10 international PhD fellowships in the European Doctoral Network BiocatCodeExpander for a training on innovative biotechnological applications of non-canonical amino acids for biocatalysis, synthetic biology, organic chemistry and computational biology.


Cecilia Córdoba Quintero



Site-directed immobilization of enzymes on solid carriers through NCAAS



My name is Cecilia Córdoba, and I am 26 years old. I have a degree in Biotechnology and Biotechnology Engineering from ORT University (Montevideo, Uruguay). During the project to obtain my diploma, I was a member of the Protein Technology Research Group headed by Dr. Lorena Betancor. In May 2021, I became a Biotechnology Technician.

I have always been interested in and curious about nature and biology which led me to choose biology as my high school education. Later, during university and working in the clinical diagnosis area, I became more interested in molecular biology and microbiology. Being a student of the Protein Technology Research Group at ORT University made me more interested in biocatalysis and structural biology, developing new strategies for the purification, immobilization, and stabilization of proteins.

Nowadays, I am a PhD student as a member of the Heterogeneous Biocatalysis Laboratory in CIC biomaGUNE.

Tell us a bit about your PhD project

In the PhD project, we hypothesize that site-directed immobilization of enzymes using non-canonical amino acids (NCAA) will allow us to demonstrate biophysically that it generates effects on enzyme kinetics, and stability, as well as the access of substrates to catalytic centres through tunnels. To this end, it is proposed to perform the recombinant expression of four selected proteins to introduce in them NCAA, using two methodologies, the use of auxotrophic cells, and Cell-Free Protein Synthesis (CFPS). These NCAA will be the connection between the surface (that will be functionalized with specific chemical groups to interact with the NCAA) and the recombinant protein to be immobilized.

Tell us about your research interests – what do you expect from the consortium

Considering my research interests, during this time working in the Heterogeneous Biocatalysis Laboratory and as a member of the BiocatCode Expander Network, I became more interested in the research atmosphere. The laboratory activities as well as the divulgation events are perfect opportunities to learn and acquire more knowledge and experience in this area and work as a member of a team. The Network allow us to share not only academic results with our nine colleagues all over European countries helping us to perform the project, but also allow us to exchange cultural aspects and life experiences.


Talking about my interests, during my free time I like reading and my favourite book is Pride and Prejudice written by Jane Austen, it is an old and classic novel, which adaptation was so good that it can be considered my favourite movie. If I am not reading, I enjoy watching series, and I consider one of the most amazing TV series is Friends, I would watch the chapters again and again without getting bored.

As an Uruguayan, I would say that my favourite food is a dish that is called ´Milanesa a la napolitana con papas fritas´. It is meat with cheese and jam on the top with French fries as a side. And considering that I am a sweet dishes person, I love ´alfajores de dulce de leche´, a very sweet dessert made with milk and cookies very typical from Uruguay. 

Favourite city

There are a few beautiful cities around the world that I visited and many more I want to visit in the future. But considering the people who live there and the fact that is my home, I would say that my favourite city is Montevideo, where I come from.

 at what Harry Potter house do you belong?

I consider myself a Harry Potter fan, and according to the results from the last quiz, I am from Hufflepuff House 🦡

PyMOL or Chimera?

I rather prefer PyMOL because I have been working with this software since I was in university.


The Center for Cooperative Research in Biomaterials, Spain

Doctoral Supervisor

Dr. Fernando López Gallego

Enrolment in Doctoral degree

Universidad del País Vasco (UPV)


at TU Graz (Graz, Austria) with Prof. Robert Kourist & EnginZyme AB (Stockholm, Sweden) with Dr. Karim Engelmark


  • Development of medium-high throughput methods for cell-free expression and immobilization of non-canonical amino acids (NCAA)-containing artificial enzymes
  • Increase artificial enzyme thermostability 
  • Molecular characterization and operational evaluation of heterogeneous biocatalysts based on NCAA-containing artificial enzymes
  • Technology transfer


Fields related to the project

(1) Synthetic biology

(2) Biochemistry

(3) Biocatalysis

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions / Doctoral Networks

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 101072686.