol. 49:91-96

FindAPhD. Copyright 2005-2021
All rights reserved.