Michael Graf receives 2 Science Awards

The biotechnologist Dr. Michael Graf was awarded the AGRANA Research Award and the Special Science Award of the Federal State of Vorarlberg for his PhD thesis "Probing the active site of pyranose dehydrogenase by experimental and computational means".

He completed his PhD in January 2015 within the doctoral program BioToP under supervision of Prof. Dietmar Haltrich in the Food Biotechnology Laboratory. In his thesis, Dr. Graf investigated the mode of action of the enzyme pyranose dehydrogenase (PDH) by biochemical, biophysical, and computer-aided methods. PDH is involved in the degradation of lignocellulose and therefore of interest for the whole area of sustainable use of renewable resources. Based on these findings, it will be possible in the future to utilize PDH for sugar-derivatizations and bioelectrochemical applications. Currently Dr. Graf is working as PostDoc at the Institute of Molecular Modeling and Simulation with Prof. Chris Oostenbrink.
Dr. Graf wants to dedicate both prices in memoriam to Michael Kitzmüller, B.Sc., who recently passed away in a tragic accident. In the course of his bachelor thesis, Michael Kitzmüller made significant contributions to the optimization of the up- and downstream processing of PDH. This work paved the way to subsequently investigate the enzyme and its variants in greater detail. Michael, we will all miss you as great scientist, colleague, and especially as a person!