(SENIOR) SCIENTIST: ENZYME DESIGN AND SCREENING

Oxford Biotrans is a start-up company pioneering the commercialization of biocatalytic processes for the production of high value specialty chemicals. The company seeks to appoint an experienced scientist to take a lead in the design and screening of new cytochrome P450 enzymes.

The Role

Based at our new facilities in the Oxford area, the jobholder will have a keen interest to define and lead programmes of R&D that will target specific biotransformations. The role will involve hands-on design, evolution and screening of enzymes. The role will entail supervision of junior scientists and require a close liaison with others responsible for process development based upon your work.

Typical for all start-up companies, there may be a variety of other tasks outside the main role specification that the jobholder may need to undertake at the request of the company to help move this early-stage business forward. For an outstanding performer there would be the opportunity to shape the role as the company develops.


The Person

• Scientist with qualification (PhD) in appropriate technical area, probably biochemistry and several years’ post-doctoral experience
• Experience in:
o Design and evolution of mutant enzymes with improved performance in the target biotransformations
▪ Functional expression of enzyme families and classes
▪ Application of rational protein engineering, directed evolution, synthetic metagenomics and other approaches for enzyme redesign with the goal of improving expression, solubility, activity, substrate specificity and product profile
▪ Deep understanding of protein library design and statistical analysis of experimental data
▪ Knowledge of enzyme mechanisms and chemistry of metabolic pathways

▪ Some experience or awareness of appropriate molecular modelling/bioinformatics tools and machine learning approaches would also be desirable.

o Screening of enzymes for (cell-free and whole-cell) biotransformation of organic substrates
▪ A good understanding of the structure/function relationships of enzymes (esp. P450s) and enzyme kinetics
• Specific experience with P450s would be a strong advantage
• Appropriate knowledge of/skills in molecular biology sufficient at least for manipulation, transformation and expression of mutants for screening purposes
• Design and implementation of biochemical assays for screening performance:
o Application of DOE methods to reduce assay variability and increase reproducibility
o Experience of in vitro and in vivo enzyme assay development and characterization of enzyme kinetics
• Experience with techniques for analysis, isolation and characterisation of organic compounds (such as GC, HPLC, GC-MS, HPLC-MS, NMR) would be desirable
• Good organizational skills and experience in supervising (a team of) junior scientists
• Ability to develop experimental work-programmes to address business objectives
• Ambitious and keen to develop a career in industrial biotechnology
• Self-starter who can quickly take the initiative in problem solving
• Professional, mature, confident and a good team-worker
• Excellent written and verbal communication skills (English language)
To discuss further, please forward a CV and covering letter to Katie Cook via info@oxfordbiotrans.com
Oxford Biotrans Limited is an Equal Opportunities employer that is happy to welcome applications for any applicant who fulfil the role requirements for this position.