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.






High-throughput screening and selection methods for deep mutational scanning



I was born in Freising, Germany but actually lived there only for I year and then came to Croatia. In Croatia I studied at the Faculty of Food Technology and Biotechnology at the University of Zagreb. There I did both my bachelor’s degree in biotechnology and Master’s degree in Bioprocess Engineering. During my Master studies I did an Erasmus+ internship at the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology at TU Graz, during which I did my Master thesis titled Engineering of phenolic acid decarboxylase. One of the things that I did during my research was developing and establishing a high-throughput assay for determination of activity and kinetic parameters of this enzyme which actually turned out to be very useful for my PhD project as well

Tell us a bit about your PhD project

Focus of my PhD project will be on developing a high-throughput screening and selection method for functional expression of NCAA-containing enzymes. Aim is to use the developed HTP assay to easily find variants with improved catalytic properties. After that, during the two secondments, machine learning will be used for prediction of improved enzyme variants and structure elucidation and understanding the effect of NCAA on catalytic properties of the enzyme will be done with industrial partner.

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

During my PhD I hope, and I believe that I will be able to broaden my knowledge in the scientific field. As my background is in bioprocess engineering, I look forward to developing my skills and become even more familiar with molecular biotechnology methods. I enjoy working in an international group and I am very grateful that I got the opportunity to be part of this amazing research group. I expect to further develop as a scientist, researcher and as a person as well. I think being part of this consortium will be an amazing learning opportunity for each one of us and we will get a very good base for our future careers and jobs.


Book: Animal farm

Meal: simple and basic student meal – pasta with pesto

Movie: I love Marvel series, Interstellar and one of the best movies in my opinion is The Devil wears Prada!

Series: Modern Family, Brooklyn 99, Stranger Things and Dark

Favorite city

I would have to go with my hometown Zaprešić!

at what Harry Potter house do you belong?

Gryffindor of course 🦁

PyMOL or Chimera?



Graz University of Technology, Austria

Doctoral Supervisor

Prof. Robert Kourist

Enrolment in Doctoral degree

Graz University of Technology (TUG)


At Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, United States of America) with Prof. Lynn Kamerlin & moloX GmbH (Berlin, Germany) with Dr. Bernhard Loll


  • Development of high-throughput screening and selection methods for functional expression of non-canonical amino acids (NCAA)-containing enzymes
  • Develop whole-cell selection assays
  • Generation of gene site saturation mutagenesis libraries of NCAA-containing enzymes
  • Deep mutational scanning
  • Use machine learning for prediction of improved enzyme variants with extended substrate scope
  • Structure elucidation and biochemical characterization of improved variants


Fields related to the project

(1) Synthetic biology
(2) Computational biology
(3) Biocatalysis
(4) Structural biochemistry

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.