Mr Marius Jessen

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M.Sc. in Molecular Life Sciences from Humboldt University of Berlin (Germany)

B.Sc. in Applied Biology from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Germany)

Marius Jessen is a PhD Candidate in Synthetic Biology and Biotechnology. His primary research is focussed on engineering RNA-based biosensors, specifically riboswitches, in E. coli that will confer tolerance against a selective pressure as a function of binding a target ligand. Subsequently, riboswitch constructs will be optimised and implemented in a methanotrophic bacterium. Finally, super producing strains for high value biomass, such as L-lysine and L-tryptophan, will be enriched in a directed evolution approach. Furthermore, he wants to investigate how whole cell diversification can influence biosynthetic pathways.

Marius completed his M.Sc. in Molecular Life Sciences at Humboldt University of Berlin (Germany) in 2018. After being awarded for a QUT/GOstralia! Research Centre PhD Scholarship (QUTPRA) he commenced his PhD at QUT under supervision of A/Prof. Robert Speight and Joint Prof. Alex Beliaev. In 2019 Marius was awarded a Postgraduate Top-Up Scholarship in Synthetic Biology by CSIRO’s Future Science Platform which provides additional research funds. He is interested in extending the synthetic biology toolbox and in generating sustainable microbial production systems. His research expertise includes microbiology, molecular biology, synthetic biology and he has worked in academic research in Germany and Australia.

Previous Research Work

Master Thesis: ‘Single cell transcript analysis of cell cycle regulating genes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae by sequential smFISH’ (Theoretical Biophysics [Prof. Klipp], Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany).

Research Internship: ‘Metabolic engineering of Saccharomyces cerevisiae for the production of strigolactone precursors’ (Synthetic Biology [Prof. Vickers], Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, UQ, Brisbane).

Research Assistant: Mammalian cell culture and functional protein expression of photoreceptors (Molecular Biophysics, University of Berlin).

Bachelor Thesis: ‘On the functional heterologous expression of c-type cytochromes in purple bacteria’ (Applied Biology [Prof. Gescher], Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany).

Research Assistant: Commercial authentication of Traditional Chinese Medicine granules by HPTLC (Molecular Cell Biology, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology).

Key Skills

  • Metabolic Engineering of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Escherichia coli and Rhodobacter sphaeroides (cloning, biosynthetic pathway design, expression vector design, in-silico cloning, (Snapgene, Benchling), Gibson Assembly, heterologous enzyme expression, RT-PCR.
  • Protein engineering such as tagging, codon optimisation, site-directed mutagenesis, library generation, purification and basic knowledge in crystallisation of light sensitive membrane proteins.
  • Protein and metabolite analyses (extraction, affinity chromatography, SDS-PAGE, Western Blot, functional & colorimetric assays and basic knowledge in LC-MS/MS).
  • Cell culture (yeast, bacteria (aerobic & anaerobic) and mammalian cells (HEK)).
  • Microfluidic cultivation of yeast and basic knowledge on fermentation in bioreactors.
  • Fluorescence in situ hybridisation (smFISH) & fluorescence microscopy.
  • Bioinformatic image analysis (ImageJ, Python).