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Phd Position in Biocatalysis

Faculty of Science – Van ‘t Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences

Vacancy details of Phd Position in Biocatalysis
Publication date 22 September 2021
Closing date 25 October 2021
Level of education Master's degree
Hours 38 hours per week
Salary indication €2,434 to €3,111 gross per month
Vacancy number 21-744

A PhD position is available for four years for a project in the area of biocatalysis, bio-organic chemistry and biotechnology. The project deals with the asymmetric synthesis of chiral amines and amino alcohols starting from renewable building blocks or waste, and through cascade reactions. The position is immediately available and work can start as soon as possible.

What are you going to do

The project comprises the following tasks: (i) the engineering of novel enzymes to improve existing catalytic activity, or expand substrate scope or tune chemical selectivities; (ii) the further utilisation of these enzymes into multi-enzymatic reactions aimed at the conversion of renewable building blocks into chiral amines and amino alcohols; (iii) the testing of the cascade reactions through the co-expression of the enzymes in a microbial strain and biotransformations in vivo, or through the use of immobilised enzymes in flow systems; (iv) write periodic scientific reports, manuscripts and a PhD thesis.

This project will be developed in synergy with already existing projects in the biocatalysis group, dealing with enzymatic degradation of renewable starting material or synthetic polymers and the asymmetric synthesis of amines.

What do we require

Candidates must hold a Master’s diploma in chemistry or biotechnology or a cognate discipline. The ideal PhD candidate should have theoretical knowledge and some hands-on experience in one or more of the following sub-disciplines: - biocatalyis and biotransformations; - enzyme engineering (incl. computational/structural analysis of proteins); - synthetic organic chemistry; - standard cloning techniques of molecular biology; - analysis of biochemical reaction via GC/HPLC.

The ability to collaborate and adapt in an international team is of utmost importance, and candidates must possess good communication skills in oral and written English.

Our offer

A temporary contract for 38 hours per week, preferably starting on 1 November or 1 December 2021, for the duration of four years (the initial contract will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory evaluation it will be extended for a total duration of four years). This should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). We will draft an educational plan that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings. We also expect you to assist in teaching undergraduates and master students. 

The salary, depending on relevant experience before the beginning of the employment contract, will be €2,434 to €3,111 (scale P) gross per month, based on a fulltime contract (38 hours a week). This is exclusive 8 % holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.

Are you curious about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits like our excellent opportunities for study and development? Take a look here.


Do you have questions about this vacancy? Or do you want to know more about our organisation? Please contact:

About us

The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 7,000, as well as 1,600 members of staff working in education, research or support services. Researchers and students at the Faculty of Science are fascinated by every aspect of how the world works, be it elementary particles, the birth of the universe or the functioning of the brain.

The Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences (HIMS) is one of eight institutes of the University of Amsterdam (UvA) Faculty of Science. HIMS performs internationally recognized chemistry and molecular research, curiosity driven as well as application driven. This is done in close cooperation with the chemical, flavor & food, medical and high-tech industries. Research is organized into four themes: Synthesis & Catalysis, Analytical Chemistry, Computational Chemistry and Molecular Photonics.

The Biocatalysis group is headed by Dr. Francesco Mutti. In general, the Biocatalysis group carries out cutting-edge research at the interface between chemical and biological sciences. The research mainly focuses on the development of novel biocatalysts for the sustainable synthesis of high-value chemical products as well as for the degradation and recycling of waste materials. Complementary research lines are the identification and characterization of novel enzymes, the engineering of novel enzymes and the application of enzymes in cascades reactions in vitro (in batch or in flow) and in vivo.

Job application

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritize diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

Do you recognize yourself in the job profile? Then we look forward to receiving your application by 25 October 2021. You can apply online by using the link below. 

Applications in .pdf should include:

  • a motivation letter and CV, including a list of publications,

The selection process commences immediately, and it will close when a suitable candidate has been found, even if this is prior to the final date of the application window.

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