2 PhD students on Physiology and Engineering of Clostridum thermocellum
KTH Royal Institute of Technology, School of Biotechnology
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This project aims to quantitatively understand the fascinating physiology of Clostridium thermocellum and develop this microorganism as a next-generation robust microbial cell factory for production of sustainable fuels and chemicals.
Industrial biotechnological production of chemicals and fuels from bio-based resources provides a circular and sustainable alternative for petrochemical production, as illustrated by the recent start-up of many yeast and E. coli based industrial processes. For such processes the use of lignocellulosic feedstocks, instead of refined sugars, is preferred to expand (future) production volumes, improve cost-competitiveness and avoid competition with food. Examples of lignocellulosic feedstocks are agricultural- and forestry residues or dedicated ‘energy’ crops grown on non-arrable land. The recently started industrial yeast-based processes for ethanol production from corn stover and bagasse illustrate the potential for further innovations in both mechanical- and enzymatic pretreatment.
The main benefit of C. thermocellum is its natural ability to degrade (ligno-) cellulose without the addition of enzymes after minimal mechanical pretreatment, which give it the potential to replace current biocatalysts in the medium to long term future. The two PhD students in this project will be appointed at the Industrial Biotechnology Division at KTH Royal Institute of Technology and will perform their work in an international collaboration with the groups of Prof. Lee Lynd (Dartmouth College, U.S.A). The project will apply state-of-the-art molecular biology techniques combined with laboratory evolution, metabolic engineering and quantitative physiology in bioreactors to investigate the metabolism of C. thermocellum and simultaneously improve the robustness to changes in pH, presence of organic acids, fluctuating concentrations of monosaccharides, high product concentrations and decreased formation of by-products.
The candidate should have an Msc degree in industrial biotechnology, biochemical engineering or equivalent. Experience with bioreactor cultivation (batch and continuous) and molecular biology are important merits for these positions. A natural affinity for team work and communication as well as fluency in spoken and written English are required. The candidate should be highly motivated for doing scientific research and should have well developed analytical and problem solving skills.
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|Type of employment||Temporary position longer than 6 months|
|Contract type||Full time|
|First day of employment||According to agreement (aiming for a start between 01-09-2017 and 31-12-2017)|
|Salary||Monthly salary according to KTH’s Ph.D. student agreement|
|Number of positions||2|
|Last application date||15.Jun.2017 11:59 PM CET|