ESR12 – Massimo di Mascio
This project will focus on the rational redesign of a fructose-6-phosphate aldolase for promiscuous substrate specificities. The research will start from an exhaustive characterization of the parent catalyst in terms of structure and kinetic profile. This will render the protein hotspots that are critical for substrate binding and specificity that will subsequently serve as a base for engineering novel biocatalytic applications.
I have studied in the beautiful city of Rome where I obtained my Master´s degree in chemistry with a specialization in “chemistry of biological systems”. During my Master´s thesis internship I acquired useful skills in protein expression, modification, purification and enzyme kinetics. What really intrigues me is the chemistry behind the functioning of enzymes and how to use this knowledge to obtain new proteins for biotechnological purposes. I have always been a curious person since I was a child and loved science since I can remember. During high school I got passionate about chemistry but it was during my academic years I realized that my true passion was biochemistry, the wonderful science behind the magic of life which can also provide useful technological applications for the world. I am so enthusiastic about this new experience, I have always wanted to go abroad for studying and now that I finally have the occasion, I am loving it. I really like to be here in Göttingen, a small city in the middle of Germany where you can find forests, many parks and several different kinds of good beer. Here I have the possibility to learn the German language and to work in a well-equipped laboratory with a great team. The CC-top network is now giving me the great opportunity to learn a lot about rational design, structural biology and to discover better the world of industrial and academic research. I still don´t know if in the future I would prefer to be a researcher in company or in a university and I hope that these PhD years could help me to decide what suits me best. When I am not in the lab you will find me in a forest or in a mountain because I really love trekking and any activity that brings me in close contact with nature. I also like running, board games and good wine. I really don´t like three things: be in the traffic, people who are incapable of changing their mind, and inequality in the work place.
Project title: Structure-guided design of novel thermophilic aldolases
Host institution: Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
Secondments: TU Darmstadt and BASF SE
Supervisor: Kai Tittmann