PhD student position in Nanobiotechnology

Within the framework of the International PhD Programme “Biomolecular Technology of Proteins” ( two research projects are offered by the Department of NanoBiotechnology (Area 1, Supervisor: Paul Messner):

Project 1: Carbohydrate active enzymes in S-layer protein glycosylation

Several human pathogens contain glycoproteins as surface decoration.
These compounds possess an enormous potential as lead structures for
drug discovery and open a new arena of biomedical research.
This project focuses on the pathogenicity aspect of the surface (S-)
layer glycosylation of the Gram-negative oral pathogen Tannerella
forsythia. T. forsythia has been implicated in the development of
periodontitis, which is one of the most common inflammatory diseases
amongst the adult population. Thus, there is a great biomedical interest
in understanding the host-bacteria cross-talk that forms the basis of
health, disease, and healing. While there is already clear evidence that
the S layer of T. forsythia is a virulence factor, we hypothesize that
the glycans attached to the S-layer are keys to the virulence of this
bacterium. To initiate this direction of research, the enzymes involved
in S-layer glycosylation of T. forsythia shall be characterized.

Research goals
-Identification of carbohydrate-active candidate enzymes based on the ORFs annotated in the Tannerella genome
-Cloning, over-expression and purification of the enzymes
-Set-up of functional enzyme assays and kinetics measurements
-Structure analysis of the enzymes (e.g., circular dichroism, Fourier-transform IR spectroscopy)
-Docking experiments
-3D crystallization of selected enzymes

Project 2: Self-assembly of S-layer glycoproteins for applications in nanobiotechnology

Self-assembly of molecules into crystalline arrays and organizing matter
at the nano-scale level are new and rapidly growing transdisciplinary
scientific and engineering fields. Bacterial surface (S-) layers are
periodic structures formed by self-assembly. The current project focuses
on S-layers that are naturally glycosylated and, thus, provide a unique
setting to exploit glycan-mediated, biological phenomena such as
recognition, signalling, trafficking, biological half-life time, or
adhesion. The self-assembly process of S-layer glycoproteins shall be
characterized in vivo, where protein self-assembly has to be coordinated
with the glycosylation process, and in vitro, as a basis for
applications of glycan-functionalized S-layer proteins in

Research goals
-Understanding of the in vitro self-assembly process (scanning probe
microscopy, surface plasmon resonance, quartz crystal microbalance
measurements with dissipation monitoring)
-Study of intermolecular interactions within S-layer lattices (e.g.,
force spectroscopy and steered molecular dynamic simulations)
-In vivo S-layer glycoprotein folding and assembly
-Interactions studies of S-layer glycoprotein lattices with selected biomolecules (e.g., QCM-D, SPR.)

The candidate must hold a MSc degree and should have a sound background
in molecular biology, microbiology, and biochemistry. Practical
experience in the field of enzymology and glycobiology is of advantage
but not mandatory. The highly motivated candidate should be an excellent
team player with the ability to work independently in an
interdisciplinary environment.

For detailed information on research projects, application guidelines and download of forms please visit:

Application deadline: September 30th, 2010

Anfangsdatum: 1. März 2011

geschätzte Dauer: 3 years


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Comment by KANTA BOKARIA on November 20, 2010 at 3:03am

Welcome - about us

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There is only one important assumption: you have to be interested in nano!

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