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.

PhD FELLOW # 3

Jan Hendrik Illies

WP1: TOOLS FOR NON-CANONICAL AMINO ACIDS INCORPORATION

BIOSYNTHESIS OF NON-CANONICAL AMINO ACIDS AND THEIR DIRECT INCORPORATION

 

Biography

My name is Jan Hendrik Illies (ORCID: 0009-0002-1187-6019), and I am a PhD candidate at the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam in the research group of Dr. Ivana Drienovská. My academic background encompasses a B.Sc. degree in Biochemistry from the University of Bayreuth and a M.Sc. degree in Biochemistry from the University of Leipzig. My journey has been further enriched through industrial experiences and by completing my master’s thesis at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research.

 Tell us a bit about your PhD project

The project is a practical exploration of bioengineering. I am working on engineering a biosynthetic pathway for the in vivo synthesis of non-canonical amino acids (ncAA) and the respective incorporation system. This key step enables the smooth incorporation of these ncAAs into model proteins. I am further focusing on optimizing these single-cell processes that merge synthesis and ncAA incorporation, aiming for accuracy and cost-effectiveness. The culmination of my project is the application of this system to protein engineering. In essence, my project offers a comprehensive and holistic approach to bioengineering with ncAAs.

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

As a passionate biochemist, I am deeply excited about exploring the biosynthesis and application of ncAAs. This field is a treasure trove of opportunities that could lead to revolutionary breakthroughs in protein engineering. From the consortium, I am eagerly anticipating an enriching environment that fosters intellectual growth and sparks innovation in a multicultural setting. I am thrilled at the idea of learning from my fellow researchers, sharing my own knowledge, and collectively pushing the frontiers of our understanding of bioengineering. I am convinced that this international training network is an ideal platform for such a fruitful interdisciplinary exchange.

at what Harry Potter house do you belong?

PyMOL or Chimera?

Organization

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Doctoral Supervisor

Dr. Ivana Drienovská 

Enrolment in Doctoral degree

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VUA)

Secondments

At University of Manitoba (Winnipeg, Canada) with Prof. Nediljko Budisa & TU Graz (Graz, Austria) with Prof. Robert Kourist

Objectives

  • Engineering of the biosynthetic pathway for in vivo synthesis of non-canonical amino acids (NCAA) 
  • Incorporation of NCAA into model proteins 
  • Optimization of a single-cell process of synthesis and NCAA incorporation 
  • Utilization of the system for protein engineering

 

Fields related to the project

(1) Synthetic biology
(2) Biocatalysis
(3) Protein engineering

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.