PhD- Flow Biocatalysis Platforms for Green Chemistry

Job Description

Project Description Biocatalysis for the synthesis of a range of compounds such as synthesis intermediates, therapeutics, flavourings, cosmeceuticals etc., has been undergoing a revolution. However, in many cases the scaling up of bench reactions to process level has encountered problems such as mass transfer, heat transfer, mixing and foaming issues. These difficulties have driven the emergence of flow biocatalysis. The rapid growth in this field is due to advances in molecular biology and biotechnology and the emergence of the broader field of flow chemistry in chemical reaction engineering. In this project we will develop novel flow biocatalytic processes in nonconventional media known as Deep Eutectic Solvents (DES). Typical approaches to continuous flow biocatalysis involve the immobilsation of the enzyme of interest onto a support material. Most supports are typically packed bed systems involving either monoliths (polymers polymerised within the channels) or inert particles such as silica, solgels that are packed within the channel. Consequently, undesirable fluctuating back pressures can be observed with these packed channels. Given that the chemistry we are exploring is being carried out in DES, it is expected that the viscosity of the DES will cause significant issues with respect to backpressures. A solution to this problem has been recently employed by the Nolan group at Dublin City University: to eliminate backpressure: a monolithic porous layer open tubular (monoPLOT) capillary system was used. With the monoPLOT capillary, the polymer synthesised within the channel is controlled so only a layer of the monolith exists on the walls of the capillary leaving the centre of the capillary open. In this way, backpressure is eliminated allowing for a continuous flow process for synthesis.

Student Requirements for this Project A degree in Chemistry, Biochemistry, Biotrechnology, Bioengineering or equivalent ideally with experience of biocatalysis or relevant related area.

Fully Funded (scholarship, fees, materials) Funding agency Science Foundation Ireland Student Stipend per annum € 17,250-23,000 Materials & Travel Budget per annum € 4,000 Fees covered by the funding Duration of funding 48 months

If you are interested in submitting an application for this project, please complete an Expression of Interest.