ESR14 – Veronika Chadimová
This project investigates the promiscuous activity of 4-OT and related enzymes to promote the asymmetric addition of nitroalkanes to a wide variety of α,β-unsaturated aldehydes. For this purpose, the researcher enrolled will optimise the enzymes for reactions that yield interesting GABA precursors by using different tools of protein engineering. They will afterwards characterise the artificial Michaelases in terms of structure-function relationships, using techniques such as DNA sequencing, protein purification or X-ray structure analysis.
My scientific background is in organic and medicinal chemistry. After graduating from Lund University I joined a two-year R&D graduate programme in AstraZeneca and that’s how I learnt about biocatalysis. Nature’s efficiency in chemical transformations amazes me, so if I can do my part to mimic it, improve it or even do some cool new tricks, count me in! In my free time I am a keen board gamer with almost an unhealthily large collection. I like solving problems and finding answers in games, and it turns out I can do that as a job as well! If I have to look for negatives – I guess in general the quality of coffee in research institutes could be better? On some days coffee is the only thing holding the whole place together…Besides biocatalysis, I am also interested in astrochemistry. And outside of the scientific realm I enjoy traveling (…or used to, thanks, corona), reading and walks with my dogs. I see myself doing research after this ETN, but first I will make sure to learn as much as I can during my PhD and the future will sort itself out.
Project title: Engineering of enantioselective Michaelases
Host institution: Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
Secondments: University of Zagreb and Enzymicals AG
Supervisor: Gerrit J. Poelarends