University of Cambridge

Job Opportunities


EU Marie-Curie PhD Studentship (Fixed Term)

PhD Studentship in Directed Protein Evolution

Mechanism-based Ultrahigh Throughput Enzyme Evolution in Droplets

A graduate studentship leading to the award of a PhD is available from 1 March 2019 to work at Cambridge University in the Biochemistry Department, Central Cambridge, with Dr. F. Hollfelder ( The studentship is in the context of the EU Marie-Curie network EvoDrops) on Directed Protein Evolution for Synthetic Biology and Biocatalysis.

Efficient exploration of sequence space requires new technologies that connect genotype and phenotype. Using droplet compartmentalization we have developed systems in which evolution of binders or catalysts is possible completely in vitro. These powerful technologies will be further developed, to select functional proteins from large libraries, so that they have programmed binding and recognition properties. We hope to develop strategies for evolution that are inspired by insight into enzyme mechanism that will enhance our understanding of how enzyme accelerate reactions.

Candidates will be mainly based in the Biochemistry Department in central Cambridge, but also work for extended secondments in the labs of the academic and industrial network partners in Glasgow, Z├╝rich, Paris, Bordeaux, Vilnius and Warsaw. All students take part in a training programme that includes workshops, meetings and courses given by all network partners.

Applicants should have a first (or upper second) class degree in biochemistry, biotechnology, chemistry or a related, relevant subject. Specific skills in protein engineering, directed evolution, chemical and kinetic analysis of enzyme mechanisms, organic synthesis and familiarity with molecular biology techniques (e.g. phage or ribosome display, cloning, DNA manipulation, preparation and handling of DNA libraries) are advantages.

The full stipend will be paid at rates of the EU Marie-Curie programme for the 3 year duration of the award.

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 36 months in the first instance.

Applications should contain a description of your research interests (e.g. as part of the cover letter) and your detailed CV (with exam marks and all relevant practical experience). Please also include the names and email addresses of at least two referees, who know you from your courses or laboratory research work. Send your application by email to

Enquiries about the application process can be sent to the departmental HR team at

Please quote reference PH17443 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

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Further information