PhD Project 1 BEACON:  Metabolic engineering of Pseudomonas putida KT2440

Supervisors

Prof Kevin O Connor - School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science – BEACON SFI bioeconomy research centre, University College Dublin, Ireland

Dr Tanja Narancic - School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science – BEACON SFI bioeconomy research centre, University College Dublin, Ireland

Pseudomonas putida KT2440, a soil bacterium generally recognised as safe (GRAS), is a robust organism used in many biotechnological applications.  Its complex and versatile metabolism has been exploited for pollutant degradation, promotion of plant growth, suppression of plant disease, and the production of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA).  PHA is an intracellular polymer acting as a storage material that is accumulated under inorganic nutrient limitation.  These polymers have biotechnological potential as plastics, coatings, adhesives, foams and more.  The improvement of the natural ability to produce PHA is a major challenge to achieving commercially relevant production levels.

The present study will look at the metabolism of different compounds in P. putida KT2440 and examine the fate of carbon derived from these compounds in order to achieve higher biomass and PHA production.  Using multiple omics analyses (proteomics and metabolomics) and computational analysis, targets for metabolic engineering will be identified.  Synthetic biology tools will be applied to optimise the carbon flux to the product.

The investigation is part of an EU Horizon 2020 funded project with a broad international team that includes academic and industry members.  The successful candidate will be enrolled in a 4-year structure PhD programme in School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science.

Requirements: Candidates for this position should have a MSc degree or BSc degree (minimum 2:1 honours or equivalent) in Microbiology, Biology or related discipline.  Candidates should have a strong aptitude for computational analysis. It is desirable that candidates have experience in bacterial engineering and bioinformatics.

The studentship will begin September or October 2019.  The studentship will cover tuition fees (EU rate) and an annual stipend.

Apply: Interested candidate should contact both Prof. Kevin O' Connor and Tanja Narancic (e-mail: kevin.oconnor@ucd.ie, Tanja.narancic@ucd.ie) with a cover letter and CV, including the names of two academic references.