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Postdoc scholarship in wood-based systems biocatalysis

KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm has grown to become one of Europe’s leading technical and engineering universities, as well as a key centre of intellectual talent and innovation. We are Sweden’s largest technical research and learning institution and home to students, researchers and faculty from around the world. Our research and education covers a wide area including natural sciences and all branches of engineering, as well as architecture, industrial management, urban planning, history and philosophy.

The workplace

Wallenberg Wood Science Center (WWSC) is a research center which started in 2009 and is funded by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg foundation. WWSC is a multidisciplinary collaboration between Chalmers, KTH and Linköping University striving for scientific excellence, and the overall aim is to develop new materials from trees. The mission of the center is to create knowledge and competence as a basis for eco-friendly materials for the future. For more information:  and

Project Description

Syrén’s research group ( ) is currently recruiting a postdoc “in wood-based systems biocatalysis” funded by the Wallenberg Wood Science Center. The successful candidate will join the biocatalysis team of this multidisciplinary project, to work in close collaboration with synthetic biology (Assoc. Prof. Per-Olof Syrén) and the polymer chemistry group (Prof. Eva Malmström, Dr. Linda Fogelström) at the forefront of sustainability science at KTH.

The main goal of this transdisciplinary project is to generate sustainable polymeric materials from renewable resources. To take on this challenge, the project bridges the fields of systems biocatalysis and polymer technology, to generate biopolymers from non-cellulosic wood-based building blocks, in particular terpenes. The research area of the postdoc is centered on the design and development of in vitro enzyme cascades, to expand nature’s current capabilities with respect to natural product biosynthesis. To achieve this, the successful candidate will capitalize on the concept of retrobiocatalysis applied to oxidoreductase enzymes, to afford the necessary activation of inert building blocks from the tree. Generation of biopolymers from activated monomers through enzyme catalysis is also addressed. Enzyme design and engineering tools developed at KTH will be utilized to expand catalytic versatilities of biocatalyst. The project will take advantage of the new era of whole genome sequencing and will include enzyme discovery from the DNA of exotic bacteria recently sequenced by us. One milestone in the project will be efficient generation of functionalized and oxidized terpenes by artificial cascades. As terpenes constitute the most diversified class of polycyclic natural products with potent bioactivities, this is expected to have a large impact on academic and industrial research.

The position will be placed at the Department of Fibre and Polymer Technology at KTH and will benefit from close collaboration with the group of Prof. Eva Malmström as well as Swedish industry and the Wallenberg Wood Science Center at KTH. Moreover, close collaboration with the Science for Life Laboratory will enable the project’s transdisciplinary approach. This postdoc position is a full-time scholarship position for one year. The ideal starting date would be before the summer 2020.


The applicant must have completed a doctoral degree in biocatalysis, bioorganic chemistry, biotechnology, biochemistry, synthetic biology or corresponding competences. In depth knowledge in biocatalysis and experience of working with in vitro enzyme cascades and oxidoreductases is highly beneficial. Competences in enzyme discovery from genome sequence data, protein engineering, molecular biology, analytical chemistry, mass spectrometry and organic chemistry are of merit for this position. Experience of interdisciplinary scientific work, working with protein structures in the computer and bioinformatical methods is moreover a plus.

A doctoral degree must have been obtained within three years when applying for this position. The candidate should have well developed analytical and problem solving skills. Good knowledge of English in speech and writing is necessary to publish and present research results in international conferences and journals. Great emphasis will be placed on personal competence and suitability. 


Apply to this scholarship by e-mail to . You are the main responsible to ensure that your application is complete according to the ad. Your complete application must be received at KTH no later than 2020-10-28. Mark your application with reference number C-2020-1894.

The application must include the following documents:

  • Curriculum vitae
  • Cover letter (detailing both your previous scientific work experience and your interest in this position)
  • Research statement (max 2 pages)
  • Contact information for three references

Please observe that you apply for a scholarship, not an employment.

About the position/positions

Period: 1 year

Extent: Full-time

Amount of scholarship: According to agreement

Location: Stockholm


Per-Olof Syrén, Assoc. Professor

KTH Royal Institute of Technology

School of Engineering Sciences in Chemistry, Biotechnology and Health (CBH)


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