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Research GBB

Rosalind Franklin Fellowship context Sector Plan Biology positions at GBB

Focus Area: Microbial Biotechnology

The use of biology as a technology is essential in achieving a sustainable future, most importantly in making the necessary transition from fossil-based to bio-based in industrial production. Adapted or even completely new microorganisms (so-called designer microbes) will increasingly be used, for example to fix carbon dioxide or to convert organic material into new compounds through fermentation processes (white biotechnology). Synthetic cells with optimized genomes will be designed based on biological principles and used for specific applications, such as building completely new metabolic pathways. Adapted organisms will also be used to make, for example, new antibiotics, nutritional supplements, and immune-modulating and therapeutic proteins (biosimilars). Technological breakthroughs such as high-throughput synthesis of DNA, high-throughput phenotypic characterization at the single cell level and gene modification based on the CRISPR system, in combination with advanced computational and analytical methods, will take the development of designer microbes to unprecedented levels. Microbial biotechnology will also play an important role in the reuse of sugars from agricultural waste streams. The expertise available at the Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute (GBB), ranging from metabolic engineering and synthetic biology to biocatalysis and supported with advanced analytical techniques for structure-function analysis, forms an excellent basis for tackling the associated scientific challenges.

Reinforcement of research activities in microbial biotechnology at GBB focus on:

Position 1: Natural Product Discovery and Engineering

- Discipline: Biology
- Level: Tenure-track Assistant to Associate Professor
- Fte: Full time (1.0)

Research area

Microbial biotechnology plays a crucial role in solving major societal challenges, such as the development of new antibiotics to address the urgent global problem of resistance. Through biotechnology, new natural compounds and enzymes can be discovered and further adapted for improved properties. The GBB is ideally positioned to tackle the associated scientific challenges, using microbiology (strain collections), bioinformatics (metagenomic methods to discover metabolic pathways), analysis (mass spectrometry and high-throughput screening), as well as enzyme, metabolic pathway, and cell engineering (genome editing, route construction and directed evolution). We look for creative and innovative scientific concepts and approaches for making a difference.

RFF Committee advisors at GBB:
- Prof.dr. Dirk Slotboom
- Prof.dr. Arnold Driessen
- Dr. Sonja Billerbeck

Position 2: Cell Factories for Sustainable Biosynthesis

- Discipline: Biology
- Level: Tenure-track Assistant to Associate Professor1
- Fte: Full time (1.0)

Research area

Biotechnology/synthetic biology also plays a central role on the route to a green industry without using fossil raw materials as starting material. For example, engineering microbes into cell factories that can convert either C1 compounds (e.g. CO2, CO, formic acid, etc.) or organic (e.g. agricultural) waste streams into valuable products will help us being able to replace fossil resources as a source of carbon. Innovative fundamental or applied biotechnology/synthetic biology approaches to tackle the problem is what we are looking for. Strengthening GBB research in this direction is directly linked to the ambition of the Province of Groningen to develop such a C1 industrial sector.

RFF Committee advisors at GBB:
- Prof.dr. Dirk Slotboom
- Prof.dr. Matthias Heinemann
- Prof.dr. Bert Poolman

Recently hired Rosalind Franklin Fellows at GBB:

Julia Kamenz – appointed as tenure-track Assistant Professor in Molecular Biology of Cell Division and embedded in the GBB research group Molecular Systems Biology

• Research output: https://www.rug.nl/staff/j.l.kamenz/research
• Biosketch and research highlights: https://www.rug.nl/research/gbb/research/pi/kamenz/

Tessa Quax – appointed as Associate Professor at the GBB research group Molecular Microbiology with chair in Molecular Biology of Archaea and Viruses

• Research output: https://www.rug.nl/staff/t.e.f.quax/research
• Biosketch and research highlights: https://www.rug.nl/research/gbb/research/pi/quax/

Kasia Tych – appointed as tenure-track Assistant Professor in Single Molecule Biochemistry and embedded in the GBB research group Chemical Biology I

• Research output: https://www.rug.nl/staff/k.m.tych/
• Biosketch and research highlights: https://www.rug.nl/research/gbb/research/pi/tych/

The positions of the Rosalind Franklin Fellowships at the University of Groningen are online.

More detailed information will follow as soon as possible, for more information you can also contact Prof.dr. D.J. Slotboom (Scientific Director GBB); d.j.slotboom rug.nl

Last modified:27 September 2022 11.23 a.m.