GREEN PHOTOCATALYTIC PRODUCTION OF FUEL-LIKE HYDROCARBONS USING FATTY ACID PHOTODECARBOXYLASE

A PhD position in bio-photocatalysis at the I2BC/Paris-Saclay University & BIAM/Aix Marseille University in France is available for a dynamic and enthusiastic candidate. Funded by the French National Research Agency (ANR), the interdisciplinary project focuses on developing innovative biocatalysts for photo-production of hydrocarbon fuels of non-fossil origin.
The PhD project, entitled 'Green photocatalytic production of fuel-like hydrocarbons using Fatty Acid Photodecarboxylase,' aims to optimize the natural Fatty Acid Photodecarboxylase (FAP) enzyme for higher photostability and more efficient binding and photodecarboxylation of short fatty acid substrates, yielding liquid hydrocarbons.
Key responsibilities include preparing wild-type and mutant FAP proteins, conducting screening and tests of photoenzymatic activity, participating in enzyme evolution, characterizing new mutants using spectroscopic techniques, contributing to data analysis, writing scientific publications, and presenting results at conferences.
Requirements for applicants include a Master’s or engineering degree in relevant fields, practical laboratory skills, ability to work independently, proficiency in English and/or French, and readiness to relocate from Provence to Ile-de-France during the PhD.
The position offers the opportunity to contribute to sustainable energy research while gaining expertise in molecular biology, biochemistry, and optical spectroscopy. The PhD will be conducted within a collaborative ANR project involving four teams with diverse expertise and skills. The ideal candidate should integrate seamlessly into a multidisciplinary environment.
Supervisor will be Pavel Müller (pavel.muller@i2bc.paris-saclay.fr) and co-supervisor will be Damien Sorigué (damien.sorigue@cea.fr).Workplaces include the Institute of Biosciences and Biotechnologies of Aix-Marseille and CEA Saclay/Institut de Biologie Intégrative dela Cellule.
The contract begins between October 2024 and February 2025 and lasts for three years, with a monthly salary of 2400 € (brut). Applicants passionate about addressing energy challenges are encouraged to apply!

Imagerie de la compartimentation et de la pharmacologie du lithium par IRM du Lithium-7 in vivo at très haut champ magnétique.

At ultra-high magnetic field, increased polarization opens the way for the NMR imaging and spectroscopy of exotic nuclei such as Lithium-7 (7Li) and Sodium-23 (23Na) with unprecedented sensitivities.
During this PhD thesis, the goal will be to develop, validate and apply 23Na and 7Li preclinical imaging protocols in the context of the new 11.7T Iseult MRI scanner of NeuroSpin (CEA/DRF/JOLIOT) as well as on its 17.2 T preclinical scanner. The PhD student will continue the work realized these last years on 23Na and 7Li imaging and will push for better and more significant NRM data. Our focus will be to use these methods to study the pharmacology and biophysical properties of Lithium in the brain. In particular, we aim at investigating the transport kinetics of Li+ through the Blood-Brain-Barrier, its compartmentation and its competition with Na+ ions.

Role of excited state vibrational modes of chlorophylls in photosynthesis

Photosynthesis empowers the entire biosphere and is arguably the most important biological process on earth. The quantum efficiency of excitation energy transfer (EET) in photosynthetic light-harvesting complexes can reach almost unity. This high efficiency is even more puzzling if we take into account that the high excitation energy transfer through hundreds of pigments in a disordered energetic landscape cannot be explained with the current models. Currently, there are two main hypotheses to explain the ultrafast energy transfer: “quantumness” and “vibrational assistance” (see context section). To validate these hypotheses, it is necessary to characterize the electronic and vibrational properties of the excited states of the cofactors involved in the ETT process. We have designed an interdisciplinary project, in which the student will be trained in biochemical techniques for protein purification and ultrafast photophysics techniques to analisys of the excitation energy transfer. The use of different detergents for purifying light-harvesting complexes leads to disturbed systems with differences in the excitation energy pathways. The differences between light-harvesting complexes from each purification will be characterized by resonance Raman and time-resolved fluorescence. Then, we will use ultrafast techniques such as fs-transient absorption, 2-D electronic spectroscopy (2DES) and femtosecond stimulated Raman Spectroscopy (FSRS). This data will be employed to develop new models for photosynthetic energy transfer. The student will be involved in the analysis and discussions for the theoretical modeling of this process but learning modeling techniques is out of the scope of the thesis.

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