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Cambridge Biosciences DTP PhD Programme

 
Maximilian Gantz - best talk at the Biochemistry PhD Symposium

Max (SBS DTP, cohort 2020), PhD student in Prof. Florian Hollfelder’s lab, was one of the 17 students presenting at the Department of Biochemistry PhD Symposium. His talk, with the title ‘A Microfluidics-enabled Workflow for Rapid Large-scale Fitness Data Generation Informs Biocatalyst Engineering’, won First prize for "best oral presentation".

 

Max’s research is looking at using microdroplets and AI to accelerate the discovery of green catalysts for the sustainable synthesis of therapeutics. Enzymes are environmentally friendly and cost-effective alternatives to classical organic catalysts in chemical industry. To be applied as biocatalysts natural enzymes need to be engineered in a process called directed evolution (accelerating natural evolution in the lab) which can be very slow and unreliable and therefore is a significant bottleneck in bringing more enzymes into industrial application.

Max and the lab developed a novel workflow using picolitre-sized droplets and a novel deep sequencing protocol to rapidly generate large amounts of sequence-function data and used these large datasets to inform and accelerate directed evolution by rational engineering and AI. Due to its versatility and broad applicability, they envision that this workflow will become a valuable part of the toolkit for rapid enzyme engineering to accelerate the pace at which chemical industry is made more sustainable. Max is also collaborating with Simon Mathis in the Department of Computer Science.

In June, Max also attended BioTrans2023,  a large international conference held in LaRochelle, France, where he received the “Pitch talk prize”.

We look forward to hearing the next successful story from Max!

Latest news

Welcome to our new BBSRC DTP cohort 2023!

10 October 2023

After a three-year funding gap, we are thrilled to announce the arrival of a fresh cohort of DTP students, generously funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). Building on last year's successful securing of funding for DTP3, this October marks the commencement of the first cohort, with another set to follow next year.

Cambridge Biosciences DTP student, Maximilian Gantz, wins First Prize for ‘best talk’ at the Department of Biochemistry PhD Symposium

3 October 2023

Max (SBS DTP, cohort 2020), PhD student in Prof. Florian Hollfelder’s lab, was one of the 17 students presenting at the Department of Biochemistry PhD Symposium. His talk, with the title ‘A Microfluidics-enabled Workflow for Rapid Large-scale Fitness Data Generation Informs Biocatalyst Engineering’, won First prize for "best oral presentation".

New Training and Inclusivity Support Manager has been appointed to support our DTP cohorts

27 September 2023

We are thrilled to announce the appointment of Dr Sam Byers as the Training and Inclusivity Support Manager for the Cambridge Biosciences DTP cohorts.