PhD position

Metabolic engineering for alternative pathways to capture CO2 in the yeast Pichia pastoris

Metabolic engineering for alternative pathways to capture CO2 in the yeast Pichia pastoris

That’s the project

Towards a more sustainable biotechnology, it is of great interest to create autotrophic or mixotrophic industrially relevant microorganisms that are able to incorporate CO2 to their central metabolism as this would help to mitigate atmospheric CO2. Recently, we have integrated the Calvin-Benson-Bessham (CBB) cycle into the yeast Pichia pastoris (Gassler et al. 2020, Nat. Biotechnol. 38:210-216). As a methylotrophic yeast, the autotrophic P. pastoris strain uses methanol for energy supply and can grow on CO2 as sole carbon source. In this PhD project, we aim to design new CO2 capturing pathways mixed with methanol uptake and explore them for the production of biochemicals.

By using metabolic network modelling and the state-of-the-art synthetic biology methods such as Golden Gate Assembly and CRISPR-Cas9, we aim to design thermodynamically feasible and energetically efficient pathways for mixed feed of methanol and CO2 and test the generated strains in both small scale and bioreactor cultivations. 

Research will take place in the research group “Metabolic and Cell Engineering” at the Department of Biotechnology of the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU)

That could be your future me

You are working in an enjoyable work climate, have numerous possibilities for further education and personal development. You are part of a challenging and helpful work environment full of team spirit and enthusiasm for your job. You expand your expertise and bridge your science to industry.

That’s important to us

  • Completed Master’s degree (or equivalent) in biotechnology, biochemical engineering, molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry, or similar study.
  • Background in biochemistry, synthetic biology, biotechnology, or related disciplines
  • Practical experience in molecular biology and/or metabolic modelling requested, and scientific interest in bioinformatics applications and bioreactor cultivation desired.
  • Excellent skills in spoken and written English, an organized approach with strong attention to detail and good communication skills with ability to work well in teams.

That’s what you should know

  • minimum yearly gross payment of EUR 30,200 (PhD 30 h/week).
  • planned start: November 2020 for 3 years
  • working contract for 30h/per week
  • employer and place of work: ACIB GmbH, Vienna

Find out more about why acib is the right choice for you and send us your application:

And now it’s your turn! Give us an idea of who you are.

Apply here:  I 13_2020
Upload a detailed CV and publication list, a motivation letter, copies of university degree documents, contact information (phone number and email) and contact details of up to 3 academic referees

Application deadline: 31th of August 2020

Of course, we welcome applicants of all sexes (f/m/d), backgrounds and ages.

Diploma/Master Thesis - Positions

Generating a “self-rebalancing” redox detoxification system in the endoplasmic reticulum of Pichia pastoris

Your opportunity to learn hands-on about

  • microbial cultivation systems,
  • state-of-the-art molecular biology techniques such as Golden Gate cloning and CRISPR/Cas9-based recombination,
  • investigation of physiological responses via real-time PCR,
  • determination of organelle-specific reduction potential by means of redox biosensors, fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry/FACS.

Your focus will be expressing and characterizing a synthetic H2O2 detoxification system in the endoplasmic reticulum of Pichia pastoris strains upgraded to produce disulfide-bonded recombinant proteins.

Disulfide-bonded proteins include a wide variety of industrially relevant therapeutics and bulk enzymes. However, the metabolic processes involved in disulfide bond formation are known to be challenging because of the oxidative toxicity of H2O2 as their main byproduct.

Your time will be spent at the Department of Biotechnology of the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna.

Start-End dates:    October/November 2020 – March/April 2021

If you are a motivated, ambitious and a proactive Master/Erasmus student and you are interested in this topic, please contact:

Brigitte Gasser, Assoc.Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr. brigitte.gasser(a)

Arianna Palma, MSc. arianna.palma(a)

thesis announcement for download as pdf-file

Bachelor Thesis

There are no open positions for bachelor thesis at the moment.  

But we are always looking for eager persons who wants to work in our group. If you are interested to in our research and would like to do your bachelor or master thesis in our lab please contact us.