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Postdoctoral position protein engineering and biocatalysis (1.0 fte)

In order to pursue our research activities, we are looking for a highly motivated postdoc who will contribute to an NWO-ECHO project in the field of protein engineering and biocatalysis. This project aims to exploit ...

10 maanden geleden


Broerstraat, Groningen, Groningen
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 - 38 uur
€ 4084 per maand


In order to pursue our research activities, we are looking for a highly motivated postdoc who will contribute to an NWO-ECHO project in the field of protein engineering and biocatalysis. This project aims to exploit the promiscuous Michael-type addition activity of 4-oxalocrotonate tautomerase as a starting point to develop novel synthetically useful C-C bond-forming enzymes, as well as to provide insight into the manner in which a promiscuous protein might evolve to acquire more active and specific enzyme functions (see: Van der Meer et al., 2016, Nat. Commun. 7:10911 doi: 10.1038/ncomms10911). The key objectives are to 1) use a highly informative systematic mutagenesis approach to rapidly scan the whole 4-OT protein to create a map of neutral, beneficial and detrimental amino acids for each position and for each of its promiscuous C-C bond-forming ‘Michaelase’ activities, 2) test if identified ‘hotspot’ positions in 4-OT can drive the molecular evolution of more specific and active ‘Michaelase’ functions, and determine which of the changes to these positions have additive, synergistic, or antagonistic effects, and 3) characterize the biocatalytic and structural properties of the newly evolved ‘Michaelases’. The postdoc will be involved in the supervision of PhD students, who are working on protein engineering and biocatalysis, and are funded by other NWO and EU projects.


We are looking for an enthusiastic and talented postdoctoral candidate with a PhD degree in (bio)chemistry, biotechnology or synthetic biology, and with outstanding laboratory skills. Experience with chemical synthesis and analysis is a big plus. You are expected to have an excellent academic record and be fluent in the English language. Important personal skills include a proven ability to manage projects and collaborate with a variety of external parties, and be interested in further exploration of commercial applications.


The University of Groningen offers a salary that is determined in accordance with the current scales as set out in the collective labour agreement for the Dutch universities (CAO) and has a range between € 2588,- and € 4084,- (scale 10) gross per month dependent on qualifications and experience based on a full-time position. The postdoc will be located in the Department of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Biology of the Groningen Research Institute of Pharmacy.

The appointment with the University of Groningen is for a maximum of 2.5 years on a temporary contract with the initial appointment for one year extended to 1.5 years upon successful evaluation before the end of the first year.

The preferred starting date is 1 February 2018 or as soon as possible.

You may apply for this position until 14 November 23:59 h / before 15 November 2017 Dutch local time by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website). Please pronounce the names and contact information of at least two references in your curriculum vitae.

Consideration of the candidates will begin immediately, until the position is filled.

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.

Additional information

Prof. G.J. Poelarends


Faculty of Science and Engineering The vacancy is at the Department of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Biology (Prof Dr Gerrit J. Poelarends; www.rug.nl/staff/g.j.poelarends/), Groningen Research Institute of Pharmacy, Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Groningen. The research of Prof Poelarends is aimed at the design of novel biocatalysts and enzymatic cascades for the synthesis of valuable chemicals and pharmaceuticals. We offer a stimulating research environment for a Postdoc interested in these topics. The department’s research laboratories are well equipped for molecular biology, enzymology, protein engineering, biocatalysis, and organic chemistry work.

The University of Groningen (founded in 1614) has a long tradition of academic excellence, being one of the oldest research universities in Europe. The University is currently in or around the top 100 on several influential ranking lists. Currently approximately 30,000 students are enrolled and about 1,500 PhD students work on their theses. It has a highly international character: English is the main language in the research laboratories. The city of Groningen is a historic town and among the ten biggest cities in The Netherlands. It is a vibrant student town with a direct train connection to Schiphol Airport near Amsterdam.