Recent graduates

 

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.