Postdoctoral Position in Engineering of Enzymes for C-H Hydroxylation

Updated: about 2 months ago
Deadline: ;

A postdoctoral position is available for 18 months in the Biocatalysis group led by prof. Francesco Mutti at the Van ’t Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences (HIMS) at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). The project is in collaboration with biotech and a pharmaceutical companies. The project deals with the engineering of cytochrome P450 enzymes. Additionally, the engineered biocatalysts will be used for the conversion of pharmaceutically relevant alkane substrate(s) to yield alcohol(s) in high chemo-, regio- and stereoselectivity, while attaining the required productivity. The position is immediately available and can start as soon as possible and no later than September 1, 2022. The vacancy will be filled as soon as a suitable candidate is found, even if it is before the deadline for this application.

What are you going to do

You will work on the generation of new biocatalysts for the selective C-H hydroxylation of alkanes to yield chiral alcohols as intermediate molecules that are important for the synthesis of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). The project tasks will comprise:

  • literature study and analysis of crystal structure of the enzymes (training and support to the post-doc can be provided in this latter area if required);
  • the generation of focused library of engineered enzymes via molecular biology techniques;
  • testing and optimization of engineered enzymes for expression and catalytic performance;
  • E. coli cells expressing P450 will be used for the conversion of alkanes to alcohols, and the reaction conditions will be studied in order to increase the overall productivity of the reaction;
  • write of scientific reports and manuscripts.

What do we require

Primarily, we are looking for a candidate with a solid expertise in theoretical and practical molecular biology. Therefore, a PhD in biotechnology, biocatalysis or cognate disciplines is required. In particular, the project will require the daily use of standard cloning techniques, manipulation of genes (e.g., excision, ligation), PCR, gene purification, etc. Experience in the cultivation of microbial cultures (e.g., E. coli), and protein expression are also desirable. 

Other tasks will be biotransformation reactions using whole cells and analysis of conversion and enantiomeric excess by GC or HPLC. However, for the latter two tasks, support and training can be provided by staff. Experience in computational/structural analysis of proteins is a plus.

The ability to collaborate and adapt in an international team, and work in collaboration with partners from industry is required. It is necessary you have good communication skills in oral and written English.

Our offer

A temporary contract for 38 hours per week, preferably starting on August 1, 2022, for the duration of 18 months. 

Based on a full-time contract (38 hours per week) the gross monthly salary will range from €2,846 to €4,490 (scale 10), depending on relevant experience before the beginning of the employment contract. This is exclusive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.

The UvA offers excellent possibilities for further professional development and education.

What else do we offer

  • a function in which initiative is strongly valued;
  • an enthusiastic team that welcomes new members;
  • an inspiring academic and international environment in the heart of Amsterdam.

About us

The Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences (HIMS ) is one of eight institutes of theUniversity of Amsterdam (UvA) Faculty of Science . HIMS performs internationally recognized chemistry and molecular research, curiosity driven as well as application driven. This is done in close cooperation with the chemical, flavour & food, medical and high-tech industries. Research is organized into four themes: Analytical Chemistry , Computational Chemistry , Synthesis & Catalysis and Molecular Photonics .

The Biocatalysis Group is headed by prof. Francesco Mutti. In general, the Biocatalysis group carries out cutting-edge research at the interface between chemical and biological sciences. The research mainly focuses on the development of novel biocatalysts for the sustainable synthesis of high-value chemical products as well as for the degradation and recycling of waste materials. Complementary research lines are either the identification and characterization, or the engineering of novel enzymes, application of enzymes in cascades reactions in vitro (in batch or in flow) and in vivo.

To work at the University of Amsterdam is to work in a discerning, independent, creative, innovative and international climate characterized by an open atmosphere and a genuine engagement with the city of Amsterdam and society. Here you can read more about working at the University of Amsterdam .


Do you have any questions or do you require additional information? Please contact:

Job application

Do you recognize yourself in the job profile? Then we look forward to receiving your application by June 30, 2022. You may apply online by using the link below.

Applications in .pdf should include:

  • curriculum vitae; 
  • letter of motivation, including names and contact information of at least two references;
  • list of publications.

We will recruit until the position is filled and close the position when a suitable candidate is found.

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritize diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

If you encounter Error GBB451, reach out to our HR Department  directly. They will gladly help you continue your application. 

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