BIOTE/Open Positions/Phd Position

Two PhD Positions

at the Institute of Biotechnology and Biochemical Engineering,

Graz University of Technology, Austria

  •  Position

 The positions of  PhD’s are available for 3 years at the Institute of Biotechnology and Biochemical Engineering at Graz University of Technology. Salary according to FWF regulations, 30 hours per week.  The Institute is a leading Austrian university institution for basic and applied research at the interface of biological sciences and process engineering. 

The two PhD positions are offered in the EpiSwitch project.

 EpiSwitch: the specificity of carbohydrate epimerases

The biosynthesis of rare carbohydrates starts from common precursors like D-glucose and proceeds through a series of specific modifications of the sugar scaffold. Rare sugars are important in secondary metabolism and are found in numerous antibiotics. They are also gaining increased interest as industrial specialty chemicals.

A key transformation in sugar biosynthesis is epimerisation, the change in the orientation of a hydroxy group. Enzymes have developed different catalytic strategies to achieve epimerisation and typically, the apparently simple transformation requires complex multi-step reaction paths.1


 Scheme. Example of an epimerisation of D-glucose to D-mannose.

 The EpiSwitch project aims at elucidating mechanistic principles in carbohydrate epimerases and, based on advanced mechanistic understanding, to design and engineer new epimerases for enzymatic carbohydrate synthesis. The project is carried out in close collaboration between the groups of Tom Desmet (Gent, Belgium) and Bernd Nidetzky (Graz, Austria).

[1] Van Overtveldt S, Verhaeghe T, Joosten HJ, van den Bergh T, Beerens K, Desmet T. (2015) A structural classification of carbohydrate epimerases: From mechanistic insights to practical applications. Biotechnol. Adv. 33, 1814-1828

  • Requirements

 Candidates should have strong background in biochemistry and be interested in mechanistic enzymology as well as in the synthetic application of enzymes.

A Master in molecular biology/microbiology/biochemistry is required.

  • Start of contract:

 As soon as possible.

  • How to apply:

Please send your application including a motivation statement, a CV and names and addresses of 2-3 references (including telephone number and e-mail address) or letters of recommendation by e-mail to:

Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. Bernd Nidetzky,