PhD: Engineering Ralstonia eutropha to convert CO2/waste stream into useful chemicals using a synth

United Kingdom
Aug 05, 2016
Nov 30, 2016
Organization Type
University and College
Full Time

This project falls under the umbrella of carbon capture and utilization (CCU), i.e., to turn a greenhouse gas CO2 into a useful feedstock for chemical syntheses. Instead of using a physico-chemical approach to capture CO2 and to transform CO2 into useful chemicals using metal-based catalysts, the project capitalizes on the natural ability of biological systems in carbon capture, carbon concentration and carbon utilization. Specifically, we are interested in exploring the biotechnological potentials of Ralstonia eutropha in biological CCU. R. eutropha is known for its intrinsic ability to synthesize and accumulate polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA; bioplastics) and for their superior performance in aromatic compound degradation.

In this project, the student will (1) develop molecular tools for engineering R. eutropha and related species, (2) apply metabolic engineering/directed evolution/synthetic biology to tailor/fine-tune the properties of R. eutropha for chemical production, and (3) design industrial processes utilizing R. eutropha and evaluate the techno-economics of biological CCU.

The student will join the multi-disciplinary ChELSI institute and the newly established Advanced Biomanufacturing Centre (ABC) at the University of Sheffield, which is equipped with state-of-the-art research facilities. He/she will receive a broad training in molecular biology, protein engineering, synthetic biology, biophysics and chemical engineering. Further, he/she will engage with the Doctoral Development Programme designed to help developing specialist and transferable skills, which will enhance students’ research capability and employability.

Any enquiry should be directed to Dr. Kang Lan Tee (


Funding Notes

The department has, at its discretion, funds which it can offer to facilitate and put towards any application. The level of funding made available will be made on an individual basis and determined by the financial situation of the applicant.

Applications for studentships from sponsored or self-funding student are welcome at any time.