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). Our research 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 and beverage and agricultural industries, as well as products for industrial processes.
TWO POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWSHIPS AVAILABLE:
2. We are developing a portfolio of biosurfactants for use in a variety of industrial processes. The project involves the isolation and characterisation (chemical, structural and performance) of novel biosurfactants, as well as the upscaling of biosurfactant production.
Applicants must have completed a PhD degree within no more than 5 years in a foundational discipline relevant to the topic. Experience in natural product discovery and genomics is an advantage. Applicants should have a strong publication record, interpersonal skills, project management experience, and be able to effectively conduct research as part of a multi-disciplinary team.
THE CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS IS 9 January 2019.
Professor Chrissie Rey
The National Gene Expression and Biotechnology Training Workshop has been a highly successful annual training course for postgraduate students seeking supplementary grounding in the principles and application of molecular and cell biology techniques. About 100 students from 11 different universities have participated so far. There is no application fee, and lodging and board are free of charge. Thirty applicants will be selected for the 2016 session. Applications should be submitted online HERE.
L-carnitine, a medically relevant, amino acid-derived molecule is a valuable target for biotechnological production. Researchers at the Institute for Wine Biotechnology, Stellenbosch University has recently provided the first report of a metabolically engineered carnitine producing strain of the industrial yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, an organism that does not natively produce its own carnitine. This was achieved by cloning and reconstructing the Neurospora crassa L-carnitine biosynthesis pathway in the baker’s yeast to create an L-carnitine producing strain. The engineered yeast strains are able to catalyze the synthesis of L-carnitine from the pathway’s precursor, trimethyllysine, as well as from intermediates. Several native S. cerevisiae genes were identified that contribute to, or interfere with, the heterologous pathway. This includes (i) the threonine aldolase Gly1p which effectively catalyzed the second step of the pathway, fulfilling the role of a serine hydroxymethyltransferase, (ii) the arginine transporter Can1p which was identified as the yeast transporter for trimethyllysine, and (iii) the two serine hydroxymethyltransferases, Shm1p and Shm2p, which reduced the flux through the heterologous pathway. The work opens opportunities for using an engineered, L-carnitine producing S. cerevisiae strain in various industrial applications.
The Public Understanding of Biotechnology (PUB) programme is celebrating 10 years of informing the South African public on issues of biotechnology.
A conference on “Structural Biology for the Bioeconomy: Infectious Diseases and Biotechnology” will be held at the University of Cape Town from 1 December to 2012 to 4 December 2012. The conference will immediately precede the annual conference of the Microscopy Society of Southern Africa (4-7 December 2012) and will be held in the same venue on the University of Cape Town campus. The conference website is http://www.sbbe.co.za and more about the organisers can be found here: http://www.sbbe.co.za/structural-biology-conference-organisers/