Graduations

 

This is what winners look like:

  Gallery depicting our PhD graduates Copyright: Biotec
 
 

Dr. Gustavo De Almeida Santos

We are happy to announce that Gustavo de Almeida Santos successfully graduated.

His work is entitled “Engineering of heme-dependent monooxygenases towards heterocycle conversion”. Gustavo engineered the cytochrome P450 BM3 monooxygenase towards functionalization of aromatic O-heterocycles. His studies resulted in the following publication: Directed Evolution of P450 BM3 towards Functionalization of Aromatic O-Heterocycles.

Gustavo worked in the division of Molecular Bioeconomy under the guidance of Dr. Joelle Ruff and Prof. Ulrich Schwaneberg.

We congratulate Gustavo de Almeida Santos for his achievement and wishes all the best and good luck for his future. Well done, Gustavo!

   

Dr. Subrata Pramanik

We are happy to announce that Subrata Pramanik successfully defended his doctoral thesis.

His dissertation is entitled "Enzyme stabilization in ionic liquids and at elevated temperatures". Part of his work and results has been published in ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering under the title "How To Engineer Ionic Liquids Resistant Enzymes: Insights from Combined Molecular Dynamics and Directed Evolution Study".

Subrata worked in the division Computation Biology under the supervision of Dr. Mehdi Davari and Prof. Ulrich Schwaneberg.

The entire Schwaneberg Group congratulates Subrata on his success and wishes him all the best for his future!

 
 
 

Dr. Anna Gärtner

We are happy to announce that Anna Gärtner successfully defended her doctoral thesis.

Her dissertation is entitled "Protein engineering of the monooxygenase P450 BM3 toward improved performance in allylic hydroxylation". Part of her work and results has been published in Scientific Reports under the title “A 96-multiplex capillary electrophoresis screening platform for product-based evolution of P450 BM3” ( DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-52077-w).

Anna worked in the division Molecular Bioeconomy under the supervision of Dr. Anna Joëlle Ruff and Prof. Ulrich Schwaneberg.

The entire Schwaneberg Group congratulates Anna on her success and wishes her all the best for her future.

 
 
 

Dr. Yu Ji

We are happy to announce that Yu Ji successfully graduated.

Her work is entitled “Protein engineering of a sulfotransferase and a monooxygenase for the synthesis of high value chemicals”. Yu engineered two enzymes: aryl sulfotransferase and the monooxygenase P450. Her studies resulted in the following publications: “Directed aryl sulfotransferase evolution toward improved sulfationstoichiometry on the example of catechols” and “Directed OmniChange Evolution Converts P450BM3 into an Alkyltrimethylammonium Hydroxylase”.

Yu worked in the division of Hybrid Catalysis & High Throughput Screening under the guidance of Prof. Ulrich Schwaneberg.

The whole Schwaneberg group congratulates Yu Ji for her achievement and wishes all the best and good luck for his future. Well done, Yu!

 
 
 

Dr. Deepak Anand

We are happy to announce that Deepak Anand successfully mastered his PhD defense on April 20, 2020.

His work is entitled “Chiral separation of arginine based on tailor-made FhuA β-barrel proteins”. Deepak engineered the beta-barrel protein FhuA into a chiral channel protein to separate L- and D-arginine. His studies resulted in the following three publications: Chiral separation of D/L-arginine with whole cells through an engineered FhuA nanochannel (DOI: 10.1039/C9CC00154A), Nano-thin walled micro-compartments from transmembrane protein-polymer conjugates (DOI: 10.1039/C6SM02520J), and Grafting PNIPAAm from ß-barrel shaped transmembrane nanopores (DOI: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2016.08.033).

Deepak worked in the division of Hybrid Catalysis & High Throughput Screening under the guidance of Prof. Ulrich Schwaneberg.

The whole Schwaneberg group congratulates Deepak for his achievement and wishes all the best and good luck for his future. Well done, Deepak!

 
 
 

Dr. Heidi Höck

We are delighted to announce that Heidi Höck successfully graduated on February 14th in presence of family, friends and colleagues.

Her work is entitled “Development of engineered lipases for enhanced surface binding and polymerization applications by directed evolution”. Heidi engineered Candidia antarctica Lipase B (CaLB) to perform enzymatic catalyzed polymerization. Her studies resulted in two publications: “Catalyzed Conversion of ε-Caprolactone in Aqueous Medium. Part 1: Immobilization of CaLB to Microgels” and “Comparison of Candida antarctica Lipase B Variants for Conversion of ε-Caprolactone in Aqueous Medium—Part 2” .

Heidi worked in the division of Computation Biology.

The whole Schwaneberg group congratulates Heidi for her achievement and wishes all the best and good fortune for her future!

 
 
 

Congratulations to Stephanie Mertens for her successful PhD defense!

We are delighted to announce that our PhD fellow Stephanie Mertens successfully graduated on the 17th December 2019 in presence of family, friends and colleagues.

Her work is entitled “Combination of bio- and metal catalysts in chemoenzymatic cascade reactions”. Stephanie investigated a chemoenzymatic cascade reaction comprising of Cu scorpionate catalyzed Sonogashira cross-coupling and a subsequent P450 monooxygenase mediated oxidation. Furthermore, she optimized production of symmetrical stilbene derivatives in a two-step one-pot cascade reaction based on enzymatic decarboxylation of cinnamic acid followed by olefin cross metathesis. Her studies resulted in two publications: “One-pot Two-step Chemoenzymatic Cascade for the Synthesis of a Bis-benzofuran Derivative” and “Chemoenzymatic cascade for stilbene production from cinnamic acid catalyzed by ferulic acid decarboxylase and an artificial metathease”.

Stephanie worked in the division of Hybrid Catalysis and High Throughput Screening under the supervision of Prof. Ulrich Schwaneberg.

The whole Schwaneberg group congratulates Stephanie for her achievement and wishes all the best and good fortune for her future. Well done, Stephi!

 
 
 

Dr. Zhi Zou

We are delighted to announce that our PhD fellow Zhi Zou successfully graduated today in presence of family, friends and colleagues.

His work is entitled “Directed sortase evolution for site-specific protein engineering and surface functionalization”. Zhi Zou, also known in our group as Robin, engineered a sortase to improve its activity for ligation of peptides and proteins on polymers. His studies resulted in four publications: Directed Evolution of a Bacterial Laccase CueO for Enzymatic Biofuel Cells in Angewandte Chemie (2019), Directed sortase A evolution for efficient site-specific bioconjugations in organic co-solvents in Chemical Communications (2018), Sortase-Mediated High-Throughput Screening Platform for Directed Enzyme Evolution in ACS Combinatorial Science (2018), and Sortase-Mediated Surface Functionalization of Stimuli-Responsive Microgels in Biomacromolecules (2017).

Robin worked in the division of Biohybrid Systems under the supervision of Dr. Felix Jakob.

The whole Schwaneberg group congratulates Robin for his achievement and wishes all the best and good fortune for her future. Well done, Robin!

 
 
 

Dr. Shohana Islam

We are delighted to announce that our PhD fellow Shohana Islam successfully graduated today in presence of family, friends and colleagues.

Her work is entitled “Enzymatic Functionalization and Degradation of Natural and Synthetic Polymers”. Shohana engineered an aryl sulfotransferase to increase its activity towards cellobiose in a KnowVolution campaign. Furthermore, she optimized a cutinase for an efficient degradation of polymer nanoparticles. Her studies resulted in three publications: "A robust protocol for directed aryl sulfotransferase evolution toward the carbohydrate building block GlcNAc", "KnowVolution campaign of an aryl sulfotransferase increases activity toward cellobiose" and "Targeting microplastic particles in the void of diluted suspensions".

Shohana worked in the division of Biohybrid Systeme under the supervision of Dr. Felix Jakob.

The whole Schwaneberg group congratulates Shohana for her achievement and wishes all the best and good fortune for her future. Well done, Shohi!

 
 
 

Dr. Lina Apitius

We are delighted to announce that our PhD fellow Lina Apitius successfully graduated on the 17th January 2019 in presence of family, friends, and colleagues.

Her work is entitled “Engineered adhesion peptides for functionalization of natural surfaces, polymers, and metal alloys” and focuses on the application of anchor peptides for the functionalization of surfaces, improving their binding through directed evolution campaign using the Peptide-Polymer evolution protocol, in short PePevo protocol, established by her and Dr. Rübsam. Her studies resulted in two publications: Directed evolution of polypropylene and polystyrene binding peptides and Targeting microplastic particles in the void of diluted suspensions.

Lina worked in the division of Biohybrid Systems under the supervision of Dr. Felix Jakob.

The whole Schwaneberg group congratulates Lina for her achievement and wishes all the best and good fortune for her future. Well done, Lina!

 
 
 

Dr. Martin Thiele

It is our pleasure to announce that our PhD fellow Martin Thiele successfully defended his doctoral thesis on December 14th in the presence of his family, friends and colleagues.

His work "Boosting the performance of a protease with polymers and surfactants" includes the incorporation of a protease into dynamic nanoreactors, which were made of electrostatically bridged like-charged surfactants and polyelectrolytes. The mechanism of "bridging association" discovered in his work proposes a redesign of surfactant/polymer/enzyme formulations of modern detergents. Furthermore, Martin investigated the molecular understanding of polyelectrolyte-enzyme complexes which boost enzymatic activity in multi-component systems. His outstanding scientific achievements were published in Angewandte Chemie and ACS Catalysis.

Martin worked in the division of Computational Biology under the supervision of Dr. Mehdi Davari.

Congratulations and all the best for your future, Martin!

 
 
 

Dr. Alexandra Weingartner

We are pleased to announce that our PhD fellow Alexandra Weingartner graduated on the 7th of December in presence of family, friends, and fellow colleagues.

Her work is entitled “Directed Evolution of the Monooxygenase P450 BM3 for aromatic hydroxylation”.

Alexandra engineered the well-known monooxygenase P450 BM3 towards production of 2,3,5-trimethylhydroquinone (TMHQ), which is an intermediate of the vitamin E synthesis. To achieve this, she developed the 4-nitrophenylacetonitrile (NpCN) assay, which specifically reacts to a chromogenic complex in the presence of hydroquinones. Application of the new assay system for P450 BM3 libraries resulted in a strongly improved P450 BM3 variant AW2, which showed 70-fold improved TMHQ formation compared to the P450 BM3 wild type as well as increased coupling efficiency and regioselectivity.

In addition, molecular docking studies of the newly identified variant AW2 allowed to gain more insights into the impact of substitutions on the orientation of small aromates in the binding pocket of P450 BM3. Alexandra’s great scientific achievements in the field of directed evolution of P450 BM3 was published in Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. Additionally, Alexandra worked on aromatic hydroxylation of pseudocumene and mesitylene with engineered P450 BM3 variants and a whole cell cascade for double oxidation of cyclooctane to cyclooctanone, which were published in Chemistry – A European Journal and Journal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology, respectively.

Alexandra worked in the division of Molecular Bioeconomy under the supervision of Dr. Anna Joelle Ruff.

The whole Schwaneberg group congratulates Alexandra for her achievement and wishes all the best for her future.

Well done, Alex!

 
 
 

Dr. Alexander Grimm

It’s our pleasure to announce that our PhD fellow Alexander Grimm graduated on November, 29th in presence of family, friends, and fellow colleagues.

His work is entitled “Protein engineering of nitrobindin for biohybrid catalysts”.

Among others, Alexander Grimm engineered the cavity size of the β–barrel protein nitrobindin, for improved olefin metathesis using Grubbs-Hoveyda-type catalysts. Furthermore, Alexander developed the first cell surface display-based whole cell biohybrid catalyst system. He demonstrated the catalysis of polyphenyl-acetylene using this whole cell biohybrid catalyst. These excellent scientific contributions resulted in two publications in ACS Catalysis.

Alexander worked in the division of Hybrid Catalysis & High Throughput Screening under the supervision of Prof. Schwaneberg.

The whole Schwaneberg group congratulates Alex for his achievement and wishes all the best for his future.

Congratulations and all the best, Alex!

 
 
 

Dr. John Mandawe

We are delighted to announce that our PhD fellow John Mandawe successfully graduated today in presence of family, friends and colleagues.

His work is entitled Engineering of Hyaluronic Acid Synthases from Streptococcus equi subsp. zooepidemicus and Pasteurella multocid a towards improved Hyaluronic Acid Chain Length and Titer.

Hyaluronic acid is one of the natural glycosaminoglycan with diverse cosmetic and medical applications with a global market value of $8.3 billion. High-molecular-weight hyaluronic acid is very much appreciated for several applications such as joint lubrication, osteoarthritis treatment, wound healing, and drug delivery. A deeper molecular understanding of the control of hyaluronic acid polymerization by the synthase machinery can therefore facilitate the tuned production of hyaluronic acid, according to the intended application.

The general objective of John’s doctoral investigation, therefore, was to implement protein engineering principles to Class I and Class II hyaluronic acid synthases to improve hyaluronic acid production by means of polymer length and quantity. He performed the first successful directed evolution campaign of Class II hyaluronic acid synthase for improved hyaluronic acid chain length and titer. The production of high-molecular-weight hyaluronic acid up to 4.7 MDa at twice the normal output was the main highlight of his doctoral thesis. This scientific advancement was published recently in ChemBioChem.

John worked in the division of Biohybrid Systems under the supervision of Dr. Felix Jakob. The whole Schwaneberg group congratulates John for his achievement and wishes all the best and good fortune for his future.

Well done, John!

 
 
 

Dr. Anne Maria Wallraf

We are delighted to announce that PhD fellow Anne Maria Wallraf successfully graduated today.

Her work is entitled “Protein engineering of laccase for improved resistance towards cosolvents” and includes studies such as “A loop engineering strategy improves laccase lcc2 activity in ionic liquid and aqueous solution ” and “How to engineer glucose oxidase for mediated electron transfer ”.

Congratulations and all the best, Anne!!

 
 
 

Dr. Zhanzhi Liu

Photo of Dr. Zhanzhi Liu with hat Copyright: Bio VI

Congratulations, Zhanzhi Liu!

We are proud to announce that our PhD student Zhanzhi Liu successfully defended his PhD work today.

His work was entitled "Protein engineering of FhuA Δ1-160 variants for controlled release of compounds" and included studies such as engineering of the transmembrane protein FhuA and using it as model nanopore in polymer vesicle structures and in the preparation of synthosomes.

Zhanzhi Liu will leave our group for the city of Wuxi in the Jiangsu Province in China, where he will continue his career as a lecturer at Jiangnan University.

Congratulations and all the best, Zhanzhi!

 
 

Dr. Kristin Rübsam

Photo of Kristin Rübsam with her PhD hat Copyright: Bio VI

The Schwaneberg group is proud to announce that our PhD student Kristin Rübsam successfully defend her PhD work today.

Her work entitle “Anchor peptide for polymer surface functionalization” and included studies such as “KnowVolution of the polymer binding peptide LCI for improved polypropylene binding”, “Directed evolution of polypropylene and polystyrene binding peptides” “Anchor peptides: A green and versatile method for polypropylene functionalization.”

Kristin is going to continue in our group as Postdoc.

Congratulations and all the best Kristin!!!

 
 
 

Dr. Yunus Ensari

Photo of Dr. Yunus Ensari with hat Copyright: Bio VI

Yunus Ensari successfully defended his PhD work on February 19th 2018.

His work was entitled "Synthesis of oxo-fatty acid esters in a whole cell cascade reactions with engineered monooxygenase (P450 BM3) and dehydrogenase (cpADH5) variants" and included studies such as the engineering of a Candida parapsilosis alcohol dehydrogenase for the conversion of methyl 3-hydroxyalcanoates.

Yunus Ensari left our work group for the city of Kars in Northeastern Turkey, where he will continue his career as an assistant professor at the Kafkas University starting in March 2018.

 
 
 

Dr. Julia Kinzel

Dr. Julia Kinzel Copyright: Bio VI

Julia Kinzel graduated on 29th July, 2017 by defending her PhD topic, which is titled as towards chiral nanopores based on tailor-made FhuA β-barrel proteins. She is an expert in protein engineering of transmembrane protein FhuA, whole cell selection system using amino acid decorated glass beads and characterization of FhuA-polymer conjugates. Julia will stay in our work group as a Senior Scientist.

 
 

Dr. Jianhua Yang

Jianhua Yang

We are very happy to announce that Ms. Jianhua Yang graduated on the 21st of October, 2016. She started her doctoral studies in the Schwaneberg group with the topic Enabling directed evolution 3.0 by a promoter toolbox, casting epPCR and engineered polymerase in 2012 and will continue her career as associate professor in the Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology of Chinese Academy of Sciences. She is an expert in protein engineering, biocatalysis and enzymology.

 
 

Dr. Georgette Körfer

Georgette Körfer Copyright: Biotec

Georgette Körfer graduated on 26th July, 2016 by defending her PhD topic, which is titled as Development of a flow cytometer-based in vitro compartmentalization screening platform for directed protein evolution. Her expertise lies mainly in protein engineering, cell-free enzyme production, flow-cytometry and production of double emulsion compartments. Recently, she has joined Dalli Werke GmbH & Co. KG as project manager in the laundry and home care division.

 
   

Dr. Gaurao Dhoke

Dr. Gaurao Dhoke Copyright: Biotec

Gaurao Dhoke received his PhD title on 2nd June 2016. His PhD thesis was about computational analysis of mechanism and substrate specificity of an Alcohol dehydrogenase from Candida parapsilosis. During his doctoral study in the Schwaneberg group, he has gained expertise in rational enzyme design, molecular docking and molecular dynamics simulation. Currently, he is working as PostDoc in the Computation Biology Sub division of the Schwaneberg group.

 
 

Dr. Nina Lülsdorf

Dr. Nina Lülsdorf Copyright: Bio VI

Nina Lülsdorf achieved her PhD title on 26th January, 2016 on protein engineering for polyethylene terephthalate degradation. This project was a part of FuPol – Functionalization of Polymers alliance in collaboration with academic and industrial partners. She is an expert in protein engineering, process implementation, good manufacturing practice and project management. She is currently working in the division of technology & process Transfer in Vetter Pharma-Fertigung GmbH & Co. KG located in Ravensburg, Germany.