PhD student
Hollfelder group, Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge
Contact email:
ES-Cat start date: March 2018

I studied Biochemistry at the Freie Universität Berlin and later joined the ‘International Max Planck Research School for Molecular Biology’ in Göttingen where I graduated with a master’s degree in 2017.
During my bachelor’s thesis in the laboratory of Dr. Ralf Jauch in Guangzhou, I designed inhibitors for the ‘undruggable’ transcription factor SOX18, using its sequence and structural features as reference points to install specificity. At the MPI for biophysical chemistry, I later worked with crystal and NMR structures to understand signal transduction across membranes and to identify starting points for saturation mutagenesis in order to develop proteases with optimized efficiency and orthogonality.
To improve my mechanistic understanding of enzyme catalysis, I finally joined the group of Prof. Tittmann for my master’s thesis. There, I focused on the metabolic enzyme transaldolase and on giving meaning to its different conformational states.
After graduating, I worked for Evotec’s biophysics department until joining the Hollfelder lab in March 2018 on a Marie-Curie Scholarship.

Training and Transferable Skills:

  • Structural Biology: X-ray crystallography (set-up and data analysis), circular dichroism, dynamic light scattering, NMR (acquisition and analysis of spectra)
  • Biophysics: Surface plasmon resonance, microscale thermophoresis, isothermal titration calorimetry, fluorescence polarization
  • Enzyme kinetics: Absorbance-based assays, stopped flow, chemical quenched flow
  • Cell Biology: Luciferase assay, RT-qPCR

Research Projects:
I am generally interested in the structure-function correlation of enzymes – especially with regard to protein dynamics and molecular interactions – and in the translation of such knowledge into rational and straight-forward pharmacology and biotechnology. During my PhD, I would like to set particular focus on carbonyl reduction, the enantioselective production of chiral alcohols and its role in xenobiology.

M. Klaus, N. Prokoph, M. Girbig, X. Wang, Y. Huang, Y. Srivastava, L. Hou, K. Narasimhan, P. Kolatkar, M. Francois, R. Jauch, “Structure and decoy-mediated inhibition of the SOX18/Prox1-DNA interaction”, Nucleic Acid Research, 2016, 44 (8): 3922-3935 (* – equal contribution). Read online