Post-graduate position available at IMBM
University of the Western Cape
MSc position for Industry-Linked Project
From 1 January 2017
The Institute for Microbial Biotechnology and Metagenomics (IMBM) is a leading research unit based within the Department of Biotechnology at the University of the Western Cape (UWC). The Institute is a global competitor in microbial biotechnology and metagenomics, and is committed to excellence in research and in the training of future research leaders. Its research encompasses a number of disciplines including microbiology, (meta)genomics, molecular biology, enzymology and bioinformatics, and employs culture-based approaches as well as cutting edge ”omics” strategies to study microbiomes, and identify novel biosynthetic gene clusters and metabolites. The Institute focuses on the research and development of novel, high-value natural products for the pharmaceutical, cosmeceutical, food & beverage and agricultural industries, as well as products for industrial processes.
South African National Bioinformatics Institute (SANBI)and Institute for Microbial Biotechnology and Metagenomics (IMBM)
University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, SA
Plant biomass-derived bioethanol is regarded as a leading alternative energy source in a fossil fuel dependent energy paradigm. Bioethanol functions as octane enhancer, and can be used to replace up to 15% of petrol. It also acts as a fuel oxygenate in petrol blends allowing more complete combustion and hence, decreased polluting emissions. The departments of Microbiology and Process Engineering at Stellenbosch University, through the South African Research Chair (SARChI) in Biofuels, are at the forefront of South African research to address the shortcomings of plant polysaccharide conversion to bioethanol. Strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae were engineered to simultaneously hydrolyse plant materials (cellulose and raw starch) and ferment the resulting monosaccharides through the development of enabling technologies such as advanced plant polysaccharides pretreatment and advanced Consolidated Bioprocessing (CBP). Simplification and cost-reduction of the hydrolysis-fermentation process can be further achieved by integrating superior enzymatic hydrolysis and fermentation with more robust yeast into a single unit operation. To achieve this, supportive bioinformatics research dedicated to solving current problems in bioethanol biotechnology, specifically improved industrial performance of yeast strains and improved catalytic efficiency of enzyme hydrolysis, remain key.
The Bacterial Genomics and Host Pathogen Interactions group is based at the University of Pretoria, Forestry, Agriculture and Biotechnology Institute. Our research focuses on the interaction on potato plant interactions with one of their major bacteria pathogens Soft Rot Enterobacteriaceae (SRE). To understand these interactions we use genomics, transcriptomics, and other ‘omics’ to identify bacterial virulence factors as well as elucidate host defence mechanisms being targeted by these virulence factors. The following projects are currently available in the research group.
PLANT BIOTECHNOLOGY LABORATORY, SCHOOL OF MOLECULAR AND CELL BIOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF THE WITWATERSRAND
START DATE: 2015 (AS SOON AS POSSIBLE)
REQUIREMENTS: Both student positions require the appropriate qualifications and should preferably be South African permanent residents or citizens. The background required to do this project would be microbiology (preferably some plant virology); molecular biology; some plant background and some knowledge and practice of general plant transformation and tissue culture. Some basic bioinformatics is also required.
Two MSc and 1 PhD projects are available for 2015, which will focus on Drug Discovery from Marine and Plant Natural Products in the Discipline Microbiology, University of KwaZulu-Natal.