PhD Position in Building Chemical Reaction Networks with Structural Elements around Activated Amino Acids

University of Freiburg

Deutschland

The Pappas research group is offering the following position: ERC-funded PhD position: Building Chemical Reaction Networks with Structural Elements around Activated Amino Acids (f/m/d)
  • Application deadline: 31.07.2024
  • Publication date: 28.06.2024
  • Start-date: 01.09.2024
  • Fulltime position
  • Id no.: 00003514

Description

More information about our research focus: https://pappasresearchgroup.com/ Starting date: 01/09/2024 or earliest possible time

Project description

Phosphates and phosphate esters are essential in diverse biological functions, such as encoding genetic information, regulating signal transduction mechanisms and providing chemical energy. Particular to the energetics of life, biochemical phosphates activate transient assemblies by incorporating structural and recognition elements in their structure. Beyond phosphoric anhydrides, biology uses other fuels, like creatine or carbamoyl phosphate, as well as nicotinamide adenine dinucleotides (NADH/NADPH) to drive selective metabolic processes. We recently demonstrated that amino acyl phosphate esters1 can bind covalently to substrates and subsequently influence the structures in the assembly process, thus the structural elements around activated moieties encode the properties in the transient structures2.

For the project, we look for a highly motivated PhD candidate for the development of chemical reaction networks using activated amino acids or short peptide sequences. The aims of the project are to (i) synthesize short peptide sequences of aminoacyl phosphate esters (ii) achieve selection in mixtures containing different types of activated amino acids and (ii) characterize these systems in terms of composition, nanoscale architecture and supramolecular interactions. We will focus on understanding the chemical design space for the structural behavior of aminoacyl phosphate esters by exploring variations in the amino acid side chains, at the N-terminus of the sequences and in the phosphate esters. Such structural variations can in turn direct different pathways when transferring energy and reactivity for the formation and destruction of assemblies. Incorporating structural elements around non-biological phosphates represents an unexplored opportunity to impact reaction networks, by developing phosphate-driven supramolecular systems chemistry.2

Relevant publications
  1. Dai, K.; Pol, M.; Saile, L.; Sharma, A.; Liu, B.; Thomann, R.; Trefs, J.; Qiu, D.; Moser, S.; Wiesler, S.; Balzer, B.; Hugel, T.; Jessen, H.; Pappas, C. G., Spontaneous and Selective Peptide Elongation in Water Driven by Aminoacyl Phosphate Esters and Phase Changes. Am. Chem. Soc. 145, 48, 26086–26094
  2. Pol, M.; Dai, K.; Thomann, R.; Moser, Pappas, C. G., Guiding Transient Peptide Assemblies with Structural Elements Around Abiotic Phosphate Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2024, e 202404360.
Candidate profile

For this project interdisciplinary competences ranging from organic and analytical chemistry to supramolecular and systems chemistry are desirable. The potential PhD candidates are therefore expected to have a master degree with outstanding grades in one of the following fields (chemistry, polymer science, functional materials) and the strong willingness to work interdisciplinary. Previous experience in one of the following areas (solid and solution phase peptide synthesis, dynamic covalent chemistry, spectroscopic techniques) is appreciated, but it is not a requirement. In addition, strong competences in scientific presentations and writing (in English language) as well as team skills are expected from the successful PhD candidate as they will be part of a creative, productive and dynamic research team.

Please hand in:
  • Motivation letter detailing why you are interested in this specific project, what potential ideas you could develop and how your previous research qualifies you for the project (up to 1,500 words)
  • Curriculum Vitae with list of publications (if applicable)
  • Certified copies of your university degree(s) with grades (BA and MA certificate / Diploma certificate and transcript)
  • Short summary of your master’s thesis (up to 1,000 words)
  • Two reference letters

This position is for 36 months. The salary will be determined in accordance with TV-L E13.

Please send your application in English including supporting documents mentioned above by 01/08/2024 at the latest. Please send your application to the following address:

Contact person about position: Charalampos Pappas

charalampos.pappas@livmats.uni-freiburg.de

This position is for 36 months. The salary will be determined in accordance with TV-L E13.

We will be particularly pleased to receive applications from women for the position advertised here.

Application

Please send your application in English including supporting documents mentioned above citing the reference number 00003514, by 31.07.2024 at the latest. Please send your application to the following address in written or electronic form:

Freiburger Zentrum für interaktive Werkstoffe und bioinspirierte Technologien (FIT)
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität
Dr. Charalampos Pappas
Georges-Köhler-Allee 105
79110 Freiburg

For further information, please contact Dr. Charalampos Babis Pappas on the phone number +49 761 203-95160 or E-Mail charalampos.pappas@livmats.uni-freiburg.de.


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