Master Thesis

New nitrile hydratases: Characterization and engineering

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Kontakt: Dr. Margit Winkler
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The Austrian Centre of Industrial Biotechnology (acib) is bridging the gap between science and industry and develops more environmentally friendly and economic processes for the biotechnological, pharmaceutical and chemical industries. All these processes are modeled on methods and tools from nature. This know-how is the foundation for new and improved applications and products in the field of industrial biotechnology all over the world. Currently, more than 250 acib scientists are working on more than 150 industrial and strategic projects. In Graz we offer a

Master thesis


New nitrile hydratases: Characterization and engineering


The main goal of this project is to characterize novel nitrile hydratases and to identify efficient biocatalysts for application (high activity, high selectivity). A set of new bacterial nitrile hydratases (NHases) is available which can be expressed in E. coli. One task is to optimize enzyme expression in E. coli. Another to clone, express and determine nitrile hydratase activity of novel enzymes. To do so, it is vital to develop a colony-based screening assay. With this assay, we would like to analyze the substrate scope and selectivity of novel nitrile hydratases. Moreover, temperature and pH range of NHases will be characterized to find robust biocatalysts.


Figure 1. Nitrile hydratases consist of two subunits and a metal center in the active site. They catalyze the hydrolysis of a nitrile to the respective amide

The ideal master candidate studied biotechnology, molecular biology, biochemistry or chemistry and has very good theoretical and practical knowledge of: microbiological work (culturing bacteria on small scale, cell disruption, SDS-PAGE analysis, activity assays); cloning (PCR, isolation of plasmids, gel electrophoresis, clean-up of DNA, ligation); bioinformatic tools (BLAST, CLC-workbench). However, knowledge of all techniques is not mandatory. Applicants should be enthusiastic to reach defined goals, to be motivated to learn new techniques and to present their results.

We, the team of Margit Winkler, are working in an international environment and are looking for motivated candidates with good English skills both spoken and written. Starting dates are flexible.

Deadline for applications: May 4th 2018

If you feel addressed or would like further information, please contact Dr. Margit Winkler ( or come by at Petersgasse 14, 3rd floor, 8010 Graz.

ACIB is dedicated to a well balanced gender ratio. Therefore this job advertisement addresses qualified male and female persons equally. ACIB is not part of any collective agreement under Austrian law.